Monday, September 1, 2003

Mail-merging labels and a trick for searching OutlookPower


By Diane Poremsky

A reader, Jerry Morrison, writes:

I am an avid fan of your Outlook newsletter.... great... I guess the only question I have is how does someone like me get an answer on an Outlook question that may have been covered your articles... but I may have missed?

The question I have is it would be really keen if there was a link between Outlook and MS Word's mailing label printing functions... how nice it would be to send my "Christmas" category to the label printing program... I am sure someone has already figured out a way (an easy way)... and would love to find the answer... it would save me lots of hours at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other occasions...

Thanks for listening... hopefully you will give me guidance on both items above...

Thank you for writing and I'm glad you like the newsletter. Back issues of Outlook Power are on the website at While we don't have a search utility (we're working on it), finding the back issue you need isn't too difficult.

[You can also go to Google, type in your search request, and end it with "" (without the quotes). The search will then be limited to OutlookPower's Web site. By the way, this trick works with all Web sites. Any time you prefix a domain with site:, Google will limit its search results to that site. We use it all the time! -- DG]

Mail-merging labels

As you look over the list of back issues you'll notice one of the July columns mentions mail merge--that's the column you need to answer your second question. Although that column is about using mail merge to create form letters, you can just as easily merge to mailing labels. You can find "Use Mail Merge to customize form letters" at

Since mail merge is a very popular topic, I'll briefly go over the basic steps you'll need to create your labels. Begin by applying the By Category view to your contacts, then select the contacts in the Christmas category. You'll need to select the first one, then hold shift and scroll down to select the last one, selecting the category heading won't cut it with mail merge.

Once the contacts are selected, use the Tools, Mail Merge menu to open the Mail Merge dialog. Choose Mailing Labels as the document type and click Ok to begin the mail merge process. Outlook creates a document containing the contacts which is the data source Word uses for the merge. Once it's created, Word opens and you can use View, Task pane to show Word's mail merge task pane if you need help completing the merge.

There ya go! And don't forget to send out those Halloween cards first!