Graham Mayor

... helping to ease the lives of Microsoft Word users.

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Bar Coded Label Creator

As recalled in the 'Background' in the panel on the right, the featured add draws on my Print Envelopes and Labels add-in, though here of course there is no envelope function. This is not an add-in to create address labels, but to barcode products etc., For example my local hospital uses bar coding for patient records, the code, affixed to an appointment card, also providing access to the patients' car park.

The add-in can be used simply by opening the template in Word and clicking the command button on the 'Mailings' tab of the Word ribbon, but it is intended to be used as a Word add-in. The zip file linked from the end of this page contains both a self extracting zip file which will attempt to install in the Word startup folder; and the template itself which can be installed manually in the Word startup folder.

If you have not changed the preferred startup folder it can be located (in English language versions of Windows) by typing:


in the Windows Explorer Address bar and pressing Enter.  Close Word before installing to ensure that the add-in is loaded with Word.

Before running the Print Label function, setup the add-in by clicking the 'Config' button. This allows the user to select the label size (from a range of labels provided - or you can create your own).

If you have not setup the configuration, you will be promoted to do so when you click the main button.

Create a label template

I have included templates for envelopes and labels in the zip file. These can be saved to any convenient location and the paths added in the configuration dialogs. 

To create a label template, use Word's built-in label tool (see below). Select the required label format (or create a custom label) from Options, then click New Document. Save that document and apply the full path to the saved document to the configuration dialog.

Configure the add-in

The first page 'Labels' provides the options to select and configure the label. If the named barcode font shown in the illustration is available then it will be selected. The font is available to download if you don't have it. You can of course select your own preferred installed bar code font.

The font in question requires the data to be formatted as a barcode to start and end with an asterisk. This then is the default Barcode start/end character configured in the dialog. If your choice of font requires a different character then you can enter that instead.

Choose font sizes applicable to the chosen label size. The add-in does not evaluate chosen fonts to ensure they will fit in the available label space.

All configuration settings are stored in the registry of the PC in which the add-in is installed.

The second page 'Excel' sets the Excel data file from which the bar coded labels are to be created and allows the selection and positioning of the fields used on the label. You can use as many fields as the label text space allows. However the field containing the data to be converted to a bar code, must be pre-entered with the Barcode start and end characters.

This is easy enough to create in the data source by adding a new column, below shown as 'Bar'. (The illustrated data source, which American readers may recognise features US Vice Presidents) is included for experimentation).

The sub pages of the Excel configuration are shown below:

Create /Print the labels

As the heading implies, the labels can be created i.e. as a new document, or sent directly to the printer. The main dialog labels reflect the choice so you may see at a glance, the current mode. The default is to create a new document and this option is the one that is not stored between uses. A new document allows the printing of multiple copies of the same label and provides an easy reference to ensure that the various sizes and field layout are suitable before committing the result to paper.

The Main Dialog

The Results

Below are illustrations of some of the effects that can be achieved

- Click here to download the add-in




This add-in was inspired by a Word forum posting from a user who wanted to create bar coded labels from an Excel worksheet.

Mail merge would probably have done the job, but as I already had a function to print labels and envelopes, it was not a major leap to produce an add-in to create bar coded labels, using the core logic from that earlier add-in, though in practice it was not quite as simple as I had foreseen. The results are described opposite.