Sending Christmas cards to your valued customers is a lovely gesture, but hand-writing the envelopes is a killer. Creating a mail merge to labels from your customer database can save you (and your hand) a lot of pain.
Recording the recipient list file
The first thing you will need to do is record all of the names and addresses for everyone who will be receiving a Christmas card. This is called the ‘recipient list’. Recipient details can be stored in an Excel worksheet or Word Table.
When you are creating the recipient list file there are a number of rules that must be followed:
- Each column MUST include column headings in the very first row of the Table or Excel worksheet. This row is called the Header row and is used to create field names which are then used as placeholders for the merged data.
- If you are merging post codes from Excel you may need to format them prior to merging the data into Word so that they retain leading zeros. Check out our Excel – Retaining a leading 0 (zero) when entering Post Codes post to learn more.
- The letters or labels will be merged in the order they are listed. Therefore it is a good idea to Sort prior to merging if you require the list to be in some sort of order.
- If you are merging from a Word document the Table must be the only information in the document.
Starting the mail merge
- Start a new blank document and then on the Mailings tab in the Start Mail Merge group click Start Mail Merge. From the drop-down list select Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard.
- The Mail Merge task pane appears on the right of the screen. From the Select document type option list select Labels.
- Click Next: Starting Document. Click Label options.
- Check the packet of labels. It should have the name of the vendor somewhere on the packet. Select the name from the Label vendors list. A list of product numbers will be displayed in the Product number list. Check the label packet once again and locate the product number. Select this from the list and then click OK.
- It may not look like anything has changed in your document. However if you now check your tabs you should now see the ‘Table Tools tabs Design and Layout. Click the Layout tab and then select the View Gridlines button on the far left of the Ribbon. You will now see the edges of your labels displayed on the screen. Each label is actually a cell in a Table. On the ‘Mail Merge’ task pane click Next: Select recipients.
- Click Browse and then navigate to your data file. Select the recipient list file and then click Open.
- If you are using an Excel file as your data source you will need to select the worksheet that contains the data. Click OK.
- A list of recipients will be shown on your screen. To merge only specific records from the data source, select the appropriate settings in the Mail Merge Recipients list box.
- Click OK. The name of your data source file will now be visible on the Mail Merge task pane.
- Click Next: Arrange your labels.
- To add individual mail merge fields to your label place the insertion point in the first label at the point where you require the field code. From the Mailings tab click Insert Merge field and select the field name you require. Continue positioning and entering the required fields in this way for the first label only.
- IMPORTANT: Once you have completed your first label, click Update all labels to replicate the first label to the rest of the labels on the page.
- Click Next: Preview your labels. You will see an on-screen preview of what your labels will look like once printed.
- Click Next: Complete the merge to merge the labels to either the printer or to a new document.
Now all you need to do is print your labels and then start peeling and sticking. You’ll have those Christmas cards in the post before you know it!
We cover data cleaning functions in my Excel Data Cleaning and Reporting course and in my Mastering Microsoft Word course we cover Mail Merging to documents, envelopes and labels. Please visit our web site for more information.