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How To Use Mail Merge in Office 2008 for Mac to Print a Holiday Mailing List on Labels

It’s that time of year, when everybody sends out cards to friends and family. Or in our case, we send out cards to a select list of clients and colleagues. We use Mail Merge to do it.

If you have your address book in Entourage, it’s easy to create a mailing list and format it for printing straight onto labels, all using Mail Merge in Microsoft Word. Here’s how.

Step 1: Unless you want to send a card to everybody in your address book, the first thing to do is to create a new category for your mailing list, and then put everybody in it whom you want this mailing to go to.

In Entourage, under the Edit menu, choose Categories and then choose Edit Categories. This is where you can add a new category (using the New button) and give it a name (like “Holiday mailing list”).

Then go back to the list of contacts, and for any contact you want on that mailing list: a) highlight the contact, b) click the arrow next to “Categories” in the top bar of the Entourage window, c) select the new category.

Now your mailing list has been created.

Step 2: Now comes the Mail Merge part. Open up Microsoft Word. From the Tools menu, choose Mail Merge Manager. A Mail Merge Manager box will pop up with numbers 1-6.

Step 3: Go to #1 and click on Create New, and choose Labels. In the box that pops up, pick the correct label brand and size that fits what you have. The most common for these types of addresses is Avery 5160 but look at your package. Then click OK. A window will pop up that’s already formatted for your label type.

Step 4: Go back to the Mail Merge Manager box and go to #2 and click on Get List. You want to choose Office Address Book, since that’s where you have your contacts selected by category.

A new box pops up. This is where you will select which fields you want on the labels. A field is a chunk of info: first name, last name, city, zip code. So one by one, select the proper fields in the proper order from the Merge Field pop-up list. Probably you will choose fields that look a little like this:

{First name} {last name}
{city}, {state} {zip}

Make sure you put a space between {first name} and {last name} and a comma between {city} and {state}, and so on. So that the formatting will be correct. Then when you are done, click OK.

Step 5: You will see that your Word document now has those fields in each box. Does the formatting look good? If you want to change the font, or the size of the text, now is the time. Select all the text on the entire page and then use the proper menus to change the font and size.

Step 6: Go back to the Mail Merge Manager box. You can skip #3 as you shouldn’t need this one. Click on #4, Filter Recipients, and click on Options. A box pops up showing all your categories. You just click on the checkbox next to the category that is your mailing list. Then click OK.

Note: There is a bug in MailMerge for Office 2008 where all the names of the categories don’t show up by name; so you may see no text next to some of the checkboxes. It’s highly aggravating if your mailing list happens to be one of the categories that doesn’t show up. If that’s the case, the only solution I have found is to try each of the checkboxes, one at a time, and see which one has the number of records that matches your mailing list. So yes, trial and error.

Step 7: Go back to the Mail Merge Manager box. Click on #5, Preview Results, and click on the first button, the ABC button. This should show your mailing list names and addresses filling up the Word document.

If it looks good, go on to the next step.

If it looks bad (fields are wrong, layout looks wrong), then go back to step 4 and add or delete fields, or go into the Word document and change font or text size, and then continue with steps 5 through 7.

Step 8: Go back to the Mail Merge Manager box, and click on #6, Complete Merge. You can choose to go straight to the printer, but instead I’d advise choosing the second button, Merge to New Document. That way, you’ll have a Word doc showing all the names and addresses for your mailing list. Save this Word doc.

Step 9. If you want to make manual changes to individual addresses, you can do that in the Word doc. For example I often will send one card to two people who live together (such as a husband and wife) so I will add the second person’s name next to the first person’s name.

If you want to use Mail Merge with addresses from another program (not Entourage), such as Apple Address Book, the easiest way to do it is to export from the program in a format that Mail Merge can read (such as tab-delimited), and then import into Mail Merge in step 4 above.

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