Nebraska Department of Education NDE HomepageNDE Directory Search

Procedure for using a .txt file, downloaded from the NDE Web site, for (mailing) labels in Word

NDE can not provide technical support in using the data obtained from the Directory search. This guide is simply a courtesy for visitors who wish to import a text file (.txt) for creating mailing labels. NDE does not endorse Microsoft Word product over others, but the process is explained here due to it is widely used standard software, and other software is similar in functionality. The software is also commonly used by Nebraska Department of Education.  This guide assumes the reader has a basic level of computing experience and is using Microsoft Word 97 or higher.  Because of the numerous versions of software, this guide may not be applicable to your version of software or operating system.

These steps provide the basic ingredients in creating a Word Mail Merge document for labels. There are a number of additional features that can be used and explored at your convenience.

Open a blank document in Microsoft Word and follow these steps:

Step 1. Click on the menu option Tools then Mail Merge. You will see the list of the three steps needed to create labels or other merge documents.

Step 2. Click on Create. The drop-down list will ask you for the type of document you want: Mailing Labels, etc. Click on the appropriate type. The following directions assume that you are choosing Mailing Labels and you will have to modify some steps if your choose otherwise.

Step 3. You will then see a message box regarding the document window. If you have just opened Word and have a blank document, click on Active Window, otherwise click on New Document Window.

Step 4. Go to the second step on the Mail Merge Helper screen, Data Source, and click on Get Data, then Get Data Source.

Step 5.When the Open Data Source dialog box appears, the bottom left box may be displaying Files of Type Word Documents. Click on its down arrow, scroll to Text Files or All Files. Your file name should be displayed; if not, be sure that the path you have chosen points to the correct directory where you saved the file. Once it is in view, double click on the file name to incorporate it into the Word document that you are creating.

Step 6. You will then see a message telling you that Word needs to set up the Main Document. Click the Set Up Main Document button.

Step 7. If you chose Mailing Labels in Step 2, you will see a variety of label types in the drop-down list box. Click on the correct label type. You may change the Label Products default and any other information that you need to match the set up with the type of labels that you want to use. If you chose something other than Mailing Labels in Step 2, you will be given an appropriate dialog box that will enable Word to determine what layout to use for the data.

Step 8. After you click OK in Step 8, you will see a Create Labels dialog box. Click on the Insert Merge Fields button. Since the file you downloaded does not contain column headings, you will have to remember the data you imported and insert the fields appropriately.

Step 9.Click on the field that you want on the first line of the label (Administrator, Name, etc). When you are creating this label, you must enter it as if you were manually typing in the data, i.e. press RETURN or ENTER to begin a new line where needed. Type a comma and a space after you chose the field <<CITY>> and a space before you choose <<STATE>>. Type a space on the same line before you choose <<ZIP>>. When you are finished, click OK.

NOTE: If you make a mistake or prematurely exit from this screen, you have the opportunity to change this format. Next to the Main Document button on the Mail Merge Helper screen there is now an Edit button. Click on it and on the name of the file. You will then see the generic fields on a page and can place spaces, punctuation, line feeds or other characters any where on the label. You can click on the Insert Merge Field and add additional fields. You can delete a field the same way you delete any other Word text. Return to the Mail Merge Helper screen by clicking on Tools, Mail Merge again.

Step 10. On the Mail Merge Helper screen, click the Merge button in Step 3. A Merge dialog box will appear showing the default values of Merge to New Document, Records to be Merge: All, When Merging. You may change any of these that you want. It is always safer to merge to a new document so that you can see what the labels will look like before you send hundreds of them to the printer. You can then print the resulting document once the labels appear acceptable and the blank labels have been placed in the printer. You can save the file in the formatted text and print it at a later time. You can save the master document and use it repeatedly by changing the name of the file chosen in Step 5.

Step 11. If you want to choose only some of the records, such as a few counties or particular zip codes, you can filter the labels that are created. Before you click Merge in Step 11, click on the button on the bottom right, Query Options.

On the Query Options dialog box, there are two tabs, Filter and Sort. Click on Filter. Using the top drop-down list box on the left, you need to pick the field for which you want to select some, but not all, records; it may be County or Zip or any other field that is in your text file. The middle section requires that you select the relationship of the field to the specific value, such as equals, greater than, not equal, not blank, etc. The right section requires that you type in the value for comparison. For example, you can choose COUNTY on the left, EQUAL TO in the middle, and LAKE on the right. You can type in only one value in the rightmost box. If you want additional values, go to the far right of the next line and choose OR. If you want a second county, COUNTY, then EQUAL TO, then Lancaster. Continue until you have a statement for every county that you want to include. The OR infers that a label should be printed if the county on the spreadsheet matches any one of the values you typed.

An AND connector infers that a label should be printed if the values on the row of the spreadsheet match all of the values you typed. For example. if you want to do a mailing to only 68502 zip codes in Lancaster county, you would choose county equal to Lancaster AND zip code equal to 68502. Then you would get a label if and only if the school/district was in Lancaster county and its zip code is 68502. If any entities had the same zip code but are in another county, they would not be included. If any entities had the same county but not zip 68502, they would not be included.

When you are finished click OK on the QUERY OPTIONS page and again on the Mail Merge page.

For questions or suggestions regarding this system, contact the NDE Helpdesk, 
e-mail:,  phone:  (888) 285-0556