As I mentioned in the Part 1 post on Envelopes, even though formatting and printing envelopes and labels is a really basic word processing function, Microsoft Word inexplicably hides it from users on the Mailings tab (in the Ribbon versions, 2007 and later) and under the Tools menu in version 2003.
Fortunately, if you’re using labels from a major label vendor like Avery, you don’t have to bust out the ruler and define the label format from scratch. But knowing how to choose which label format to use can be a bit tricky.
Like before, we’ll cover the Ribbon-based versions of Word first, then cover versions 2002/2003.
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As I mentioned in the Envelopes post, the envelopes and labels feature can be found in the same place: the Mailings tab.
This time, we’re going to click Labels:
You’ll notice immediately that the dialog box you get is actually for both Envelopes and Labels. Depending on whether you clicked on Envelopes or Labels on the Mailings tab, the correct tab on this dialog box will be selected by default. However, you can always click on the other tab if you’ve changed your mind.
The Labels tab of this dialog box has several sections. Your cursor, by default, will be sitting in the Address section (and you may find that Word has automatically populated an address there, depending on the document you were editing when you starting formatting this label).
Looking down and to the right, you’ll see a section called Labels. This is where you can define the size labels you want to use. You may see a particular label size already selected; if that is not correct, then click on Options to change the label definition:
In my office, the majority of the labels are either Avery brand or a generic brand which corresponds to an Avery size (usually listed on the outside of the package). For example, the Avery 2181 labels are the mini-sheets of plain white file folder labels, the Avery 5163 labels are the 2″ x 4″ shipping labels I use, etc.
Don’t use Avery US-sized labels? Your installation of Word will probably list several other label vendors, such as:
Herlitz PBS AG
Depending on the country in which you purchased your copy of Microsoft Word, your list may vary from mine.
Regardless of what brand of labels you’re using, the procedure for picking a pre-defined label size/type is the same:
- Choose the type of printer you’re using — continuous feed (you know, like those dot matrix printers that most of us haven’t seen since the 1990s) or “page printers” (laser, inkjet, etc. — anything that prints single sheets of paper rather than a continuous roll)
- Pick the correct label vendor
- Select that vendor’s product number (like the 2181 or 5163 I mentioned earlier)
(Quick tip: if you select the first product number in the list and then type your product number, the cursor will move to the correct label — no need to scroll down!)
Once you’ve selected the correct label, look over to the right and compare the type, height, width, and paper size to what you have on hand:
Satisfied you’ve selected the right one? Click OK to return to the Labels dialog box.
At this point, I generally leave “Full page of the same label” selected. Why? Even if I’m just wanting to print one label on the page, it’s easier (for me, anyway) to simply put my cursor into the correct label on the page than to designate it in the “Row/Column” fields here. But, hey, if you want to try it, knock yourself out.
So, you’ve got your label defined. How do you get to the point you can put some text in it? Click “New Document” …
and your labels will appear in their own document screen:
Notice that what you have on the screen looks a lot like a Word Table. That’s because it is one. And this is why I like Labels in Microsoft Word better than the label function in WordPerfect. Once you know how to format table rows, columns and cells, you can do those same things with labels.
For instance, I don’t like for my file folder labels to be printed so close to the top edge. But I don’t want to skip an entire line down, either. So I go to the Layout tab of the Table Tools contextual menu (if your cursor is anywhere inside of the label table, you’ll see it just above the Ribbon on the right — see that yellow block above?) and give the label an inside top margin of 0.1″:
If you want to automatically center (horizontally and/or vertically) your label content, it’s a one-click operation — just click the correct visual representation in that same Alignment section of the Layout tab, and you’re good to go.
There are just enough differences between the menu-based version of the process and the Ribbon-based one to confuse users who are switching between the two versions. Fortunately, the differences are on the front end. Once you get past the initial menu, you’ll find the various dialog boxes are virtually identical to the ones shown above.
To get the process started, go to Tools | Letters and Mailings | Envelopes and Labels:
Once you’ve found the feature, the dialog boxes are virtually identical to those found in the newer Ribbon-based versions of Word:
So the feature itself really hasn’t changed between versions, just where they’ve hidden it!
Have a question? Find yourself confused about something above? Tell me in the comments below!
(photo: blakespot @ Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/blakespot/2379281669/)