I have a custom label in my Address Book cards (to indicate the name I'd like to appear on a label, e.g. The Smith Family).

I'm on Lion (so that's Address Book version 6.1 on Mac OS X 10.7.2).

When I go to print the labels, File > Print > Mailing Labels I can't change it from using the Name (Prefix - First Name - Surname).

Before I set off trying to export this to a mail merge and use a much more complicated method, is there a way of doing this within Address Book?

I found this hack which suggests adding the label as the Company Name, because that is an option to print, but some of the people have actual company names, so that isn't going to work for me.

3 Answers 3


When printing labels, I find a good technique is to make a new Address Book group. Here's a technique that might work, depending on the size of the job.

Duplicate a contact with copy/paste, and drag the copy into the label printing group. Edit the card so the name fields are blank, and set the first name to be "The Smith Family". When you're done making the label changes, select the group and bring up the printing UI, which will print the contacts in the group.

When you're done printing, delete the contacts from the label printing group, then delete the group, and your original contacts remain intact.

  • 1
    Thanks - I can see that working for small groups; but I've got a couple of hundred entries in this group, so it's not the ideal solution in this case!
    – Unsliced
    Dec 11, 2011 at 8:55

I haven't tried it yet but here's a post about the same problem where a commenter suggests an AppleScript to temporarily change the names you're using and then revert them back after you're done printing.

  • Interesting idea, but definitely a worst case scenario that one! I'm a coder, but I really don't think that this is a problem which needs a coding solution ... although apparently I'm wrong.
    – Unsliced
    Dec 17, 2012 at 9:37

It's not an ideal solution, but I've solved around the problem by using Address Book Exporter which saves to a CSV which I can then import into Word and do a mail merge - because frankly, for jobs like this, Microsoft does do a better job (you can do it in Libre Office, but it's not as smooth).

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