Make Labels Effortlessly

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We all love a party -- unless, of course, we're stuck with the tedious chore of addressing and mailing several dozen invitations. Now you can avoid writer's cramp by enlisting Microsoft Office 2001 (800/426-9400, ) to create address labels for you. Although Office can't lick stamps or put your invitations in the mail, it can make the laborious and time-consuming task of creating labels much easier and faster.

For this project, you'll use Office's new Address Book (part of Entourage), Word, sheets of blank printer-friendly address labels, and a printer. Before you start, enter the names and addresses of your guests in Entourage's Address Book (see "Organize with Entourage," How-to , January 2001). If you currently use another e-mail program or contact manager, such as Netscape Communicator or Now Contact, you can import this information into Entourage's Address Book easily.

Once your Address Book is complete and up-to-date, making labels is a breeze -- whether you're throwing a party for 12 or 120. The time you save will be more time for you to enjoy planning your party.

ROBERT CORRELL is a coauthor of Running Microsoft Office 2001 for Mac (Microsoft Press, 2001).

1: Configure Your Labels
Once you've entered your contacts in Entourage's Address Book and are satisfied that you haven't left out anyone you want to invite, you're ready to launch Word and begin formatting the address labels.

In a blank Word document, go to the Tools menu and select Data Merge Manager. To correctly format the document for your labels, select the Create menu (A) and choose Labels (B) from the pop-up menu.

In the Label Options dialog box, specify the type of printer you have (B).

To create the correct margins and layout for your brand of labels, find and select your labels' manufacturer from the Label Products pop-up menu (D). Then select the exact type of label you have from the Product Number list (E). This information is listed on the label packaging.

TIP: If you can't find your manufacturer, choose Other from the Label Products pop-up menu for additional options. If you still can't find it, create your own label layout (from measurements you've taken) by clicking on the New Label button.

When you're finished, click on OK.

2: Import Your Contacts
After you format the main document and choose a label type, you're ready to import contact information into Word from your Address Book.

To tell Word where to find the data for your labels, open the Data Source menu, click on Get Data, and select Office Address Book (A) from the pop-up menu that appears.

The Edit Labels dialog box lets you specify which data fields to include on your label and how they should be formatted. To add a new data field, such as Last Name, open the Insert Merge Field pop-up menu (B) and select the appropriate field. In the Sample Label window (B), format the data exactly as you want it printed, including spaces, returns, and any other punctuation. Click on OK when you're done. At this point, your main document contains placeholders for your label data, with the proper layout.

3: Preview and Print
Now that you've specified a label type, imported information from the Address Book, and formatted the information for printing, you can preview your labels and print them out.

To preview your finished labels, return to the Data Merge Manager and click on the View Merged Data button (A) in the Preview section.

Word replaces the label placeholders with the information from your Address Book. Check the document for errors.

If everything looks fine, you're ready to print. To avoid wasting labels, make a test print on plain paper. Place the test print over a label sheet and hold them up to a light to check margins. If they're drastically off, you probably chose the wrong label in step 1.

Insert the labels in your printer's paper tray and click on the Merge To Printer button (B) under the Merge drop-down menu.

The final result is a professional-looking set of labels ready to be placed on envelopes.

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