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Quick Tip: How to Create Mailing Labels for Your Holiday Cards

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Christmas is rolling around the corner rapidly and it looks like you might need to speed up those postcard mailings to make the deadline. After heading to the local grocer or ordering bundles of cards online, it’s time to dispatch them. With friends around the world, I took to my Contacts app to find all their addresses so I could send out Christmas cards as soon as possible. At first I didn’t think there was a way to print their addresses nicely, so I jumped to the good old clipboard. Then I stumbled upon something: a way to print all my friends’ information with my return address on it as well.


Step 1: Get the Names

You should send this man some mail.
You should send this man some mail.

Before you start your bulk printing process, grab a seat and some reading glasses — it’s time to begin putting all your friends on a list. Once you’ve found all the addresses, whether they’re in your tactile book you carry in your pocket or on your Mac’s digital one, make sure they’re all in the Contacts app. You can import ones from older computers (or contact cards that people send you) by clicking the File menu in Contacts and clicking “Import…” or using the shortcut Command+O.


Step 2: Make Sure Addresses are Formatted Correctly

Changing the country is vital to your success.
Changing the country is vital to your success.

Before you start using your Command+P shortcut and wasting paper, remember that international addresses are different than U.S. (or your home country) ones so you’ll need to modify things a bit. (I printed four labels for friends in the U.K. before I noticed the formatting was off.)

Begin by selecting the person’s card and clicking Edit. Scroll down to the address area and click the Home button, unless it’s a work address or something. Hover over the Change Address Format pop-out and find the country that the person resides in. When you’re finished, click Done and repeat for all your foreign friends.


Step 3: Load the Paper, Connect the Printer, and Start Printing

Printing a label for Apple Inc.
Printing a label for Apple Inc.

Once everything in your address book is in order, plug in your USB printer and make sure everything is running properly. Also, don’t have only one sheet of paper loaded because Contacts has a printing bug in which it sends a blank sheet before the real label.

Ready for sending? Select the contact you wish to print (or multiple by holding down the Command key) and then click File > Print, or Command+P. If you selected more than one person, the number of addresses will be displayed in the bottom left corner of the Print window and you can select the number of copies or range of pages at the top as you would for any other document.


Tweaking Things

There’s a bit more customization available if you have special envelopes or want to change the color of the text. When you’re in the Print screen, click the Show Details in the bottom left to bring up options for the layout, label, and orientation.

Change things up with pictures and crazy fonts.
Change things up with pictures and crazy fonts.

In the Layout tab, you can select the envelope size by clicking the drop-down menu beside Layout. You can provide your own dimensions, too, if need be. As for presets, there are some international, North American, and Japanese ones available.

The Label tab lets you select which address to print on the label — if you have a work or place other than home on your contact listing. There’s also a drop-down to select the address of the recipient and a sorting option if you’re doing a batch. Beside the Print text there is a very important option titled Country. Check it to show your country on the label, which is vital to your letter should something go wrong while it’s en route. You can also check the box titled “Except my country” which will only show international ones. If you want to make things fancy, change the color of the font with the OS X Color Picker, switch the font and add a crazy image in the background. All the options are there for this.

Last up is the Orientation tab, which simply lets you switch the orientation of the label. This is useful for if you want things in portrait but generally isn’t used.

Before ending the tweaking section, it’s important you know that mailing labels alone (not for envelopes) can be printed by selecting the Mailing Labels option from the Style menu in the Print screen.


Send ‘Em Off!

Hopefully, this Quick Tip helped you speed up your Christmas card process. If it didn’t, tell us how you usually do things — maybe you prefer to hand-write all your labels to maintain originality? Merry Christmas!

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