Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Sequentially Numbered Labels.

Sequentially Numbered Labels

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 21, 2015)

If you work in a business where you need to sequentially number items, you might be wondering if there is a way you can use Word to create the labels for you. Word has many ways you can implement some type of numbering in your documents. For instance, you can use different fields for numbering, or use numbered lists, the captioning feature, or you can use mail merging. While all of these features (and more) use some type of numbering in them, they are not all well suited to creating labels.

Perhaps the easiest way to set up labels that have sequential numbers is to use the Envelopes and Labels capability of Word in concert with the SEQ field. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Use the Envelopes and Labels option from the Tools menu to create a sheet of blank labels.
  2. In the top-left label, type the word Exhibit, followed by a space.
  3. Press Ctrl+F9. Word inserts a pair of field braces in the label.
  4. Type SEQ and a space.
  5. Type a name for this sequence of numbers, such as "exhibit" (without the quote marks).
  6. Press F9. The field is collapsed and a number appears in your label.
  7. Format the contents of this first label any way you desire.
  8. Copy the first label by selecting it and pressing Ctrl+C.
  9. Select each of the other labels in the first row in turn, and press Ctrl+V. You should now have a complete row of the labels.
  10. Select the other, blank rows of labels and delete them.
  11. Select the entire first row of labels and press Ctrl+C.
  12. Press the right arrow, which should place your insertion point immediately after (beneath) the first row of labels.
  13. Press Ctrl+V to paste a new row of labels. You should now have two rows of labels, correctly formatted. (Don't worry yet that they have the same numbers on them.)
  14. Press Ctrl+V for each additional row of labels you want. You want enough rows of labels to meet your entire needs. Thus, if you need a total of 125 labels, and you can get 3 labels per line, you should end up with 42 rows of labels.
  15. Press Ctrl+A to select everything in the document.
  16. Press F9. This updates all the fields in what you selected. All your numbering should now be correct.

If you prefer to not use the SEQ field to create the labels, you can also create them doing a mail merge. Conceptually, you only need to do the following:

  1. Create an Excel worksheet that has as many numbers in it as you need. For instance, if you need 175 labels, you would place a title in cell A1 (such as "Number") and the 175 numbers you need in cells A2 through A176. Make sure you save the workbook.
  2. In Word, choose Mail Merge from the Tools menu. This displays the Mail Merge Helper dialog box.
  3. Go through the steps of creating a new document consisting of labels and specifying your data source (the worksheet you created in step 1).
  4. Create the sample label so that it has the word Exhibit followed by a merge field that represents the number being pulled from the Excel worksheet. Make sure the label contents are formatted the way you need them.
  5. Merge the information to a new document. You should now have a document that has all your labels in it, and you can print them as desired.

Of course, there are third-party solutions that are available for creating sequentially numbered labels. One that comes highly recommended by several WordTips subscribers is Bates Labels from Payne Consulting (http://www.payneconsulting.com). This free Word template allows you to easily create as many labels as you need for a specific purpose.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1492) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Sequentially Numbered Labels.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Adding the Set Print Area Tool

Spend a lot of time defining print areas in your workbooks? You might benefit by adding a Set Print Area tool to the Quick ...

Discover More

Quick Recall of Table Formats

Got a table that you use over and over again? One way you can make quick work of such repetition is to save the table in a ...

Discover More

Displaying All the Files in a Folder using Windows Explorer

Displaying all the files a folder contains is an easy task in Windows. One easy way to do it is by using the Windows ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

Setting Default Label Formats

Setting default formats for envelopes is easy; setting them for labels is not so easy. Here are some ideas on things you can ...

Discover More

Creating Custom Labels

There is a whole passel of labels pre-defined in Word. You are not limited to this passel, however; Word allows you to define ...

Discover More

Changing Label Sizes

Information formatted for one type of label may someday need to be printed on a different type of label. Here's some ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
Share