How to make perfect barcodes for Avery label sheets in Microsoft Word

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Microsoft develops the industry-standard word processor while Avery manufactures industry-standard labels and label sheets, both for use at home, in the office and in industrial environments. Labels are often created to contain barcodes only. As part of Avery’s service, you can download label templates that are not yet supported by Microsoft Word.

Microsoft Word is brilliant with text but its layout capabilities are limited and it lacks a built-in barcode generator. A solution could be to use barcode fonts, but there are multiple caveats with using them, which is why industry leading barcode creation apps don’t work with them:

  • They are very limited in use — for instance, 2D barcode fonts don’t exist
  • Microsoft Word may adjust the character spacing and make the barcode unreadable
  • For each barcode type you need a different font and they’re often expensive
  • Many barcode standards require you to calculate a check digit which you need to add before your barcode will be recognized by barcode scanners such as the IntelliScanner Pro as well as area imagers and portable data collectors.

The best, therefore, is to use an industry standard barcode generator like Barcode Producer which creates barcodes as high-resolution images or vector art.

Barcode Producer’s built-in Automator module makes it very easy to quickly batch-create unique barcodes that fully comply with industry standards without any need for barcode fonts on your computer.

It is very easy to populate an Avery label sheet template in Microsoft Word with a folder full of barcodes produced by Barcode Producer’s Automator.

In a nutshell:

  1. Select or download the Avery label sheet that corresponds with the one you purchased
  2. Create the barcodes and transfer them to the sheet in Word
  3. Print the label sheet.

And here's the step-by-step version:

Loading an Avery label sheet from Word’s built-in templates collection

For this tutorial, we assume you are viewing your Word document in Print Layout.

Step 1

With your Word document open, go to the top of the screen and click Mailings > Labels > Options. In older versions, you’ll find the Options setting in Tools at the top of the page.

Step 2

Select Avery from the drop-down menu next to Label Vendors. Then scroll to find your Avery product number, click OK and OK again. You can make the gridlines for the labels visible by clicking View > Gridlines.

Mailing Label Options screen in Microsft Word
Find your Avery product number in the Label Options screen.

Step 3

You can now drag barcodes from the folder you saved them in to the labels on the sheet.

Step 4

You may adjust both indentation and paragraph spacing for each barcode to appear nicely centered both horizontally and vertically.

Label paragraph spacing in Microsoft Word
Adjust indentation and paragraph spacing.

Loading an Avery label sheet that is not in Word’s template collection

If your product number isn't available in the list, you’ll need to download the appropriate label sheet template from the Avery website.

 A label template on the Avery website

Open it in Word and save it as a document.

Open and save the Avery template in Microsoft Word
Open the template and save it as a doc.

The template downloaded from Avery is actually a table with rounded rectangles drawn on top of it. Before you can add barcodes to each label, you may need to click Layout > Selection Pane. You will see a whole list of "AutoShapes". Click Hide All and the AutoShapes should disappear from view, revealing the table cells underneath.

AutoShapes in the Selection Pane in Microsoft Word
AutoShapes in the Selection Pane

Creating your barcode labels in Barcode Producer

If you’re going to print only one label, enter the characters in the Content field. When finished, click the Save button and select Save As... EPS or TIFF. EPS is the preferred output format for barcodes because it ensures best results.

Save your barcode as EPS, TIFF, or PDF
Save your barcode as EPS, TIFF, or PDF.

Multiple labels workflow

Step 1

If you’re going to print multiple labels at once, your output (DPI, Factor and Bar Height) for printing from Word is best left at the default settings. Click the Automator icon.

Step 2

You can manually enter barcode numbers by clicking the New Entry button and filling in the number in the Barcode Value panel. However, you can also batch-enter numbers in Automator by clicking the Add Numeric Range button. In the From field type your start value and in the End field your end value, and in the Step field the interval. Then check the Add Prefix/Suffix checkbox if you want to add the same prefix/suffix to all labels. Click OK.

Barcode Automator Numeric Range
Barcode Automator Numeric Range

Finally, you can also import a text file containing one number per line and Automator will automatically load the barcode numbers in the Barcode Value panel.

Step 3

From the Output File Format dropdown menu, select your preferred output format (EPS, PDF or TIFF).

Barcode Automator output file format
Barcode Automator output file formats

Step 4

Click the Generate button and select a destination folder from the window. Your barcodes will be created in the folder you selected. For best print results, select EPS or TIFF.

Transferring your barcodes to the label sheet

If you created only one barcode, you can directly drag-and-drop the image in an empty label cell on the Avery sheet template from the output folder. If the barcode isn’t centered in the label cell, you may need to adjust both indentation and paragraph spacing.

Label paragraph spacing in Microsoft Word
Adjust indentation and paragraph spacing.

If you created multiple barcodes, you will need to drag-and-drop each barcode image to an empty label cell on the Avery sheet template one-by-one. Again, adjustment to indentation and paragraph spacing may be necessary.

Printing your label sheet

Load the correct Avery label sheet in your printer. In Word, check whether your page setup is correctly set up (page size, etc.). Then click the Print… button and leave “Print PostScript over text” unchecked.

Your barcodes will now print perfectly on your Avery label sheet.

Barcode Producer for Mac/PC creates perfect barcodes for retail packages, labels, books, packages, and everything else.

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