NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, November 2012
Customizing Labels in Word 2007
Nancy DeMarte, Regular Columnist (Office Talk),
Sarasota PCUG, Florida August 2012 issue,
Sarasota PC Monitor
ndemarte (at) Verizon.net (click to email author)

Among special projects we users can do with Word is creating labels. The word ďlabelĒ includes all sorts of things like shipping labels, address labels, business cards, name badges, and fabric transfers. Just look in the office stores at the racks of label paper for the range of projects. I began making our return address labels with Word years ago. They were simple: just our name and address. Since then Iíve learned more about how to customize labels by changing the font attributes and adding a graphic to each label. It isnít difficult, but does require a few special steps to make it successful. A note: Word offers two methods of creating labels, depending on your purpose. One uses the Mail Merge wizard to produce sheets where each label contains different content, such as mailing labels for a list of people. I do use Mail Merge often, and will discuss that in a future article. This article presents a walk- through of the process I use to customize a full page of identical labels.

The first step is choosing the right package of labels for your project. I always actually purchase the labels before starting, which can be done in an office store or on the web, in order to have the vendor name and label product number handy when I start the project. Letís say Iím going to create a calling card (Why would a retiree need a business card?) which contains name, address, phone, and email address, plus a graphic. I go to an office store and buy a business card label package from the popular company, Avery, possibly product number 8871. The package tells me that these cards are 2 inches by 3 Ĺ inches and will print ten on each page, just what I want.

Next I open Word 2007 and click the Mailings tab, then Labels. I click Options, change the vendor to Avery US Letter, and scroll to my product number. Once the number is clicked, its attributes show up on the right side of the window. Since I want to customize these labels, I do not type the text in the Address box at this time. Instead, I click New Document, which opens a document which shows the outline of the cards Iím going to create. I will create my design in the first (top left) label and copy it to the rest.

I plan to create two text boxes in this first label, one to hold the text and one the graphic. To make sure my text and graphic stay where I put them, I start by opening the drawing canvas. If you remember when Microsoft first introduced the drawing canvas, you probably also remember screaming out loud when it appeared because it took over the page, moving all objects out of position. Itís tamer now, so proceed. The canvas will be a way of grouping the two text boxes together. With the cursor in the first label, I click the Insert tab, then Shapes. I scroll to the bottom and click Drawing Canvas which opens it within the first label. I click and drag the edges of the canvas to fill the label. I click the Insert tab again, then Text box Ė Draw Text Box. I click inside the drawing canvas, hold down the left mouse button, and drag diagonally to draw a box. This box will hold the graphic, so I size it accordingly. Next, with the cursor inside the text box, I click Insert Ė Picture (or Clip Art). I find the graphic I want and drag or copy and paste it into the text box. Then I create another text box next to the first one and type my text in this box. Now I change the font, font size and text effects or colors using the commands in the Font group on the Home tab. If needed, I resize or move the text boxes to create my desired layout.

At this point, I realize that I donít want the two text boxes to have borders around them. To remove these, I select the first text box and click the Text Box Tools (Format) contextual tab - Shape Outline - No Outline. I repeat this process for the second text box, and all the borders are gone. (A contextual tab in Word 2007 or 2010 appears only when the item it relates to is selected. You must select the text box to see its tab.) Here is an example of a calling card with text box borders removed.

Now I need to copy this completed calling card label design to the other cards on the page. Since the drawing canvas has grouped the two text boxes together, I click to select the canvas, not the individual text boxes. I press Ctrl + C on the keyboard to copy the whole card to the clipboard. Now I can paste it into any number of places without having to copy it again. I click in the second cell and press Ctrl + V to paste the card, and so on until all ten cards are filled. When the page is complete, I save it to a folder on my computer for future use. Then I print one page of my cards on a blank sheet of paper so as not to waste a label sheet. I hold this print up behind a sheet of labels to make sure the design will fit correctly within each cell on the label sheet. Then I check the label package and/or printer manual for instructions for loading labels since printers differ. Just to be safe, I load only one label sheet into the printer for the first printing. If all is well, I continue with more copies.

At first reading, this sounds like a complicated process. But, as with many computer tasks, itís the attention to detail that makes for success. Give yourself a few tries, and you will be creating customized labels like a pro.

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