The Mail Merge function of Microsoft Word can be used to make herbarium specimen labels from data stored in excel spreadsheets. One advantage is that during digitization of specimens the data from the label spreadsheet can be uploaded to a specimen database to save a step.

  1. Open the .docx file and go to the ‘Mailings’ tab
  2. Go to ‘Select Recipients’ and ‘Use an Existing List’
  3. Choose your excel file and select the table (sheet) that holds your data (make sure ‘First row of data contains column headers’ is checked)
  4. Under ‘Mailings’, you can select ‘Finish & Merge’, ‘Edit Individual Documents’, ‘All’. This will create a new Word document of the labels which you can edit further (e.g. make duplicate labels, but any changes will not be saved to the excel spreadsheet).

The .docx file can edited and modified. The current file allows for 6 labels per page. Importantly, every field name must match exactly the column name in the excel sheet. Right click and select ‘Edit Field’ to change its name; also text can be inserted before or after the field under ‘Field options’. Sometimes, changing the ‘Styles’ is a better approach for font changes like font size. To keep the label data together so it is not broken up by a new column or new page, select the text and under ‘Paragraph’, ‘Line and Page Breaks’, select ‘Keep with next’ and ‘Keep lines together’. Also, the merge function imports only the plain text from the excel sheet and strips any formatting done in excel.

Labels for packets can also be made, with the label in the bottom center. This label packet can be used for bryophytes, fungi, or any other small specimen.

Annotation or determination labels can also be made using the mail merge function. Below are two files for making determination labels.