How To Mail-Merge Presorted List in InDesign

Creating a mail-merge mailing from a Presorted mailing list is not as difficult as you’d think.

Let’s say you have a mailing of, say, 500 pieces, and you want to mail it the most efficient way, but you want to have control over the addressing.

The first thing you need is a Presorted list. This is your basic spreadsheet mailing list that has been run through the Postal Systems software to correct address, fix ZIP codes, etc. It will also add the Option Endorsement line and the Intelligent Barcode. These are important for Automated mailing and yields the lowest cost. Typically, this function is performed by a professional mailing house.

Start with the Database

Once you get the list back from the mail house, you will see a bunch of files that look like this:

Files from Mail House
Files from Mail House

 

I found the best way to open and use the database file (PxALL2.CSV) was with LibreOffice and not Excel.

First, get rid of all columns you don’t need. I left Addressee, Salutation, City State Zip, Endorsement and Barcode (Column G).

Presorted .CSV Mail List Opened in LibreOffice
Presorted .CSV Mail List Opened in LibreOffice

Now that I have the list ready to go, I want to perform the mail-merge in Adobe InDesign. This works just like it does in Microsoft Word.

Make Addresses in Adobe InDesign

In InDesign, the mail-merge functions are found under Window>>Utilities.

First, select the .CSV database and the Data Merge window will display all the field headers you added to your .CSV file. Then, simply drag each item into place on your document, select your font and size and then onto the hard part.

In order to get the barcode to look like a barcode you need the right font. The font can found at the Post Office website, found at:

https://ribbs.usps.gov/onecodesolution/download.cfm

Select:

uspsFontsNonAFP-1.4.0.zip

In here you will find the TrueType fonts. I used the “Standard” version.

On a Mac, you can add the font using FontBook.

Now, back in InDesign, create the Merged document. Try it with one record first.

Mail-Merge Document in Adobe InDesign (Mac)
Mail-Merge Document in Adobe InDesign (Mac)

Now, you have an addressed piece with all the necessary mailing stuff.

Merged Document with all the Postal Marks in InDesign
Merged Document with all the Postal Marks in InDesign

 

That line of upper and lower case letters is the barcode!

Highlight that line and apply the USPS font and you’ll see it turn into some lines.

Apply the USPS font to the Intelligent Barcode
Apply the USPS font to the Intelligent Barcode

If you turn on “Show Hidden Characters” you’ll see that this isn’t quite right yet.

USPS Font with Show Hidden Characters Selected
USPS Font with Show Hidden Characters Selected

Simple, change the case of the font to UPPERCASE, by going to Type>>Change Case>>Uppercase, while the line is highlighted. Turn off Hidden Characters and you will see:

Proper Presorted Mailing Address with Intelligent Barcode and Option Endorsement Line
Proper Presorted Mailing Address with Intelligent Barcode and Option Endorsement Line

To apply the correct barcode style to all your labels, create a Paragraph Style and apply it to your base mail-merge template document. I created a style called “barcode” and selected the USPS font and case as All Caps.

Paragraph Style to Automatically Apply the Proper Barcode Style
Paragraph Style to Automatically Apply the Proper Barcode Style

After I did my “Create Merged Document…” I got exactly what I needed and was ready to go. The Post Office confirmed that my barcodes worked as intended. Always confirm!

Presorted Mailing Label Properly Configured and Ready to Mail
Presorted Mailing Label Properly Configured and Ready to Mail

 

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