Knowledgebase: Office
How To Do A Mail Merge To Create Labels Or Nametags From A List? (Microsoft Word)
Posted by on 02 November 2012 12:33 PM



Your time and skills are too valuable to be manually typing in long lists of labels or nametags!


  1. First you need your list. This should be an Excel document with a column for each field type you want in your label. Each column should be appropriately labeled in the top cell (e.g., First Name, Last Name, Organization, Street Address, etc.). Save this somewhere and close it.
  2.  Open a new blank Word document
  3. Click the “Mailings” tab
  4. Click “Start Mail Merge”
  5. Whether making labels or nametags, choose “Labels”
  6. Choose your product type. I recommend using Avery products. Some common ones:
    1. Small mailing labels, 1” x 2-5/8” – Avery 5160
    2. Adhesive name badges – Avery 5395
    3. Name badge inserts (for hanging, clip, pin style), 3” x 4” – Avery 5392
    4. Click on “Select Recipients” on the Mailings tool bar
    5. Choose “Use Existing List”
    6. Browse files to find the Excel document you saved. Click “Open.” Click “OK”
    7. Click “Insert Merge Field” on the Mailings tool bar
    8. Choose a field that you want on your labels/nametags. Repeat until you have all desired fields.
    9. Now format! Go to the “Home” tab and format your text as desired on the first (top left) label.
      1. Make sure you leave some space on all four sides of the label—you don’t want your text getting cut off or overlapping onto an adjacent label
      2. For nametags I suggest using First, Last, Org. Make First Name big and bold so folks can read it. I like to use Tw Cen MT for names and Tw Cen MT Condensed for Organization, because it’s a clear, easy-to-read font, and it’s helpful to have the condensed version for Organization, as these can be quite long.
      3. Once the first label looks just how you’d like it, click back on the “Mailings” tab
      4. Click “Update Labels.”
      5. If you want to adjust formatting, repeat steps 12-14, making changes in your first label only, then clicking “Update Labels” until you’re 100% satisfied with formatting.
      6. Click “Finish & Merge” button. This causes a new document to open that is static—it is just a regular Word doc and the link to your Excel document does not exist.
      7. Look through your document and make sure everyone’s nametag looks good. Fix capitalization and typos. If anyone’s Organization says “unemployed” or “N/A” or similar undesirable label, change it to something nicer (“Educator”, “Family Member”, etc. You may have to hunt in their registration or database record to figure something out.)
      8. Save As and save document appropriately.
      9. If you like, you can also save the unmerged first document, and use it as a template in the future. Just open it up, click OK when it asks you something about “SQL command,” then proceed to Step 8 to change your list.
      10. Print.
        1. Use the bypass tray of your printer. I STRONGLY suggest doing a practice run on regular paper, in order to:
          1.                                                                i.      check which way to load the labels, if you’re not sure. Draw an X on the top of the first page you load, remember which way you loaded it, and see how the text prints in relation to your X.
          2.                                                              ii.      make sure your labels line up. Place your test print-out on a sheet of labels and hold it up to the light.
  7. Tip: don’t use the Concord color printer to print Avery 5395. Your labels will get jammed and mangled.


Need help? Ask Cat! I am more than happy to walk you through this the first time. You will be so pleased with the amount of work and time this saves.

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