Recently, TechRepublic asked members to participate in a Tech Q&A challenge looking for the best solution to this particular scenario:
The law firm of Dewy, Cheetam and Howe has paid a significant amount of money for a new logo. The partners want to create new business cards featuring the logo, but they want to save some money by printing the new cards using Microsoft Word and a color laser printer. How would they set up Word to systematically print business cards with the logo whenever they needed them?
This challenge was almost over before it started. The first solution proposed by Bristar was so complete that it apparently dissuaded any challenging or alternative solutions. Therefore, Bristar was awarded the TechPoints and the TechRepublic gear.
Hear is the winning answer:
By using the Envelopes and Labels option, you can use a business card label template (such as an Avery 3612) to create your new business cards. Once you have your template selected, use the (N)ew Document button to create a whole page of business card layouts.
Create the design for your card in one of the slots only, using (I)nsert, (P)icture to insert your logo. By double-clicking on the logo, you can then format the position of it under the layout tab. I recommend a (I)n Line With Text Fit, (L)eft Alignment, and under the (A)lignment tab, choose your vertical alignment to be at the Top of the Margin. This will set your image in the top left corner of the card.
Play with the advanced settings of the image a little to get the position of the logo exactly where you want it. Remember that you need to use relative positions to the Margin or Column, not the page or absolute distance directions, and you must use an In Line With Text fit to keep the image in your card.
When you are done, simply tab forward, then tab back. Your whole card will be highlighted and you can copy the whole card and paste it into the other cards on the page (don't go too far or you will end up with a second page — it is not necessary).
Save the page on your hard drive and print out a new page whenever necessary. Try using a search and replace to change the names if you would like and/or consider a mail merge function to print out cards for everyone in your company database.
Image is everything
After testing this answer, it quickly became obvious that the main problem to overcome when using this solution is image size, position, and resolution. For business card printing to work properly in Microsoft Word, the logo should be as simple as possible. You also have to remember that shrinking a large logo image down to a business card-usable form will likely reduce the resolution to a point where any underlying text will become unreadable. That being said, using this technique, you can produce fairly sophisticated business cards, complete with your company's logo for very little cost. For a small business, that may be more than enough to get you and your company in the public eye.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.