MS-Access / Getting Started

Creating Mailing Labels

A perennial database task is printing mailing labels from lists of names and addresses. The easiest way to create a report that prints on labels is to use the Label Wizard, which contains a long list of preset formats for all standard Avery brand and compatible labels. (Most boxes of label sheets include an Avery number that specifies the size of your labels.) After you create a report with the wizard, you can make further changes in Design view.

Running the Label Wizard

To run the Label Wizard, follow these steps:

  1. In the Navigation Pane, specify what you want to print out:
    • Select the table or query that contains the information you want to print on your labels.
    • Display the Create tab on the Ribbon.
  2. On the Ribbon, click the Labels button on the Reports group.
    You see the Label Wizard
  3. Choose the type of label from the Product Number list. Click Next.
    Access normally shows the labels according to the numbers assigned by Avery, a major manufacturer of labels. But you can see other types of labels by changing the Filter by Manufacturer box:
    • If you plan to print continuous-feed labels (where the sheets are connected together) rather than sheets of labels, change the Label Type setting.
    • If you are printing on custom-printed labels, click the Customize button, click the New button in the New Label Size dialog box that appears, and tell Access about your labels.
  4. Choose the font, font size, weight (light, normal, or bold, among others), and color. Click Next.
    Access uses these settings for the text boxes in the report.
  5. Choose the fields that you want to include on the label. Click Next.
    The Prototype Label box shows the layout of fields on the label, including spaces, punctuation, and text that prints on every label (for example, "First Class" or your return address). You arrange the fields and other information in the Prototype Label box. One line in the Prototype Label box is selected (it's gray), showing that new fields are added to this line. You can press the ↑ and ↓ keys to move to a different line.
    To print a field on your mailing labels, click the field in the Available Fields box and then click the > button to add it to the current line of the Prototype Label box. (Double-clicking a field does the same thing.) To add text, such as a space, comma, other punctuation, or words, just move your cursor to the location in the Prototype Label box where you want the text to appear, and type it.
    For example, the first line of a mailing label usually consists of the first name, a space, and the last name. With the first line of the Prototype Label box selected, you double-click the First Name field (whatever it's called in your table), type a space, and double-click the Last Name field. To move to the next line, press Enter or ↓.
    If you put a field in the wrong place, click it in the Prototype Label box and press the Delete key to remove it.
    Be sure to type a comma and a space between city and State/ Province fields in the Prototype Label box, and a space between State/Province and Zip/Postcode fields, too.
  6. Choose the field(s) by which to sort the records. Click Next.
    For example, to sort by last name within zip code, choose the ZIP field and then the Last Name field.
  7. Type a name for the report and click Finish.

Tip If the label report looks good in Print Preview, print it on a blank piece of paper before you start printing sheets of labels. Hold the printed sheet up to a blank sheet of labels and see whether the names and addresses line up with the labels. This method avoids wasting sheets of expensive labels while you refine your label report.

Changing the page setup for labels

Unexpectedly, the report is only the size of a single label. You don't see a whole page full of labels. How does Access know how many labels to print across a row? The Page Setup dialog box for the report contains this information. If you specified the wrong Avery number in the Label Wizard (or if you have labels that don't have Avery numbers), you can change these settings.

With the report open in Design view, click the Columns button on the Page Layout group of the Page Setup tab on the Ribbon to display the Page Setup dialog box. You see the following settings:

  • Number of Columns: How many columns of labels per page.
  • Row Spacing: How much blank space to leave between one row of labels and the next (usually zero, because Access includes this space in the report design).
  • Column Spacing: How much blank space to leave between one column and the next (that is, between one label and the next across each row).
  • Column Size Width and Height: The size of the labels. If you leave the Same as Detail check box selected, Access sets these settings to be the same size as the Detail section of the report.
  • Column Layout: The order in which the labels print on each page.

You can use the settings on the Columns tab of the Page Setup dialog box to create newspaper-style "snaking" columns for any report, not just mailing labels. Make the Detail section of the report narrower than half the width of the paper, specify two columns, and set the Column Layout property to the Down Then Across setting.

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