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Using customized labels can help make your holiday cards look more modern and festive. In this article, you will learn how to make a group in your address book for holiday cards and print address labels based on that group in the color and style of your choice, including a photo.

Create a Holiday Group
To get started, open the Contacts app on your Mac and choosing New Group from the File menu, or by clicking on the + sign at the bottom and choosing New Group. Type a name for the group like Holidays 2013, and press Enter.

Add Contacts to your Holiday Group
Then, click on All Contacts so you can see everyone in your address book.  Add contacts to the group by dragging them to the Holiday 2013 group on the left. This will isolate the people you want to print labels for from the rest of your contacts.

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Review and Modify Cards if Necessary
After all the recipients are in your holiday group, review the cards in the group to see if any need to be changed. For example, you may want to change a card to include someone’s title, or to make a label to address a couple or family. If necessary, click the Edit button at the bottom of the card, make the changes, and click Done.

Purchase Mailing Labels
Now that your holiday group is ready to be printed, you will need to purchase mailing labels. Avery is the most common brand, most other brands indicate their corresponding Avery label number. Choosing a label that has a 4 digit number simplifies everything because it can be used in printer settings (as explained later in this article), to make sure the labels are printed correctly. Also, be sure to purchase the correct type of label for inkjet vs. laser printers. 

Choose and Crop a Photo
If you will be using a picture in your label, find and crop it if necessary. Cropping the photo to a square aspect ratio is recommended because it will be displayed in a small square placeholder. To do this with iPhoto, click on the photo to select it, click the Edit button on the bottom right, and click on the Crop button on the right. Check Constrain, and then choose Square from the pop-up menu. Crop the image by dragging the corners and click Done. Then, drag the image to the desktop so it will be easy to locate in the next step.

Customize your Print Settings

Now you are ready to customize the labels with an image, and choose a font, size and color for the text. Click on the holiday group so only those are printed, and choose File > Print from the main menu, or use the keyboard shortcut Command & P. Then, click on the Show Details button on the bottom.

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Change the Style from Envelopes to Mailing Labels. On the Layout tab, choose the Avery label number that corresponds to the one you purchased.

if you are sending any cards internationally, click on the Label tab, and check the check boxes for “Country” and “Except my country”. Choose the color for the text by clicking on the square next to Color.

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Choose an image by clicking on the Set button adjacent to Image. Click on Desktop on the left, and choose the image you cropped and dragged to the desktop in previous steps.

Choose a font by clicking the Set button across from Font. Apple Chancery can be a cheerful yet legible choice. Although the font list is in alphabetical order, Apple Chancery is at the bottom. Also, you can  adjust the size of the font using the controls on the right.

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Review and Print
If you want one last good look at how the labels will print, click the PDF button at the bottom left and choose “Open PDF in Preview”. If  any changes are needed, correct the necessary cards in the holiday group. This step is optional but recommended, though you’ll have to repeat the steps where you customize your print settings if you make any changes.

Once your review of the labels is complete, place the labels in the printer tray (face down with most printers), and print them. Customizing and printing your own address labels can be efficient and fun!

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14 Responses to “How-to: Print customized address labels for holiday card envelopes”

  1. What if you’ve used part of a label sheet already and want to skip the first n labels when printing? It would be so nice if Apple expanded this label-printing functionality in Contacts.

    • Mark says:

      Be VERY careful if you attempt to do that – I’ve seen printer drums/rollers ruined when part-used label sheets are fed in. Either the labels themselves or the thin sticky border on the rest of the page attaches itself to part of the printer and makes quite a mess. The cost of replacing those parts is much greater than chucking out one part-used sheet of labels.

  2. GREAT! Just looking for how to do this!

  3. Great if you have a printer with label styles as a preset. Otherwise, you’ll have to create your own custom size, like with a Lexmark for example.

  4. Hey! I used to live right next to Rue Robespierre in Montreuil! Loooool

  5. …is this what this site has come to?

  6. A glossed-over step in this process is how to get Contacts to print labels with the information I want. For example how can I get a spouse’s name to print without creating a separate 3rd card for the couple? Anyone have any suggestions on how to do this – something that has been missing for several Address Book/Contacts releases now?

    • Diana Stewart says:

      Did you find a solution to this? I tried making the Company line the “Family” name, but now it is printing the contact name and then another line with the Family.

  7. Really helpful, thank you :)

  8. This is great…I’ve been doing this for years. These are great step-by-step directions. However, my quest for about ten years now is HOW TO PRINT RETURN ADDRESS LABELS from the Contacts app.?
    Why is this so difficult, and why has no one at Apple or otherwise given instructions for a solution? The closest I have come was to discover a brief instruction from an eHow article, that was about three sentences and just stopped after advising that there is a “group” feature in the Contacts app. But there were no further instructions as to what to do from that point.
    The thing is that I don’t want to type my name and address 70 times to send out Christmas cards with my return address label.
    We put a man on the moon. Let’s figure out how to print return address labels, without the repetitive work, Apple.
    Thanks.

  9. Thanks for the great short tutorial — just what I needed. Merry Chrismas!

  10. Lisa Neuman says:

    I have been fooling around with printing labels from address book directly and have tried the app Labels & Addresses that Mac is touting. Problem is, I am getting triplicates of each address because they are in my Google, On My Mac and email name accounts, so I am getting all three printed. In other words, I am getting 600 labels instead of 200 because 3 labels are printing for each recipient. Apple address book combines contacts into one view from these sources but when printing it pulls each one????? Help!!!

  11. Just what I needed! Now to remember how to find you again the next time I need to print labels. Thanks a bunch!