Using FIM Barcodes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 14, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


If you are using Word to help with an advertising campaign that utilized direct mail, you may want to take advantage of some of the automation features allowed by the US Postal Service. These include the delivery point barcode (as described in a different WordTip) and the FIM barcode. FIM is an acronym for Facing Identification Mark, and is used by the Post Office to determine the type of mail being processed.

There are two types of FIM barcodes. The first is called an FIM-A barcode, and is used to identify courtesy reply mail. The other is called an FIM-C barcode, and identifies business reply mail. Word helps you insert an FIM-A barcode by following these steps:

  1. Choose Envelopes and Labels from the Tools menu. Word displays the Envelopes and Labels dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Envelopes tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Envelopes tab of the Envelopes and Labels dialog box.

  4. Use the controls in the dialog box to create your envelope addresses, as desired.
  5. Click on the Options button. Word displays the Envelope Options dialog box.
  6. Make sure the Delivery Point Barcode check box is selected. A representation of the barcode should appear in the preview window. (See Figure 2.)
  7. Figure 2. The Envelope Options dialog box.

  8. Make sure the FIM-A Courtesy Reply Mail check box is selected. A representation of the barcode appears in the preview window just to the left of the stamp.
  9. Click on OK.
  10. Make any other changes to the envelope, as desired.
  11. Choose to either print the envelope or include it with the current document.

You should note that Word only allows you to insert the FIM-A barcode in this manner. If you want to use the FIM-C barcode, you should follow the above steps and make sure you include the envelope with the current document. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Select the FIM-A barcode in the envelope.
  2. Press SHIFT+F9 to display the field that created the barcode. It should look something like this:
BARCODE ENV_ZIPCODE1\b \u \f "A"
  1. Change the "A" portion of the field code to "C".
  2. Press F9 to collapse the field and display the resulting barcode.
  3. Print your envelope, as desired.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (896) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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