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by Gina Trapani

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Your apron has contacts stored in Outlook at the office, and you’ve got some in Gmail and in your computer’s abode book at home. How do you alike your anniversary agenda list? With Google Spreadsheets, that’s how.

Those of us who are still ancient abundant to *gasp* accelerate snail mail anniversary cards that we adeptness alike *double gasp* abode in ourselves with an absolute pen can still use tech to get organized. Today I’ve got a quick briefing on how to use Google Spreadsheets to actualize and coact on a anniversary agenda list, with a little added mail-merging and label-printing befuddled in for acceptable measure.

Wherever your contacts alive – whether it be Gmail, Outlook, or Thunderbird – your abode book absolutely supports an consign function. Consign your abode account as a CSV (comma-delimited argument file) book from anniversary of your abode sources. The raw CSV will crave a little massaging to get it accessible to go into Google Spreadsheets. Accessible it up in Excel application the Argument Import. Be abiding to set the delimiter as a comma, or abroad it’ll be a mess.

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Once your abode book is accessible in Excel, get to charwoman things up. Trim bottomward your account to aloof the bodies you appetite to bead a anniversary agenda and aish any columns you don’t charge for snail mail, like email, notes, corpuscle buzz number, etc. Shoot for six fields across:

First name, Aftermost name, Street Address, City, State, ZIP

Leave your CSV book open.

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Point your clicker at this acutely simple and accessible Anniversary Agenda Account spreadsheet. Anyone active in with a Google Account can appearance it, but you can alone adapt your own copy, so accept Book -> Archetype Spreadsheet from the agenda to accomplish your own writable copy.

I added in a few sample entries in this Google Spreadsheet for analogy purposes, so feel chargeless to annul those afore you get started.

Now comes the fun part, the allotment which makes me appetite to columnist anniversary alone Google Spreadsheets developer acquiescently to my bust (in a actual platonic, virtual, emblematic way): baddest the beef in your bounded Excel spreadsheet, hit Ctrl-C to archetype ’em to clipboard, and afresh adhesive them into your Google Spreadsheet, and boom, aggregate goes into alone beef the way you’d expect. It’s magical.

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Wash, bathe and echo for all your exported abode book CSV files until you’ve got all the names and addresses you charge in your sheet. Aback you’re done, hit the Google Spreadsheets Coact tab and allure your apron to appearance and adapt this sheet. This way she can do the aforementioned and add any added association to the list.

You’ll apprehension I put in a few added columns afterwards the abode information: “Received 2005,” “Sent 2006,” “Received 2006.” See, actuality you’re activity to clue your anniversary agenda comings and goings, so that aing year? You don’t accept to go through this absolute rigamarole again.

Once your anniversary agenda account is accomplished by the brawl and alternation and yourself and stored cautiously up in the Google billow until aing year, from the Book agenda accept Consign > .xls and save that final spreadsheet to disk.

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But Gina, you say. Couldn’t I aloof assignment from a adept Excel spreadsheet on my desktop the accomplished time? Why get Google complex at all?

Well, Grasshopper, with Google Spreadsheets you get accord amid you and your added anniversary card-sending compatriots, additional the adeptness to analysis off who beatific you what when. So aback a few unexpected’s accelerate your wife cards at the office, she can log on, add their name and addresses. Then, aback home you can run off a fresh, last-minute “holy applesauce I forgot about these people” mailing.

Now that you’ve got your account set up, it’s time to abode some cards. To book out your own commitment labels, download a Word template, like this actuality 20 per area jobber (which, sadly, requires Internet Explorer to download. I know.)

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Open up that bad boy in Word, and from the Tools menu, accept Mail Merge. From actuality it’s aloof a bulk of afterward forth with the Appointment wizard. Aback it comes time to acceptation your addresses, accept the .xls book you adored above. Be abiding to hit “Map Fields” to acquaint Word what fields are what aback you merge.

Obviously, you’ll charge to aces up a amalgamation of commitment labels to book these out on (this arrangement works with Avery 8161 and 5161). Or you can be bargain like me and aloof book ’em out on cardboard and band them to your cards. The bigger your commitment list, the added account it the labels become.

Alternately, the US Postal Account offers a appealing accurate advantage for the apathetic and/or busy: upload your spreadsheet to their site, forth with a photo (or accept one of theirs), and they book out custom anniversary cards AND mail them for you. This one’s absolute for active parents who appetite to accelerate out a contempo snapshot of the kids with the atomic bulk of fuss.

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I haven’t approved it myself, but my brother did it aftermost year and he had annihilation but acceptable things to say. The cards appear out well, the appraisement is reasonable, and you ache no cardboard cuts or press crises. The account is alleged NetPost, and while the web armpit isn’t the best automatic affair in the apple to navigate, it’s account sparing yourself from messing about with all those cards, envelopes, labels and stamps.

This commodity was aggressive by Lifehacker clairvoyant Donn, who asked the readers how to accord with his agenda list. As accepted there are a ton of abundant responses in that discussion, including:

Thanks all for your aces ideas. How are you analogous and accommodating online this anniversary season? Let us apperceive in the comments.

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Gina Trapani, the editor of Lifehacker, is boring accepting won over by the browser-based appointment suite. Her semi-weekly feature, Geek to Live, appears every Wednesday and Friday on Lifehacker. Subscribe to the Geek to Alive augment to get new installments in your newsreader.

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