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The Ultimate Envelope Printing Guide

Word can do amazing things with envelopes. You wouldn't know that if you just use the Envelope button (or the ToolsEnvelopes and Labels command). But essentially, an envelope is merely a specialized piece of paper, which most printers adeptly handle.

So the first step to understanding envelopes is to know exactly how they stick into your printer. Know that, and the rest of the steps flow naturally.

Start a new document.

This will be the document that becomes your envelope.

Chose FilePage Setup.

The Page Setup dialog box appears.

Click the Paper Size tab.

Choose the proper envelope size from the Paper Size drop-down list.

Ah-ha! The secret. Most envelopes are of the #10 size in the United States. Other sizes are listed and you can also specify a custom size.

Set Landscape orientation.

The Preview window should now show you something that looks remarkably like an envelope. But you're not there yet.

Click the Paper Source tab.

Choose Envelope manual feed from the First page list.

Or you can choose an automatic feeder, if your printer has one, or any other source. This is what tells the printer that it's getting an envelope and not some odd-sized piece of paper.

Finally, you should adjust the margins on your new "paper," to allow for proper printing of the return address and any memo.

Click the Margins tab.

Set all the margins to .5 (half an inch) all the way around the letter.
Click OK.

The document is now properly formatted.

Tip! To best see the envelope, click the Print Layout button () in the lower left corner of Word's window.

Start by typing the return address

The cursor should be properly positioned for you to type. Go ahead and set font styles as needed; you'll probably want to keep the paragraph formatting to left-justified, single-space.

Space down until you reach a spot that "looks good" for the main address.
Adjust the left margin over to about the 3-inch mark, as shown below.

Adjusting the margin provides a proper indentation for the address.

As with the return address, format the main address with the proper font style and size as needed.

This is one advantage of this method over using the Envelope dialog box: you can change the envelope text format.

Tip! If setting the margins is too strange for you, then consider merely formatting the main address using a centered paragraph; use Ctrl+E to center that information, which looks different and might even appeal to you.

Reset the margins back to the left side of the page

Tip! This can be done by pressing Ctrl+L if you've centered the main address.

Space down to type a memo field

Use the Enter key to drop the toothpick cursor down a few lines:

Be careful not to go too low! If you do, you'll see another "envelope" page on the screen. Press Backspace to remove it and return to the bottom line on your envelope.

When you're done, go ahead and print.

Your printer will demand that you insert an envelope, which is different for each printer.

Consider saving the envelope to disk if you plan on using it again. I recommend creating a special directory for this, such as c:\My Documents\Envelopes or something similar.