The first request came from a friend who needed to provide gift certificates to his clients. He wasn’t happy with the generic gift certificate stock he saw at office supply stores. He wanted something a bit more colorful that represented his business. He also had a need to use a serial number on each. This was followed by several readers asking if there was a way to personalize gift certificates. We opted to use Word’s mail merge features and a custom label the size of our gift certificate.
The process I’ll outline takes more time than our 5 minute tips, but it’s worth the effort. It can be easily chunked into 4 tasks:
- Defining what you want on your gift certificates
- Creating a custom label size
- Creating an Excel worksheet with your gift certificate data
- Creating the mail merge with the certificate info
Step 1 - What to Include on your Gift Certificate
There is no set protocol of what goes on a gift certificate. You’re pretty much free to do what you wish. One caveat is many regions do not allow you to use an expiration date. If you’re considering that field, check your local laws.
In the gift certificates I’ve created, I tend to use the same variables. The first set is constant on each certificate.
- Business or your name
- Business address info
- Logo or picture
- Gift certificate title
The second set varies based on the certificate type. For example, sometimes you may want to give a dollar amount. Other times, you want to give a specific item or service. These are also items that differ between recipients.
- Certificate number
Step 2- Defining a Custom Label Size in Word
Surprisingly, I was shocked that there wasn’t any predefined gift certificate paper available. This meant I needed to create my own. Again, you’re free to experiment. I decided I wanted to have each sheet of 8 ½ x 11 paper to have 3 gift certificates. This way they could fit in matching #10 envelopes. The other item I decided was I wanted to put some white space between each certificate to make it easier to cut the pages. A sharp paper cutter is nice for these situations, but scissors work.
Another option I’ve used is to create simple gift cards using predefined business card stock. As example, a friend of mine wanted small cards he could give away for a free coffee drink. The procedure is the same, but a different label is used.
For this tutorial, we’ll create the custom labels for 8.5 x 11 paper. These instructions also show the menu names for Word 2003. Your version may be slightly different.
To create a custom gift certificate label,
1. From the Tools menu, select Letters and Mailing and then Envelopes and Labels.
2. On the Envelopes and Labels dialog box, click the Labels tab
3. Click the label graphic in the lower right.
4. Click the arrow to the right of Label products, and select Other/Custom
5. Click the New Label… button.
6. Fill in the New Custom dialog with the size information for your certificates. (The settings in the screen snap below are for 3 certificates per page that are 6.5 inches wide.)
7. Click OK twice to save your new custom labels.
Step 3 – Creating the Excel Worksheet
Next, we’ll use Excel as the repository for our gift certificate items. The spreadsheet could contain a single column of gift certificate numbers or include multiple items to include on each certificate.
In our tutorial, we’re actually adding several columns. Each gift certificate will show:
- The giver
- The recipient’s name
- Their gift
- Gift certificate number
Again, there’s an opportunity for you to get creative here. While I’ve used items found in a coffee shop you could plug in anything from a “ski weekend” to a “1 hour back rub” to $50.
The only requirement is you want to label your Excel columns as the header information will display when we get to Word’s mail merge.
Last Updated (Friday, 18 June 2010 16:05)