navigation  header

Waste not, want not - database & labels trickery concocted by Cindy O'Hora

I received this query for assistance...

"i use avery 5267(4 x 20) return address. would like to know how to start on label 27, instead of turning the sheet around or starting a new sheet and wasting those in the middle..."

I hate to waste those expensive labels, too. I have devised a process to "trick" the computer into cooperating.

Before I explain my plan, let me point out that the easiest solution is to load the partially used sheet of labels in the reverse so that the end with labels is now the starting point for the printer. If you are lucky, there will be exactly as many labels left on the sheet as you need.

Usually this is not the case. This leaves some number of unused labels in the middle of the sheet. I have discovered that these can be very handy for labeling books, video tapes, CDs, or other items my kids take to school. I write on them by hand, but at least I don't waste a good label!

Please note that any time I tweak my database - I do it to a copy. Highlight the icon of the database file.
Go File ... Duplicate or command ... d. Once I've printed my labels, I delete the obsolete file.

Let the trickery begin:

1. Open your copy file of the database.

2. Switch to List view. Go Layout ... List

3. Highlight the records you do want to print.

4. Go Organize ... Hide the unselected.

5. Count the number of "label less" slots on your partially used label sheet. For the purposes of this lesson I'm going to say 9 slots on the sheet were already used. You fill in your number as you work along this plan.

6. Add 9 new blank records to the database Edit ... New Record. Fast fingers go command key...r . DO NOT add any data to these new records. Leave them blank. You'll note that these all appear at the bottom or end of the list of records.

7. We want them to move to the top of the list so that they will occupy those first 9 empty label slots. To achieve this I'll use the Sort command. Go Organize ... Sort. Select any empty field as the priority. Be sure the Ascending Order bullet is clicked. (Blank comes before "a" in an ascending order sorting.) Click Okay.

8. All 9 blank records are now at the top of the list.

By the way, if you have an auto entry field like a date field, that data will print in the empty slots of your label sheet unless you remove the data from that field in each blank record.

9. Switch to the desired label layout. Layout ... Your label layout.

10. Carefully load the label sheet so that the blank labels will come through first. It is entirely possible to load the labels incorrectly. Not that I've ever done that!

11. Print.

12. To make all the records in your database visible again go Organize ... Show all records.

One last little detail...

Before you get too excited about using all those left over labels there is one challenge left to this exercise - you have a bunch of blank records in your database.

Plan A: If you did this to a copy of your database then just pitch that copy. No harm - no foul. You can go
blissfully on using the original database.

Plan B: Don't Save. If you did not save at any step in this exercise you can simply close the database without
saving. When you open it again you'll be right back where you were when you started this project.

Plan C: You could highlight each blank record and go Edit ... Delete Record. Depending on the number of
blanks you added, this will be an increasingly tedious process.

Plan D: How exciting! You can harness another feature of database to save time.

1. Read my tip on Finding blank records.

2. Find all the blank records.

3. Highlight them using Edit ... Select All. Be sure before you delete that you have not inadvertently included a "good" record. Visually scan down all the selected records. OR double check the Selected: number in the status bar. If it does not match the number of blank records you added as a part of this project - something may be amiss.

4. Go Edit ... Delete Record. The blank records should now be eliminated from your database.

5. Go Organize ... Show All to see all the existing records again.

My Grandfather was a master of reuse long before it became a theme of the "three R's".
I dedicate this tip to him. I know he would be proud of it.
In loving memory of Francis "Jim" Hunter.

Internet Hunts / Nature / Computers / Bluebirds Porject / Civics & History / Puzzles & Projects / Site map / Home / Database index

All trademarks, copyright and logos belong to their respective owners.

© 2001 Cindy O'Hora All Rights Reserved. posted 9/12/2001 by Cindy O'Hora