by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 26, 2018)
Many people utilize the Envelopes and Labels feature of Word to create their own envelopes. One of the features of the tool is the ability of Word to print delivery point barcodes on your envelopes. Even though several versions of Word provides the ability to add barcodes, that doesn't mean you should add them.
What, exactly, is a delivery point barcode? Glad you asked. The idea behind the barcode is that the sorting machinery at the US Postal Service would read the code to help route mail more efficiently. Depending on what you are mailing (and how many pieces you are mailing), barcodes could help you save money on your postage. (If you want to discover more, visit the US Postal Service Web site at http://www.usps.com or visit your local Post Office.)
Word provides a way to use the Envelopes and Labels tools to add a delivery point barcode on your envelopes. There is a problem with this, however: The US Post Office changed their bar coding standards in late 2006 or early 2007, essentially making the barcodes produced by Word worthless. You can read more about this change here:
If you use Word to print barcodes on your envelopes, you my end up with a mailing that you need to redo, as the envelopes may not be accepted by the Post Office.
The best solution? Work with a third-party vendor to verify your mailing and provide the barcodes. You'll need to balance the cost of such a service against any savings in postage that you may realize.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (895) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.
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