Make holiday letter writing more joyful with Word templates

Applies to
Microsoft Word 2002
Microsoft Outlook® 2002

It’s that time of year again, and you may be wondering how you will ever find the time to send out your holiday cards. Fear no more! Microsoft Office can help you create and mail a holiday letter in no time, right from home. Eliminate some of the holiday stress with Office XP, keep those important people in your life up to date, and spend a little more time with your family and friends this year.

The following tips will help guide you through the steps to get a creative, fun, and festive letter like the one below sent out quicker than you can say "Happy New Year."

Holiday letter.

Get a jump start with a premade holiday template

You need to write a letter, so begin in Word. To help jump start your work, Microsoft has collected holiday-related templates specifically for you. Grab one from the Microsoft Office Online Templates Web site, which contains hundreds of templates for all your needs.

To download a template from Microsoft Office Online Templates

  1. In Word, on the File menu, click File. In the New Document task pane, click Templates on to go to the Microsoft Office Online Web site. (If you have not visited this site before, you may need to accept the terms and conditions of the site before accessing the content.)

    Task Pane with Templates link
  2. On the Microsoft Office Online Templates Web site, click For Holidays, located under the heading Holidays and Occasions, and then click the holiday season you want.
  3. As you look through the holiday-oriented templates, you can preview those that sound appropriate by clicking the title. When you find one that best fits your needs and tastes, click Download Now to open the document for editing and to add your own text.

    Template in Word.
  4. To save the document to your computer, on the File menu, click Save As. Enter a file name for your document and then click Save. Be sure to note where the document is being saved for future use.
  5. You can further customize your letter by adding borders to the template. On the Format menu, click Borders and Shading. On the Page Border tab, click the Art pull-down menu and click to select the border style you like and click OK.

    Add border dialog.
  6. Letter with Border.
  7. Add the content of your letter, and remember to save changes when you’re finished. For a fresh look, try formatting the content into multiple columns. On the Format menu, click Columns, or click the Columns button on the toolbar.

Make it your own with festive visuals

Once you have written your letter in Word, use your creativity and add some holiday cheer with graphics. In addition to the clip art that comes with Office, Microsoft offers resources at Clip Art and Media, a premier site for finding royalty-free professional graphics and photographs as well as other visual elements and audio clips to enhance your projects.

To download clips from Clip Art and Media

  1. Visit Clip Art and Media by following the link on the Microsoft Office Online Web site. Enter a keyword or phrase in the Search box, and then click the arrow.
  2. Choose an image. Click the image to open a preview window. The preview window allows you to see the image in greater detail, and provides other information, such as file type and size. Click the Download button (small red arrow located below each image) and follow the prompts to complete the download. When the download is complete, the Microsoft Clip Organizer will open automatically to display your downloaded image.
  3. To insert this image into your letter, drag it from the Clip Organizer to the letter.

    Holiday clip inserted into document.

Another great tool for inserting clip art is the Clip Art Task Pane. To learn more about working with clip art, read Finding More Clips Online and Organize Media Clips in Office XP.

Personalize it

Now you can personalize the letter by using the Mail Merge Wizard in Word to add the names from your Microsoft Outlook contacts. The new Mail Merge task pane clearly describes and walks you through each step of the process without leaving your document.

Mail Merge Wizard task pane.

To use the Mail Merge Wizard to add names from your Outlook contacts

  1. On the Tools menu, point to Letters and Mailings, and then click Mail Merge Wizard.
  2. In the Mail Merge task pane, select Letters, and then click Next: Starting document at the bottom of the task pane.
  3. Select Use the Current Document, and then click Next: Select recipients.
  4. Select Select from Outlook Contacts, and then click Choose Contacts Folder.
  5. Click the appropriate contact folder, and then click OK. Choose recipients for the letter by selecting the text box, and then click OK. Click Next: Write your letter.
  6. Finish editing your letter, and add recipient information by clicking the item you want to personalize (for example, an address block or greeting line), fill in the information you want to insert in the dialog box, and click OK, then click Next: Preview your letters.
  7. You can preview the letter for each intended recipient if you want, or click Next: Complete the merge.
  8. Complete the process by printing your customized letters by clicking Print in the Mail Merge task pane.
  9. Remember to save your letter. Then close the document and proceed to the next section to print your envelopes.

Ease the workload by printing your own envelopes and return address labels

If you’re only mailing a few letters, Word makes it easy to print envelopes one at a time. For larger mailings, you can use the Mail Merge Wizard to print envelopes using the address information from your Outlook contacts or other data source, enabling you to address and print all the envelopes at once. In addition, the Mail Merge Wizard can even help you add graphics to your envelopes or print your own return address labels.

To print envelopes using your Microsoft Outlook Contacts

  1. Open a blank document in Word.
  2. On the Tools menu, point to Letters and Mailings, and then click Mail Merge Wizard.
  3. In the Mail Merge task pane, under Select Document Type, select Envelopes and then click Next: Starting document.
  4. Under Select Starting Document, select Change Document Layout.
  5. Under Change document layout, click Envelope Options. Choose the envelope size and address font options you want, and then click OK. Click Next: Select recipients.
  6. Under Select Recipients, click Select from Outlook contacts, or search for an existing list by clicking Use an Existing List and Browse.
  7. Click Choose Contacts Folder.
  8. In the Select Contacts List folder dialog box, click on the contact list you want, and then click OK. All the contacts in the folder appear in the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box.
  9. Select the names you want to include, and click OK. Click Next: Arrange your envelope.
  10. Point the cursor where you would like the recipient’s name and address to appear on the envelope. Click Address Block. Choose the format you would like the name and address to appear. Click Next: Preview your Envelopes.
  11. You can preview all envelopes to make additional formatting changes you would like or delete recipients. When finished click Next: Complete the Merge.
  12. If you’d like to add personal notes you can edit individual envelopes. Click Edit Individual Envelopes.
  13. When you are finished click Print. Select All. Click OK. Important: be sure to select the correct printing options for envelopes before clicking OK to print.

 Note   In the Mail Merge Wizard, your return address is omitted by default. If you want to print your return address on the envelope, add your return address to your envelope document in Step 4 or Step 5.

Avoid a tired tongue and long lines at the post office by printing your postage

To save even more time, visit the Office Marketplace Web site, where you can print online postage. This new form of postage contains digitized mail-processing information and security-related data, and is held to U.S. postal service requirements to help maintain security and appropriate interface with Postal Service operations.

Congratulations! You have completed your holiday letters. Happy holidays!