Using the built in PostNet barcoding features of Microsoft Word

Mail merging is a process whereby merge fields interspersed through your standard or static text are replaced from a data source when printed. This feature allows you to send a one document to many recipients, with the personalized details for each.

We are quite often asked if our B-Coder software can insert PostNET bar codes into a Word document or in a mail merge within Word. The answer is “Yes” however Word already has built in support for this type of functionality therefore you do not need any additional software to accomplish this. You just need to know how to use the features that are already in Word.

Use the following steps to insert a bar code field into a mail merge document:

First, select Tools > Mail Merge

(Figure 1: Starting a new Mail Merge)

A Wizard called the Mail Merge Helper will appear. The first step is to tell it which sort of document you wish to create. If you select “Mailing Labels” or “Envelopes” you will be presented with a nice button for inserting PostNet bar codes, but for other types of documents you must modify the merge field manually to insert PostNet bar codes. More on that later. For now, simply select “Form Letters”:

(Figure 2: The Mail Merge Helper)

You can choose to use the currently open Word document or to open a new document.

(Figure 3: Choosing a document to merge to)

If you want to use an Excel Spreadsheet (or an Access database) as the source of data for your merge fields, choose the Open Data Source … option, under the Get Data Source item.

(Figure 4: Opening a Link to Excel)

This will open up a file navigation dialog box shown below. Use this dialog box to point to the correct Excel Spreadsheet file (or Access database) that contains the merge field information.

(Figure 5: Selecting the right Excel Spreadsheet)

When merging with an Excel Spreadsheet you will be offered a choice of named ranges – if any exist – or the entire spreadsheet. (If you are merging with an Access Database you will be offered a choice of which table (or query) you wish to use a source for your merge fields.)

(Figure 6: Choosing a Range from a Spreadsheet)

The merge fields should appear in a temporary toolbar in Word, corresponding to the field names in the Excel Spreadsheet. Click on it, and a drop-down selection of merge fields appears. Just select a field and it is inserted into the document.

(Figure 7: A dropdown selection of merge fields to choose from)

In this example, the merge fields from the spreadsheet have been inserted in between the standard text. Once merged, the correct value of each record will be substituted where the merge fields are located.

(Figure 8: Mixing your static text with the merge fields)

Place the cursor in the document where you want the bar code to appear and insert a barcode field into the document. To do this, select “Field…” from the INSERT menu in Word then choose the Barcode field and click OK to insert the bar code.

(Figure 9: Manually inserting the barcode field)

You should now be looking at the word Error! where your bar code ought to be. Press Alt + F9 to toggle the field codes so that your document now looks something like figure 10:

(Figure 10: Displaying the field codes)

Place your cursor in front of the *:

(Figure 11: Positioning your cursor)

Click on Insert Merge Field and select your zip code field. The field should now read:


Press Alt + F9 again to toggle the field codes off and you should now see the bar code based on your first record.

Now that the Main document is prepared, you are ready for the merge. If you don’t want to use all the records in the SelectClient table then you can use the Query Options in the Mail Merge Helper.

(Figure 12: Mail Merge Helper Query Options)

Clicking on Query Options brings up a dialog which lets you choose a part of your table. In this example, we are limiting the mail merge only to those whose suburb is “Chatswood”.

(Figure 13: Refining the records which will be merged into the document)

The Mail Merge helper will now let you output the result in a variety of ways. In order to preview your document before printing you should select Merge to: New document. This will create a single document containing all the letters (or Labels).

(Figure 14: This creates one document containing each merge instance)

After you complete the merge your document should look something like this:

(Figure 15: The Post-Merge document)

If the above technique does not do what you want exactly, you might want to try our B-Coder Pro software. You can download a fully functional demo version from our web site here.

B-Coder Pro comes with several Word macros that make the job of adding bar codes to documents extremely easy.

Contact Us