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: Printing Multiple Label Copies when Merging.

Printing Multiple Label Copies when Merging

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 27, 2013)

When you use Word's mail-merge feature to create labels, it simply creates a source document that contains the proper field codes to print a single set of labels. To print multiple copies of labels, all you need to do is merge the source document with the data source to create a new document. This merged document can be printed as many times as desired to achieve all the copies you want.

The problem with this approach, of course, is that you end up with multiple sets of labels, not multiple label copies. For instance, let's say that you wanted five copies of each label, so you printed the merged document five times. The first label in each set is the same, as you would expect. However, if you wanted to print five copies of the same label, in order, on the first sheet, then five copies of the next label, in order, you can't use the approach of simply printing the merged document multiple times.

The answer lies in going back to the source document—the one with the field codes—created by Word. If you display the source document and then press Alt+F9 to display the field codes in the document. You will see that for each label except the first one, Word includes a { NEXT } field at the beginning of the label. To print multiple copies of the labels, simply remove the desired number of { NEXT } fields. For each { NEXT } field you remove, Word will print that label using the data in the same data record as used by the previous label. (Remember, as well, that Word puts the labels together from left to right, then from top to bottom.)

For instance, let's say that Word formatted your source document for Avery 5160 labels, which are three across and ten rows per sheet. If you want three copies of each label, simply remove the { NEXT } fields from each label in columns two and three. Thus, a { NEXT } field will appear only in the first label of each row, with the exception of the first row, where a { NEXT } is always assumed by Word. To create your actual labels, simply merge the source document with the data source to create a new document that has your labels. You will see that each label is repeated three times.

To create a different quantity of labels, simply make sure that the { NEXT } field appears only after the number of desired labels. This means that if you want five copies of each label, then { NEXT } should appear only at the beginning of the sixth, eleventh, sixteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-sixth labels.

The downside to this approach is that the number of labels you print must be a factor of the number of labels on the sheet. In the case of the Avery 5160 labels, the number 30 (the number of labels per sheet) must be evenly divisible by the number of copies you want. For instance, you could print 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, or 15 labels and fill up each sheet. If you use a different number, such as 7, which is not evenly divisible (7 times 4 is 28, which is the closest you can get), then you must remove all the fields from the last two labels of the sheet so they will print out blank.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1627) 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: Printing Multiple Label Copies when Merging.

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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