I haven’t done an Excel tutorial in a really long time. I used to create one from every “how do you do this in Excel” request that I got on Twitter, via email or Facebook. A Twitter friend asked yesterday and this is actually really helpful for those who are sending out holiday cards or possibly some other type of mass mailing.

Here are the written steps and the video at the very end is for the visual people. These steps on how to merge and create mailing labels in Word with an Excel list were created using Microsoft Word 2007 so the actual navigation may be slightly different depending on your current version.

Part One: Create Your List of Addresses in Microsoft Excel

  • Be sure to use column headings in the Excel document as those column headings are what you will need as the merge fields for the actual labels within Word.
  • Add all of your names and addresses to the sheet
  • Save and close
Part Two: Creating the Mailing Labels in Word
  • Open a new document in Word and go to the Mailings section.
  • Click “Start Mail Merge” (in older versions of Word I believe this is called Mail Merge Wizard).
  • From the Mail Merge options you want to select “Labels”.
  • A pop-up window is displayed allowing you to select the type of label you are creating (the most popular mailing labels are Avery 5160). Click “OK” once you’ve selected the appropriate label type.
  • A new document should be shown on your screen with the label “guidelines” shown on the document ~ this represents each label and gives you a visualization on how the finished product will look once the remaining steps are completed.
  • On your menu bar at the top select “Select Recipients” and then chose “Use Existing List”.
  • Navigate and select the Excel file you saved from Part One above.
  • The pop up screen that displays next – just select “OK”
  • Your document should now show “Next Record” in all labels (except for the first one)
  • With your cursor in the first label we now want to set up the merge fields
  • On your menu bar select “Insert Merge Field” ~ the fields shown on this drop down should be the exact column headings you defined in your Excel sheet.  Each merge field needs to be inserted onto the label in the exact layout you want the final, merged labels to print. (Use Enter and Space as necessary)
  • You can edit font type and size using normal Word formatting options ~ just be sure your font/text does not go outside of the guidelines shown on the screen
  • Once Label One is laid out exactly how you like go back to the top menu and select “Update Labels” ~ this will take the merge fields, formatting, etc. that you defined on label one and automagically update the rest of the page of labels.
  • Now you are ready to pull the data in from your Excel sheet into the actual label template you have just finished creating.
  • Back at the top menu select “Finish & Merge” and then “Edit Individual Documents” ~ from here you can go ahead and select “All” (Tip: If you only want to print a certain range from your Excel sheet you can select the “From to To” option shown. If you use this range remember to subtract one from both the From and To number. For example: If you want to only print the names and addresses on Lines 30-60 on your Excel sheet; you will enter 29-59 as your From and To numbers)
  • Select OK and your completed, merge address labels should now be shown on the screen.
  • Tip: If the finished sheet of mailing labels shows data that is now running outside of the label guidelines (maybe you chose a font type or size that is too large for the finished product) you can re-format to a smaller font size / font type by clicking “CTRL+A” to highlight your entire document so you can easily re-format as needed.
  • Tip: If you have multiple pages of labels it may be best to print just the first page to assure that the printed results are perfect.
Video Instructions on How to Merge Mailing Labels Using Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word

Happy Holidays! Hopefully this how-to helps save some time on getting those Christmas cards out the door!