Create and Print Labels in Microsoft Word Using Mail Merge and an Excel List (Generate Bulk Address or Mailing Labels)

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated January 9, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® Word® 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

You can create labels in Microsoft Word by running a mail merge and using data in Excel. This is typically used to generate and print bulk mailing labels for names and addresses of clients or other contacts. You’ll need to create a main document for the labels in Word and then connect to a data set or list in an Excel worksheet (although you can use other data sources). When you run the mail merge, you can create a new merged file with a label for each contact or merge directly to a printer.

Typically, labels are purchased in sheets that you place in the tray or document feeder of your printer and a product code is printed on the label packaging. Address labels are often called mailing labels or shipping labels.

Recommended article: How to Use Mail Merge in Word for Form Letters

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Understanding the label mail merge process in Word

There are 8 steps in the Word mail merge process for mailing or address labels:

  1. In Word, start the merge and specify the main document for labels. You’ll be prompted to specify the type and / or size of labels you want to generate.
  2. Select the Excel source workbook containing the data set with names and addresses. Microsoft refers to a data set or database as a list. You would create the Excel source file before you begin the mail merge process.
  3. In Word, insert fields into the first cell of the table (which would be the first label). This table is created automatically by Word.
  4. Update or propagate the other labels on the sheet.
  5. Format the main label document (such as changing font and size).
  6. Select specific recipients or filter the recipient list (optional).
  7. Preview the merged labels (optional).
  8. Run the mail merge.

During the mail merge process, fields are inserted into the main document and appear in carets (such as <<Firstname>>). By default, when you click in a field, it is displayed with grey shading. When you run the merge, the fields are replaced by data from the source Excel file.

In this article, we’ll be using the Mailings tab in the Ribbon to set up and run a mail merge (not the Mail Merge Wizard).

Step 1: Start the merge and specify the main document as labels

The first step is to start the merge using Start Mail Merge on the Mailings tab in the Ribbon:

Mailings tab in the Ribbon in Word to create label mail merge.

To start the merge and specify the main document for labels:

  1. Create a new blank Word document.
  2. Click the Mailings tab in the Ribbon and then click Start Mail Merge in the Start Mail Merge group.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select Labels. A dialog box appears.
  4. Select the product type and then the label code (which is printed on the label packaging). You may also select New Label and then enter a custom name and size.
  5. Click OK. Word creates a table in the main document. Next Record appears in each label cell to prompt Word to move to the next record in the data source.
  6. If table gridlines are not displayed, click in the table and click the Table Tools Layout tab or Table Layout tab (on the right side of the Ribbon) and click View Gridlines in the Table Group.

In the following example, Avery US letter was selected as the Label vendor with Avery 5163 address or shipping labels:

Label options dialog box in Word for address label mail merge.

Step 2: Select the source Excel file containing the data set

The next step is to connect to an Excel source file containing a list of names and addresses using Select Recipients. In the Excel worksheet, the first row must contain field names such as FirstName, LastName, Company, Address and so on. There should be no blank rows in the data set.

Select Recipients appears on the Mailings tab in the Ribbon in the Start Mail Merge group as follows:

In the following Excel worksheet, note that the field names are in the first row of the sheet being used a source:

To select a Microsoft Excel source file containing a worksheet with names and addresses for the labels:

  1. In the main Word document, click the Mailings tab in the Ribbon and then click Select Recipients in the Start Mail Merge group. A dialog box appears.
  2. Click Use an Existing List from the drop-down menu. A dialog box appears.
  3. Navigate to the Excel file containing the names and addresses you want to use as the source.
  4. Double-click the Excel file. A dialog box appears.
  5. Ensure First row of data contains column headers is checked.
  6. Click the Excel worksheet containing the data you wish to use.
  7. Click OK.

The following dialog box appears when you select an Excel file as the source for a merge:

Excel source worksheet for label mail merge with Word.

Step 3: Insert fields from the source file in the main document in Word

Once you have connected to a source file, you can insert fields into the main document (which contains a table for the labels). You have the option of using a special Word field called Address Block or inserting individual fields.

Address Block appears as follows in the Ribbon:

Address block command in the Mailings tab in Word for label mail merge.

To insert the Address Block field:

  1. Click in the first cell of the table in the main document where you want to insert the recipient name and address.
  2. Click the Mailings tab in the Ribbon and select Address Block in the Write & Insert Fields group. A dialog box appears. Word will display an address based on the source data.
  3. In the samples on the left, select the address sample you prefer.
  4. Check or uncheck other options if necessary.
  5. Click OK. Word inserts an Address Block field into the main document.

In the Address Block dialog box, select a sample address in the area on the left:

Insert address block dialog box in Word for label mail merge.

To insert fields individually:

  1. Click in the first cell of the table in the main document where you want to insert the recipient name and address.
  2. Click the Mailings tab in the Ribbon and select Insert Merge Field in the Write & Insert Fields group.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select the field you want to insert.
  4. Press the spacebar, type text or press Enter if necessary.
  5. Repeat for other fields you want to insert.

Step 4: Update the labels

To populate all of the labels in the table:

  1. Click in the table in the main document.
  2. Click the Mailings tab in the Ribbon and then select Update Labels or Propogate Labels in the Write & Insert group. Word will insert the fields in all label cells and include <<Next Record>> to go to the next record in the source data.

Step 5: Format the labels

You may need to apply formatting to the labels such as changing the font and size, changing alignment, and adjusting paragraph spacing.

Below is a sample main document for address labels (Avery US Letter 5163 shipping labels):

Sample main document for bulk address labels in Word.

Step 6: Select specific recipients or filter the recipient list (optional)

You have the option of choosing specific recipients or filtering the recipient list if you don’t want to create labels for all contacts in the data source.

To choose specific contacts:

  1. In the the main document in Word, click the Mailings tab in the Ribbon and then click Edit Recipient List in the Start Mail Merge group. A dialog box appears.
  2. Uncheck the check boxes beside the recipients you do not wish to include in the mail merge.
  3. Click OK.

To filter the source list:

  1. In the the main document in Word, click the Mailings tab in the Ribbon and then click Edit Recipient List in the Start Mail Merge group. A dialog box appears.
  2. Click Filter. A dialog box appears.
  3. Select / enter the desired filtering options.
  4. Click OK.

For example, below is a filter to display records from Toronto:

Filter and sort mail merge dialog box in Word.

To remove the filter, repeat the process, but click Clear All in the Filter and Sort dialog box.

Step 7: Preview the results (optional)

Before you run the mail merge, to preview the results:

  1. In the the main document in Word, click the Mailings tab in the Ribbon and then click Preview Results in the Preview Results group.
  2. Click the arrows in the Preview Results group to go to the next or previous page.
  3. Click Preview Results to view the fields again.

Step 8: Run the mail merge to create a new file or print the labels

The final step is to run the merge. You can either create a new merged document or merge directly to a printer.

To run the mail merge and create a new merged label document:

  1. In the the main document in Word, click the Mailings tab in the Ribbon and then click Finish & Merge in the Finish group. A drop-down menu appears.
  2. Click Edit Individual Documents. A dialog box appears.
  3. Click Current Record or enter a selected range if necessary.
  4. Click OK. Word creates a new merged document that you can edit, print and save.

The following dialog box appears when you select Edit individual documents:

Merge to new document dialog box for label merge in Word.

To run the mail merge and print the merged file:

  1. In the the main document in Word, click the Mailings tab in the Ribbon and then click Finish & Merge in the Finish group. A drop-down menu appears.
  2. Select Print Documents. A dialog box appears.
  3. Click Current Record or enter a selected range if necessary.
  4. Click OK. A dialog box appears.
  5. Select the desired printer and other printer options.
  6. Click OK.

The following dialog box appears when you select Print Documents:

Merge to printer dialog box for label merge in Word.

You will typically want to save the main document and the source file. If you save the merged file, you will have a record of the labels that were created.

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How to Create Labels in Word Using Mail Merge and Excel Source Data
Article Name
How to Create Labels in Word Using Mail Merge and Excel Source Data
Description
You can create labels in Microsoft Word by running a mail merge and using data in Excel. This is typically used to generate and print bulk mailing labels for names and addresses of clients or other contacts. You’ll need to create a main document for the labels in Word and then connect to a data set or list in an Excel worksheet (although you can use other data sources). When you run the mail merge, you can create a new merged file with a label for each contact or merge directly to a printer.
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Avantix Learning

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