How to Turn a List of Addresses into Excel Spreadsheet & Use for a Labels Mail Merge

How to Turn a List of Addresses into Excel Spreadsheet & Use for a Labels Mail Merge featured image
(Last Updated On: April 22, 2016)

MailMerges can save an awful lot of time when it comes to writing down and printing addresses, but there is often an issue in the way addresses were collected that make the way we have them written down quite tricky to work with.

If you have a list, or spreadsheet, of addresses, often you’ll have the name in one column, and the address in the other, with each line separated by commas. Or you’ll have the whole lot with commas.

If this happens, it makes it a little tricky to perform a standard mail merge with Microsoft Word (note it is possible to set rules for this, but the following is probably going to be easier!).

If you have addresses in the form of:

name, address 1, town, county, postcode

name 2, address 1, town, county, postcode, country

The following Excel formulas will get you from this list to an Excel spreadsheet you can mail merge from with Word.

Step One – Start a New Excel Spreadsheet

Open a brand new excel spreadsheet and copy / paste in your list of names and addresses into the first sheet.

Step Two – Start a New Sheet

At the bottom of the spreadsheet, it should read “sheet 1” you want to press the “+” symbol and add a sheet 2 – this is where we’ll be building the address spreadsheet.

Step Three – Put Headers into Sheet Two

Put the following in the top of each column: Name, Address 1, Address 2, Adress 3, Address 4, Address 5, Address 6

Note you may have more than 6 or 7 in the address, but if you do, there’s a chance your labels won’t fit anyway! Also, you can try to be clever and put “City” “State” “Postcode” etc, but only if your addresses are very regular, and all in the same country – mine usually are not!

Step Four – Import The Content Using Formulas

In the “name” part, we want everything up to the first comma (Mr and Mrs X, Some House, Some street…), so in the box under “Name” we enter the following formula:

=LEFT(Sheet1!A1,(FIND(",",Sheet1!A1,1)-1))

Then we drag down the little right hand bit to apply this to every cell which has a corresponding address over on sheet 1.

In the next column, we want everything between comma one and comma two. The formula for this is as follows:

=SUBSTITUTE(MID(SUBSTITUTE(","&Sheet1!B1&REPT(" ",6),",",REPT(",",255)),2*255,255),",","")

In the next row, we want to do the same, but with the third comma (and so on), so we change the 2* part to be 3*, as follows:

=SUBSTITUTE(MID(SUBSTITUTE(","&Sheet1!B1&REPT(" ",6),",",REPT(",",255)),3*255,255),",","")

We repeat this, substituting 3 fo r4, 4 for 5, and so on, until we have entries for each of our columns.

Step Five – Save Your Excel Workbook & Complete Your Mail Merge

Save your Excel workbook, then do the mailmerge in Word, adding each of the addresses into your rules (i.e. setup name as name, address 1, address 2 and etc). If you don’t know how to do this, try Googling!

2 thoughts on “How to Turn a List of Addresses into Excel Spreadsheet & Use for a Labels Mail Merge

  1. Great article and very useful. But I have a question.

    Once I have now got sheet 2 with all of the aspects of the address lines in columns of their own, is it then possible to dispense with or get rid of the list of addresses on sheet 2 ? So that essentially I end up with one list only which has all of the elements of the addresses in columns of their own?

    Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi,

      It is possible, if you save Sheet 2 as a CSV (which flattens this) and then re-open this file in Excel and save as an XLS (or whatever version you are using) file.

      CSV saves only the current active sheet. You need to do it in the manner described above to output the actual data, rather than the formula.

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