Generating Mailing Labels using Mass Mailings
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Most users will be completely satisfied with the built-in label reports in DONATION, which are Reports à Donor à Mailing Labels, Reports à Donor à Mailing Labels with Member/Envelope #, Reports à Donor à Envelope Box Labels and Reports à Receipt à Mailing Labels (which prints mailing labels for all donors with receipts dated on a specified date). See the section on Mailing Labels for more details on these reports.
However, in some limited cases you may want to generate your own mailing labels, either because you want different information included on them, or because you want to use a size of mailing labels that isn't supported by the above reports.
At least with Microsoft Word, you can generate mailing labels or even reports using the Letters à Mass Mailing feature. The following instructions work for Word 2000, but it is probably very similar to do it with Word 97 or Word 2003 (however, see below for instructions for Word 2007). The same type of options may be possible with WordPerfect or other word processing programs, but truthfully I just haven't tried them.
To do this, first use Letters à Mass Mailing, selecting the option in section (3) to just export the data. You can use whichever of the options in section (1) that is appropriate to your purposes. Click on Export, and note the file name that it says it exported.
Microsoft also has an online article about creating mailing labels using Word, with your data coming from an Excel spreadsheet, at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/318117. It may make more sense to follow its instructions than the ones in the rest of this help topic.
Now, start in Word with an empty document. Use Tools à Mail Merge to bring up the Mail Merge Helper dialog box. In the first section, Main Document, click the Create button and pick the Mailing Labels option. When prompted, select to use the Active Window.
Next, in the second section, Data Source, click the Get Data button and pick Open Data Source. In the file opening dialog box that comes up, first set the "Files of type" drop-down to "All Files (*.*)", then if necessary navigate to the Letters subdirectory of the program's Data Directory (see that topic for its location) and select the file name that was exported from DONATION.
It will probably now prompt you to set up the main document, and put you into a couple of dialog boxes to set up the format and then the contents of the mailing labels. Just select whichever options are appropriate for your requirements. When you are done, click OK enough times to get back to the document.
Now, you can use the button labelled << >> on the Mail Merge toolbar in Word to see actual data filled in to the labels. If it looks right, you are ready to do the merge – click the toolbar icon for Merge to New Document, or if you prefer you can select Merge to Printer.
Once you have convinced yourself that this is working properly, you can re-use the main document file that you have created with other exports from the Mass Mailing option.
You can follow these same steps to create something like a report by using the Catalog option, instead of the Mailing Labels option, in the first section of Word's Mail Merge Helper dialog box. A catalog is a mail merge document with each record (donor or whatever) appearing on fields on one or more rows, rather than one page per record as is normal if you pick the standard Form Letters option in the Mail Merge Helper. When you create the document in Word, lay out fields across one or more rows, then leave a blank line at the bottom. (This does not get included in the merged catalogs.)
Obviously, all of this takes some practice and experimentation. As usual, contact me if you need further assistance.
To do this with Word 2007, go to the Mailings tab, click Start Mail Merge, then pick Labels from the drop-down menu. Pick the desired type of label on the window that comes up, then click OK.
Then click Select Recipients, and pick Use Existing List from the drop-down menu. Select the file exported from DONATION on the window that comes up.
Next, at the top-left corner of the document, insert the merge fields you want using the Insert Merge Field button and the pull-down list. You probably want to separate lines with Shift+Enter rather than Enter, so they aren't in separate paragraphs, with extra space between the lines. Once all of the merge fields are filled in at the top left, copy and paste those in immediately after every occurrence of «Next Record» that Word put into the document. (Don't leave a blank line between that field and your first merge field.)
You can then preview the results with the Preview Results button, or actually merge them with the Finish & Merge button's drop-down options Edit Individual Documents (to see the completed merge in a new Word document, before choosing to print it yourself) or Print Documents (to go directly to printing the labels, without first viewing them in a new document).