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Mac and iPhone News, Reviews, and How-Tos.

How to Print Mailing Labels from an iPhone or iPad (2012 Edition)

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Things have changed since this article was written in December 2012. The Avery Templates Everywhere app is no longer available. The Avery Design & Print app is still available, but it's terrible (bad interface, crashes, buttons don't work-- you name it).

Tonight (December 11th, 2014) I've written a new post about a really nice label-printing app called myCardLists.

Click here to go to that post.

Actually, before you go, how about joining my mailing list? You'll be notified every time I write something new, and I'll be glad to take your questions.

(Rather than delete the old post I am leaving it here for people who already have the Avery Templates Everywhere app installed. Note that I do NOT recommend the Avery Design & Print app as it is essentially unusable.)

Christian Boyce
December 11th, 2014


Avery Templates app

How to Print Mailing Labels from an iPhone or iPad

It's Christmas-card time… and that means it's also "Help! I need to print mailing labels!" time. In the olden days it was easy: you used the Address Book program on your Mac (I wrote about printing mailing labels back in 2010). But what if all you have is an iPhone or an iPad? How do you print mailing labels then?

Actually, it's easier than you might think.
NOTE: If you do have a Mac, use its Contacts (or Address Book) app to print your labels from there. If you have an iCloud account your iPhone's contacts are probably in sync with your Mac's contacts so there's a decent chance that your Mac has everyone's name and address in it already. See my "How to Print Mailing Labels" article for instructions. If you don't have a Mac, continue on here.

First thing you do is you get the Avery Templates Everywhere app from the App Store.

UPDATE October 9th, 2014: the Avery Templates Everywhere iPhone app is not available on the App Store any longer. I don't know when it disappeared but it's not there now. This complicates things. iPad users can download the free Avery Design & Print app but iPhone users are out of luck.

UPDATE November 23rd, 2013: If you're using an iPad, you might want to try the Avery Design & Print app instead (affiliate link). It's a little clumsy but it handles multi-line street addresses, which Templates Everywhere did not. So that's progress.
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(The following was for the Avery Templates Everywhere app-- I am leaving it here for posterity. The Design & Print app has different screens. If you're really stuck email me and I will try to help you.)

When you launch the app you'll see this. Choose "Create Project."

Next you'll see the GIANT list of Avery label templates. Choose the one corresponding to the labels you're going to use. If you just want to play around in advance of getting your labels try the 5160s. Three across, ten down. Standard as can be.
IMG_2120 IMG_2121

Next, you'll see this screen showing you how your labels are going to lay out. You can drag things around here but they start out with something that works fine for me. All you need to do is choose which contacts you want to print. That's what the "Contacts" button is for. So tap that.

You'll get a message asking whether Avery can access your contacts (that's nice of them, but it's also required by Apple's iOS). Tap OK. Next you'll see your entire list of contacts. Tap the checkbox to the left of the contacts you want labels for.
IMG_2123 IMG_2124

When you're done, tap "Done," and then tap "Preview." You'll notice by the way that the number of contacts chosen is displayed next to the word "Contacts." If you are trying to fill a sheet of labels it's nice to know how many names you've selected.

If it looks good to you, tap the Share button That's the curvy white arrow at top right. You'll get three choices.

Save lets you save your project for later revising (or for printing again). I highly recommend saving your project. You'll have to create an Avery account first but that's easy: email address and a password (NOT your regular email password-- just something for Avery). Print lets you print to an AirPrint-enabled printer. AirPrint is sort of new and only works with certain newish printers so you may be out of luck there. Go ahead and try-- you have nothing to lose. Email is your Ace in the Hole because it lets you email your labels as a PDF to someone who DOES have a printer. Here's what it looks like when you tap Email.

That's all there is to it. Nothing fancy but it works. If you have an extra label you can make one for me.

Christian Boyce
3435 Ocean Park Boulevard #107
Santa Monica, CA 90405

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You might also like my One-Minute Macman blog. It's very brief, comes out daily, and it's written by me.
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How to Eject a CD from a Mac


Here's another tip for Dad, the new iMac owner.

You might be thinking "What could be so hard about ejecting a CD? Push a button and out it comes." Well, yes, but… sometimes things go wrong. Here's how to handle it when they do.

Actually, the first thing to do is NEVER insert a CD (or a DVD) into your Mac's SuperDrive unless it is the typical size and typical shape. That means "round and of regulation size." It also means "not like any of those in the picture below."
No star CDs, no saw blade CDs, no business card CDs, no mini CDs. Put one of those in there and it's not coming out. So don't do that.

This is not a good time to "test."

Assuming that all you did was put in a regulation-sized round CD (or a DVD), and now it's stuck inside and won't come out, let's run through some techniques that will help you get it out.

1. Press the Eject key on the keyboard and hold it down. The key looks something like this:
Mac eject
Sometimes people don't hold it down long enough for the "eject" message to get through. Apple decided a few operating systems back that pressing and HOLDING would be the better way to use the eject key because some people were inadvertently touching the eject button and accidentally ejecting things. Why WE should suffer because someone else can't type properly is not something I can answer. I don't like it either. But, at least you know how to make the keyboard's Eject key work-- hold it down.

Bonus Tip: on some keyboards F12 is the same as the Eject key. FYI.

2. If that didn't work, restart the Mac, and when you hear it go "Bong" click on the mouse and hold the mouse button down until the disc ejects. (Trackpad users: click and hold on the trackpad.) If the Mac starts up completely and still the disc doesn't eject we will have to move on to Step 3.

3. If you see the disc's icon on the Desktop you can drag it to the Trash in the Dock. I know it's weird and I know it makes you feel as if you're going to erase the disc by doing it. Everyone feels that way (except for the people at Apple who came up with the idea.) Turns out that the Trash can icon will change to look like an Eject icon (like the Eject key on the keyboard) as soon as you start dragging the disc, so you're "ejecting" and not "throwing away" the disc but there's no way of knowing that until you do it. But… by default, CDs and DVDs don't show up on the Desktop, so you may not have anything to drag anyway. You might have to change a Finder Preference to make the discs appear. So, on to Step 4:

4. In the Finder, choose Finder/Preferences… and in the General section check the box for CDs, DVDs and iPods. While you're in there, in the Sidebar section check the box for CDs, DVDs, and iPods too. Close up the Finder's Preferences and have a look around the Desktop. Maybe now you'll see the icon for the disc, and maybe now you can drag it to the Trash. If you click on the disc ONCE you'll select it, and if it's selected you can choose Eject from the Finder's File menu. You can also use Command-E and do it from the keyboard. Click and drag, or click and File/Eject, or click and Command-E. All fine methods.
If you can't see the disc on the Desktop maybe you will see it in the sidebar of a Finder window. If you do, move the mouse over the name of the disc and a little Eject icon will show up to the right. Click that and maybe it ejects. Maybe.

(There is of course a chance that you don't have a disc in there at all. Maybe someone else ejected it when you weren't looking. It is worth asking around.)

5. Still can't get the disc out? Maybe you had the icon on the Desktop, dragged it to the Trash, and now the icon's gone but still the disc is inside? Try launching the Terminal program (in the Utilities folder, which is in the Applications folder) and typing this in:

drutil eject -drive internal

and then press Return on the keyboard. That will tell the Mac to try to eject the disc from the internal drive. Maybe you'll get lucky.

6. Still no dice? Still can't get it out? I would not reach for pliers. You might get the disc out but you'll probably break the SuperDrive. Instead of reaching for pliers try reaching for your car keys and driving the Mac to an Apple Store. They will probably try all of the things I listed here but they can also take the machine apart so they can actually see the SuperDrive and (perhaps) manually eject the disc. I would not try taking the Mac apart as the modern Mac's SuperDrive is pretty hard to get to.

In my experience-- more than 20 years-- I've seen just a couple of stuck discs. Most were from those non-standard discs, the ones shaped like business cards or stars or saw blades etc. Don't let it happen to you.

TRUE STORY: Once upon a time I was asked to come see a Mac whose CD drive "didn't work." I asked what "didn't work" meant and the owner said "Well, it worked great for the first disc. But I had some trouble putting in the second disc, and after I got it in it didn't work. So then I tried another disc and it wouldn't go in at all. That's when I called you." I couldn't get the disc to eject either, but since this was an older iMac and easy to open up I took it apart and found the second disc AND THE FIRST DISC jammed very tightly into the drive. Turns out that the person using the Mac didn't understand that the SuperDrive holds only one disc at a time, and if you want to put in Disc B you'd better take out Disc A first.

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Best Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

Dad is now a Mac owner. He used a Mac at work way back when but things have changed a lot. And, even the things that haven't changed a lot are ancient memories for him. I thought it would be a good idea to put together a series of Mac hints for Dad, a little at a time, for the next thirty days or so. Here's the first one:

Best Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

PC guys are friendly with the Control key, but here on the Mac side we use the Command key. A lot of keyboards don't show the word "Command" on them, so you may have to look for the Command key symbol:

(click to read Andy Hertzfeld's story of the Command key, from

Turns out that every Mac keyboard shortcut involves the Command key. Knowing where the Command key is (actually, where the Command keys are) means you're halfway home for an awful lot of shortcut keys. See how easy this is?

Refer to the handy picture of a keyboard (below) for the shortcuts that follow. Note that these shortcuts work just about all of the time, whether in Mail, Safari, Pages, or any other program. That means one can learn things once and use them all over the place. Dad likes to be efficient!

Command-Q: Quit
Command-W: Close Window
Command-P: Print

Command-A: Select All
Command-S: Save
Command-F: Find

Command-Z: Undo
Command-X: Cut
Command-C: Copy
Command-V: Paste (sorry, P was already taken for Print. Besides, V is next in line, next to the C on the keyboard, and it is important to have these frequently-accessed shortcuts laid out together, in a group)

Command-N: New (new Mail message, new Safari window, new Finder window, new Pages document, etc.)

Wondering how you're supposed to remember all of this? Here's how: just look at the menus as you choose them with the mouse or trackpad. Notice the shortcuts written to the right of the menu commands. For example, in Mail's File menu we see shortcuts for New (Message), Close (Window), Save, and Print. Those hints are there all the time, reminding you that there are shortcuts for triggering these menu items. See below.
Bonus Nice Touch: notice, when you use a keyboard shortcut, that the menu containing the menu item you're triggering flashes, as if to say "Got it, Chief." It's a subtle but helpful reinforcement that the Mac's received your command, no pun intended.

OK Dad, that's it for tonight. Try these shortcuts now and in a week they'll be second nature.

UPDATE: try this page from Apple-- "OS X keyboard shortcuts."

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