How to automate Word from Visual Basic to create a mail merge for mailing labels

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Article ID: 258512 - View products that this article applies to.
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This article describes how to automate Microsoft Office Word from a Microsoft Visual Basic application to create and to execute a mail merge for mailing labels.


The sample code in this article uses a tab-delimited text file for the data source. The text file has the following fields:
  • Contact_Name
  • Address
  • City
  • Postal_Code
  • Country
You can use any text editor to create the text file data source. For example, you can use Notepad.

When you create the data source, remember to separate the fields (columns) by using a tab character and to separate the records (rows) by using a carriage return. The following is an example of how the text file might appear:
Contact_Name	Address	          City	     Postal_Code      Country
Maria Anders	Obere Str. 57	 Berlin	     12209	    Germany  
Thomas Hardy	120 Hanover Sq.	 London	     WA1 1DP	    UK
Hanna Moos	Forsterstr. 57	 Mannheim     68306	    Germany
Laurence Lebihan  12, rue des Bouchers Marseille   13008	    France

Note You can use any other data source instead of the tab-delimited text file. For example, you can use a Microsoft Access database.

Step-by-step example

  1. Start a new Standard EXE project in Visual Basic. By default, a form that is named Form1 is created.
  2. Add a CommandButton to Form1.
  3. Select the Microsoft Word Object Library for the version of Word that you intend to automate, and then click OK.
  4. Copy the following code to the code window of Form1.
    Private Sub Command1_Click()
        Dim oApp As Word.Application
        Dim oDoc As Word.Document
        'Start a new document in Word
        Set oApp = CreateObject("Word.Application")
        Set oDoc = oApp.Documents.Add
        With oDoc.MailMerge
            'Insert the mail merge fields temporarily so that
            'you can use the range that contains the merge fields as a layout
            'for your labels -- to use this as a layout, you can add it
            'as an AutoText entry.
            With .Fields
                .Add oApp.Selection.Range, "Contact_Name"
                .Add oApp.Selection.Range, "Address"
                .Add oApp.Selection.Range, "City"
                oApp.Selection.TypeText "  "
                .Add oApp.Selection.Range, "Postal_Code"
                oApp.Selection.TypeText " -- "
                .Add oApp.Selection.Range, "Country"
            End With
            Dim oAutoText As Word.AutoTextEntry
            Set oAutoText = oApp.NormalTemplate.AutoTextEntries.Add("MyLabelLayout", oDoc.Content)
            oDoc.Content.Delete 'Merge fields in document no longer needed now
                                'that the AutoText entry for the label layout
                                'has been added so delete it.
            'Set up the mail merge type as mailing labels and use
            'a tab-delimited text file as the data source.
            .MainDocumentType = wdMailingLabels 
            .OpenDataSource Name:="C:\data.txt" 'Specify the data source here
            'Create the new document for the labels using the AutoText entry
            'you added -- 5160 is the label number to use for this sample.
            'You can specify the label number you want to use for the output
            'in the Name argument.
            oApp.MailingLabel.CreateNewDocument Name:="5160", Address:="", _
                AutoText:="MyLabelLayout", LaserTray:=wdPrinterManualFeed
            'Execute the mail merge to generate the labels.
            .Destination = wdSendToNewDocument
            'Delete the AutoText entry you added
        End With
        'Close the original document and make Word visible so that
        'the mail merge results are displayed
        oDoc.Close False
        oApp.Visible = True
        'Prevent save to Normal template when user exits Word
        oApp.NormalTemplate.Saved = True
    End Sub
    The Name argument for the OpenDataSource method in this code references the data source as c:\data.txt. If the data source has a different path or a different file name, modify this line in the code accordingly.
  5. Press the F5 key to run the program, and then click Command1. A mailing label document is created by using data that is taken from the data source.


For more information about how to automate Word or about how to create mail merge documents, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
258523 How to determine the number of merged records before executing a mail merge
220607 How to automate Microsoft Word to perform mail merge from Visual Basic
244219 How to automate mail merge in Word 2000 using Visual J++ (Java)
220911 How to automate Microsoft Word to perform a mail merge using Visual C++ and MFC
212034 How to create mailing labels by using Mail Merge in Word
209812 Mail merge macro fails to record label number


Article ID: 258512 - Last Review: May 14, 2007 - Revision: 5.2
  • Microsoft Office Word 2007
  • Microsoft Office Word 2003
  • Microsoft Word 2002
  • Microsoft Word 2000
  • Microsoft Word 97 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Professional Edition
kbautomation kbhowto KB258512

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