How-To Geek

Create Mailing Labels in Word 2003 With Mail Merge

You can use Mail Merge in Word 2003 to create mailing labels for a database full of customers. 

Open Word 2003 and click on Tools \ Letters and Mailings \ Mail Merge…


In the Mail Merge menu on the right under Select document type, select Labels.  Then click Next: Starting document.


From step 2 Click on Label options…

This will bring up a menu allowing you to select the brand and style of the labels you want to print.  Here I am using Avery 4013 on a Dot Matrix printer.  Of course you will want to select what you have, Avery is the most popular in business from my experience.  If you have oddball labels you can always choose custom settings as well.  When your done with the label options click OK.

Now you are going to want to choose your data source.  Under Use an Existing List; click on Browse… Use Explorer to find the data source you want to use and double click it.  (Creating a data source will be covered in another how to).

You will click on a confirmation screen verifying your data source (I used an Excel spread sheet that I had imported from Access) and get to Mail Merge Recipients window.  Here you can change the order of your information, delete certain users, and validate information.  Since I know the data source is what I want I chose Select All.  Now hit OK.

Ok, we’re almost complete, just a couple more steps. Click on Next:  Arrange your labels. 

Here Click on More items… 

Now we can choose the order of the data we want presented on the labels we are creating.  Just double click on each field you want to include.


Now if you look over at your document you will notice these fields are being added to your labels.  You can edit them by highlighting the field and moving it to where you want.  For instance on this label I would want the First Name before the Last Name. 

Now over on the Mail Merge menu bar you will want to select the “update all labels” button.  This will populate each label with the fields from the fist label.  Then click on Next: Preview your labels.

Your document screen will look similar to this.

Now, on the mail merge menu you can click through the Recipients by clicking the back or forward arrows. If you doing hundreds of labels … I would just spot check them.  If you’re satisfied with how they look let’s move to step 6 and complete the merge.

The Merge is complete!  Make sure your labels are set up in the printer and hit Print…

You will be presented with the print select screen.  Choose all, or a specific number to print.  You will get a different record for each contact from your data source on each label.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 05/15/07

Comments (56)

  1. steven

    i tried to do a mail merge in word i went threw all the steps, brought the file from excel, but nothing shows up in the address label fieds, is there something i should do first in excel, like save the file a certain, way.

  2. mysticgeek


    You do not have to save the Excel file in any way other than a .xls. Have you double checked the step…

    “Now if you look over at your document you will notice these fields are being added to your labels. You can edit them by highlighting the field and moving it to where you want. For instance on this label I would want the First Name before the Last Name. ”

    Also, are you using Office 2003?

  3. Sarah

    This was helpful info, thanks. Does anyone know how to keep the merged information from looping? For example – if my spread sheet reads 1-20 in column A (as if the number were a name) and I merge it to labels with eight per page, I get 20 pages of labels instead of just 20 labels. They print out 1-8 on the first page, then 2-9, 3-10 and so on …. the info keeps looping. I can not for the life of me figure out what’s going on! Please help!

  4. Bryan

    I followed these steps but at the merge to
    printer stage after I had selected ‘all’ and then the print dialogue box came up (with the default ‘all’ selected)and clicked ‘print’ only page 1 of the labels printed.

    The only way I could get all the pages to printed was to select the page range option e.g. 1-57. I had to calculate this by dividing the number of records in the excel file by the number of labels on the sheet.

    Why is this? It doesn’t happen with any other multipage document when I print.

  5. maria

    To whom it may concern: I just wanted to say thank you for such a great tutorial this is. I learn so much from it.

    Thank you

  6. Rod

    Thanks, helped me out of a jam.

  7. jackie

    This was the BEST site for figuring this out! Thanks so much for your help :)

  8. Fiona

    In the old version of word you used to be able to click a button that took out blank fields – I can’t see that this an option any longer – is that the case??

  9. Monique Angevin, Charlotte, NC

    This was extremely helpful. I know just where to go when I need further help. I will pass this along to my fellow co-workers.

  10. yo

    this was way more helpful than work or excel. THANKS!

  11. perri

    Okay, this was SO helpful!

    Thank you!

  12. erika

    I found this super helpful but was wondering if there was a way to make it so that the mail merge would atuomatically update when I make changes to the excel spread sheet so that i don’t have to remerge it every time.

  13. jd2066

    @erika: Yes, there is a way to do that.
    When you get to the “Compleate the Merge” section of the wizard just save the Word document and every time you open the document, it will read the entries from the Excel file and put them in the document.
    Note: Don’t select the “Edit Individual Labels” link first though as that will just give you a static document that won’t update.

  14. laura

    help! i have successfully done a label mail merge and when i look at the print preview it looks all ok but when it prints the labels dont line up correctly and i have checked the dimensions and margins etc. what can i do?? if someone could help asap that would be fab! thank you

  15. mian

    I have tried EVERYTHING! I do everything right until it comes time to select ‘update labels’, and I cannot select it! It is a grey ‘dead’ button. What am I doing wrong? Using vista. THX

  16. Shirley Phillip

    I just installed Word, Excell 2007; I have used the 2003 version for all the years past. I have a lot of data base set up in Excell 2003 – I know how to do mail merge from this file to Word; however, what are the commands that I use in Word 2007 to complete the mail merge JUST FOR LABELS, not mass mailing of letters, just LABELS?

    Thank you!!

  17. jd2066

    @laura: If you have selected the right labels in the “Label Options” dialog and it still doesn’t work you could try selecting the “New Label” button in that dialog and adjest the settings a little bit to match how off the labels are printed.

    @Shirley Phillip: If you want to do the same thing this article shows how to do for Word 2003 then it’s the same as this article shows except for the first step. For Word 2007 the first step is Mailings Tab -> Start Mail Merge Button -> Step By Step Mail Merge Wizard.

  18. Isabel

    I am going through all of the steps but when I get to:

    Now over on the Mail Merge menu bar you will want to select the “update all labels” button.

    I get an error and Word closes down. I have tried to do it on my other computer as well and it does the same thing. Do you know what would be wrong???

  19. Jerry

    I have done exactly what is said above; but after printing several pages, I found out that names are repeated randomly. Here is what happened, I have 199 names with addresses in excel sheet and I’ve selected 14 labels – 2 columns in one sheet so I should have 15 sheets only for 199 names but I’ve got 199 sheets too in full 14 labels each sheet has been filled-in.

    I am confused, obviously all names are repeated as it appeared starts from second page one name’s repeated and so on… please help!!!


  20. Mike

    Have a problem, hope you can help.

    Template/main document is in MS Word 2003 format. Source data is in MS Excel 2003 format. Am trying to merge into a document that contains English, Arabic, Chinese and Thai. Only problem is with Arabic. The merge seems to convert the data leaving me with a front to back statement. E.g. on the spreadsheet, the data can be ABC1234 but on the merged document the data reads 4321CBA. Have tried swithching source to text, another MS Word document but seem to get the same result.

    Appreciate any help/comments – thanks in advance.

  21. Paul

    I’m having the same exact problem as Jerry who posted on 1/4, and I’ve spent hours trying to correct with no success. Every label starts a new page so there are as many pages as there are records in the file. Each page has a full sheet of labels, starting with which record is the first record assigned to that page. I’m pulling my hair out over this.

  22. Paul Horton

    Great help, confirmed the little I knew and filled in the blanks – extremely helpful.

  23. Jerry

    Hello Paul! my problem on repeated label as posted above has been resolved. Try using other method in MsWord.

    If you are still on this problem please let me know.


  24. Paul

    Thank you, Jerry. I kept cancelling my wizard because I didn’t want to merge to printer without verifying that the file was right, but apparently that was the missing piece. I still am stubborn about doing it my way, so I do a Merge to New Document from the MailMerge toolbar instead, and that also fixes the problem.

  25. Heather

    I used this and it worked like a dream but created only one page of labels when I should get 23 or so, it’s 300 some names. I made sure all the names were selected in my data source. I went back and carefully did it again. What am I missing? By the way, this is a one minute deal on Office 98 on a mac, but on PC I’ve spent hours and been though tons of websites that don’t help a darned bit to figure out how to get the address block in the right order on the label. So thanks for that.


  26. Matt

    This was the only one that I found worked. Thank you!

  27. Paul

    I’m glad that hours of maniacal renderings over this (and the subsequent hair loss) by a number of us has helped others. Heather, it’s a one-minute deal in Windows 98, also, and goes bad in XP. The MS people keep trying to dumb things down for the masses only to screw up royally what used to work. For the missing labels, did you try using the little arrows on the MailMerge bar to page over?

  28. Allen

    I am following all the instructions I can find and it seems to work well, but, following replicate addresses, it has worked on one page only. How can I get it to include enough pages for all of the name in my address list?
    Please help.

  29. Darcy

    Fiona –

    I was trying to use the ADDRESS BLOCK capability and ran into the second address line problem. I wasted hours searching the web for an answer. If you don’t use address block and just use INSERT all of the fields then I did not run into the problem. I don’t know if there is a capability to modify ADDRESS BLOCK so you can suppress the blank lines.


  30. Darcy


    Thanks the merge to new document function corrected a single page problem that I was running into.

  31. Jackie

    I just finished using “Create Mail labels in Word 2003 With Mail Merge”. After a few fits and starts (mostly due to user) I DID IT!!! I spent the better part of today trying to figure it out on my own but with no formal computer training I was getting nowhere. Thanks to you I did it. Please keep it up. Thank you

  32. Enkhzaya

    I followed all the steps up until opening an existing excel file. We are printing customer address labels. When i choose the right file, it opens a window titled “File Conversion” and it says “Select the encoding that makes your document readable” and then it gives options three options
    1. Windows (Default)
    2. MS-Dos
    3. Other encoding
    None of these are all readable. What am I doing wrong?

  33. Joe Black

    Great Article! I wish I had found this before I fumbled through MS Word Help, which we all know, ain’t that helpful.

    Anyway, Does anyone know if in the “Find Entry” field the Default setting can be changed? It comes up checked for “All Fields,” but I’d like to have it come up for say field “F2” each time.

    I use it to print product labels on at a time, and if there are similar numbers in other fields, like the product description, it finds those first. I want it to only look in one particular field for the Search function.

    Any Ideas?

    Thanks! Great site. Joe

  34. Laurie

    I have created a mail merge in Word 2003 and now when i do a preview of it- it follows the following pattern: first entry, third entry, fifth entry, page turn, sixth entry, eighth entry, tenth entry, page turn, etc… any suggestions on how to fix this??

  35. Sara

    I have tried this like 30 times. I follow the steps throughly. I line everything up. I even went back in my excell document and renamed the colums so it would work better. When I arrange my lables they things pop up saying saying what I selected, I updatd them all, and they all show up right. BUT…I hit the buttom to preview my lables nothing shows up. But there is something because if I highlight the page, I can see the outline of the lables. BUT there is absolutely no writing at all. I really need some help on this issue. I run a non-profit organization and I have over 800 lables to make, and I really would prefer not to do it by hand. If you could please email me with a solution to my problem, it would be greatly appreciated.

  36. kevin

    This was the only site I could find that finally gave me the details I needed to successfully get my labels printed – thank you!

  37. Matt

    This has been helpful, but when i get to step 3 and select the Excel worksheet i want it pops up at window that says”Select Table” and only gives me one option; which is “names” column A row 1. I can see the other columns, but it won’t let me select them. It also has 3 “Sheet1$” options in this window i cannot delete. I am using Word 2003 and Excel 2003. How do I select my other 2 categories “street address & State-zip”

    Thank you in advance.

  38. Basanthi


    Even i tried everything is fine Till i go to the preview once i click on preview the address is not appearing the word please give me the details how to do that i have tried this enough number of time and i’m not able to findout

  39. Becki

    I did this and it works fabulously, minus the fact that a ton of my labels are repeating themselves two to three times. Does anyone know how this might be happenning or if there’s a way to adjust it and still allow the fields to be in sync with the excell sheet that I will need to be updating?

  40. Venita

    The first box on each label [age is correct and the next box always says <> and when I print preview it, each label starts off a different label sheet and where <> is, it’s blank.

    How do I fix this?

  41. tye

    i have set up an mail merge but it does not send out the email. its from word 2007 to ms outlook 2003. it work fine from word 2003 to outlook 2003.

    Can you please help me how i can get it to work on Word 2007 so it can send email out on Outlook 2003. thats only the issues i have that it does not send the emails out.

  42. ushma

    thanx for sharing…was very helpful ….

  43. Jane

    Can anyome please help me to include “Comments” from the excel sheet in a mail merge?

  44. Tom

    Everything works fine except when I print the Avery 4013 on my Epson LQ590, it skips the 1st two labels on the next array of 12 labels, then progressively gets worse when doing a larger label merge?
    Any ideas on preventing the waste of 2 lables for every 12 printed?

  45. Crystal

    This was the greatest thing since peanut butter…lol. I had been trying to get this done for 2 weeks then I found this web site. I was missing one small step. No other site has it down the way you do. Thanks a lot.

  46. Meena

    THANK YOU!! After getting completely frustrated with Window’s directions (or lack of), I was thrilled to find your detailed instructions WITH PICTURES!! :) I struggled with figuring out how to add the comma after the city and spacing between the city, state, and zipcode. By using “address block” instead of “more items”, I inserted the labels I used for each field and it came out perfectly! Again, thank you for taking the time to put this tutorial together.

  47. Katy

    I can do mail merge on my office computer and have been trying to do one at home but my Word 2003 will not keep the label type that I select! I have changed it numerous times to Avery A4 + A5, J8160 but as soon as I click ok it reverts back to Avery Standard, notecard. I even tried a custom but it still reverted back to this!!

    Please help!!!!!!

  48. liz

    Hi I am having a lot of trouble using mail merge to create labels from a list on excel. And everything works up until I get to “Use existing List”. I do not know how to get the list from the excel worksheet onto the word document. PLEASE HELP!! I have to do massive mailings tomorrow and I am completely terrified as I still don’t know how.. Thanks

  49. liz

    Pretty much these are the steps I take if I’m wrong please please correct me… use an existing list -> browse -> (under my Data Sources I open up) +connect to New Data Source -> (a screen pops up saying “Welcome to the Data Connection Wizard) I click ODBC DSN -> Excel Files -> I select my workbook (which is called Labels.xls) -> i press ok -> then i get a screen saying “select database and table”.. and then I’m stuck………………………=(

  50. Henry

    HELP please, i would like to have the merged results consecutively, not in different pages, how can I do that? thank you!!

  51. Toni

    Ok so i am still having a problem with this! I follow the steps but it still isnt working right! I have names A-Z to merge, but when I merge them only A-B comes up. It is so frustrating! I think I might lose my mind if I dont get this figured out!

  52. Becky Henley

    I’m merging an excell file to word 2003 to try printing mailing labels. I follow all of the steps. When I look at
    the print preview it’s not the names and addresses. How in this world can I get it to print the information that I’ve merged?

  53. hazel

    So how do I fix a problem with the recipient list. It is from excel 2003 database with over 200 names and addresses in alphabetical order. When in mail merge the recipient list only shows approx half of the list. There are no filters, or sort options in the database, so how can I fix it.

  54. eric

    i wanted to print ONLY labels for the envelop. how can it be done. tqvm for advise

  55. Roxanne

    In Word 2010, when I am merging from Excel to labels, it prints the same label repeated on each page. I want to have multiple labels per page.

  56. s

    thank you
    learned how to mail merge today
    you saved me alot of work

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