How to Print Mailing Labels from an iPhone or iPad

myCardLists icon

This blog post is about printing labels from an iPhone or iPad using an app called CardLists. I have another article about how to print just about anything from an iPhone or iPad. Take your pick!


UPDATE: there’s a new label-making app that you ought to try. It’s called “Label Printer.” How’s THAT for being straight to the point? CardLists is still great but having choices is great too.

Click here to get Label Printer from the App Store.





It’s time to mail your holiday cards. You may recall from previous posts (this one from 2012, and this one from 2014) that when it comes to printing mailing labels from an iPhone or iPad, I really like the app called CardLists. Lucky us: CardLists’ developer updated his app recently, making it even easier to produce good-looking mailing labels directly from our iOS devices. Here’s how the updated app works.

labels from phone: get_cardlists_button

(If you want to print mailing labels from your Mac, use the Contacts app– formerly known as “the Address Book app.” Here’s a link to my article showing you how to do that.)

First thing to do: download the CardLists app. (The screenshots in this tutorial are from my iPhone 6s, but the app works just as well on an iPad.)

When you start the app, you’ll something like this:

labels from phone: CardLists_01

Do what it says: tap the “+” button (upper right) to create a new list. (The app can manage as many lists as you like– maybe you’ll make one list of Christmas card recipients, another with customers, maybe a third with classmates. Here we’ll just work with one list.)

CardLists helps you name your list (choose from the scrolling lists or just name your list yourself, as I did.). For this example I am going to send a card to people named “Chris” so I’ve named my list that way. Tap “Save” at top right when you’re done. (You can edit the name later if you change your mind so don’t spend too much time on choosing the perfect name.) See below.

labels from phone: CardLists_02

Here’s my “list of lists” (just the one list). Tapping the circled red “i” would let me rename the list, FYI.

labels from phone: CardLists_03

Now we want to put some names into our list. CardLists gives you two ways to do it: copy names and addresses from your iPhone’s existing contacts (easy), and enter the names yourself, for CardLists’ exclusive use (harder). If you’re going to type in addresses, I think it’s better to type them into the Contacts app on the iPhone or iPad rather than directly into CardLists. Then let CardLists pull them in. In this way, your iPhone will “know” about these new addresses, making them available for Maps and other apps that use location data.

(It is important to recognize that CardLists “pulls in” data from your existing contacts. It doesn’t “share” with your iPhone’s built-in Contacts app– it’s a one-way, one-time “pull.” This is a huge plus, as it lets you make changes to the mailing labels after you’ve pulled in the names, without messing up your iPhone’s contacts. Let’s say, for example, that you have a contact on your iPhone for “Joe Smith.” You want to print a label for him but you want it to say “The Smith Family.” CardLists lets you do that for the label while leaving the original contact untouched.)

Whether you’re going to import names and addresses from your iPhone’s existing contacts, or add them directly to CardLists’ data, you start by tapping the blue text that says “Tap to add names.” It’s right under the name of your list.

Now you see your choices. See below.

labels from phone: CardLists_04

We’re going to tap the Contacts button, which leads us to a screen asking us to allow CardLists to access your contacts. You have to allow it. If you don’t, CardLists can’t pull in the data. Once you’ve OK’d it, you see this screen:

labels from phone: CardLists_05

No names in your list yet, but we’re getting closer! Tap the white “+” on the green box (with the Santa hat) at upper right to add names to your list. You’ll see something like this screen– every “Group” from your existing Contacts, plus an “All Contacts” button at the very bottom:

labels from phone: CardLists_06

I’m going to choose “People named Chris” here. Conveniently, I’d already made a Contacts Group with people named Chris. It’s possible that you don’t have any groups at all, in which case you would choose “All Contacts.”

Now go through the names and tap to put a checkmark next to the ones you want in your list (tap to check, tap again to uncheck). You have “Select All” and “Unselect All” buttons at the bottom of the screen to help in this process.

labels from phone: CardLists_07

When you’ve checked and unchecked as desired, tap the “Import” button at top left and the checked names will be pulled into your list. Congratulations– the hard part is done!

(This is the time to adjust the names (“The Smith Family” or “Joe and Susan Smith” etc.) Do that by tapping a name and editing it.)

Now let’s print. Tap the red printer icon at bottom right (it shows up after you tap “Import”) and you’ll get some choices, as shown below:

labels from phone: CardLists_08

We’re going to print Address Labels but it’s nice to know we can print Return Address Labels if we want to. This is a new feature. Anyhow, tap Address Labels and you get one more chance to uncheck a few names (they’ll still be in your list, but you won’t be printing them this time). Tap “Print” at top right, and you’ll see a preview of your labels (although, if it’s the first time you’ve used the app, you’ll be asked to choose a label format):

CardLists_09

We are getting very, very close now!

You can print your labels to any AirPrint printer (if your printer is on a network, and your Phone is on the same network, it will probably work), you can change fonts and colors, and you can email the labels as a PDF to someone who will print them for you.

If you look closely you’ll see the labels seems to squirm around a bit on the page. That’s OK– the app is just trying to keep things centered on a label by label basis. It also changes font sizes in order to make things fit. Very handy.

You might not want to print ten down, three across– choose your label stock by tapping the Settings button at top right. There’s a scrolling list of label options, and you can even tell the app where to start printing in case you’re using a partial sheet of labels.

That’s about it, although there are some nice extras that I can’t resist telling you about.

First, there’s a backup system that puts a copy of your contact list(s) into your Dropbox folder. The backups take up almost no room at all and they’re made by tapping the Dropbox icon at lower left on the screen that shows the lists (the first screen shown in this tutorial).

Second, you can change your mind and remove people from your mailing list. Just swipe left and delete. You can also tap the envelope to the left of a person’s name to show status: you’ve either written that person’s card, or you’ve mailed that person’s card, or you’ve done neither. Just keep tapping until you see the proper indicator.

Third, you can indicate that a person’s sent YOU a card by tapping the envelope to the right of the person’s name.

Fourth, there’s a super support website available right from the app in the Card Lists window (first picture in this tutorial). Go there by tapping the globe in the lower right corner (or by clicking this link).

To summarize: if you want to print mailing labels from your iPhone or iPad there’s nothing better than CardLists.

Download CardLists from the App Store.

labels from phone: get_cardlists_button

Here’s its icon, so you know you’ve found the right thing:

labels from phone: CardLists_icon1

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9 thoughts on “How to Print Mailing Labels from an iPhone or iPad

  1. Hi Christian
    I’ve just downloaded ‘label printer’ and can’t increase front size from tiny, any ideas?
    Penny

    1. Hi Penny. The program has settings (two little gears at bottom left) which control a lot of things, including font and maximum font size. If your labels have long lines of text (like a mailing address might have) then you aren’t going to hit the maximum size. The app sizes each label downward until it fits properly on the label. This could result in some labels having larger font sizes than others.

      I hope that helps! The developer is also very friendly about Q & A so reach out to him too. Go to this page:

      http://labelprinterapp.com

      and scroll to the bottom to find the developer’s email address.

  2. I’ve just discovered this post and it’s very helpful! Thank you!

    I’m wondering, is there a way to use the My Card List app to export your list to be printed by Avery via the “We Print” feature? If not, do you have any recommendations for doing so from an iPhone? The only info I’ve found has been Excel-centric.

    1. Interesting question. Basically, Avery’s WePrint service wants an Excel-style file– either a native Excel file or a CSV file. MyCardLists doesn’t make that kind of file, and the PDF it generates is not easily converted to a rows-and-columns kind of document. So, I think MyCardLists won’t do it for you (although if I were you I would contact the developer and ask).

      There are apps that export your contacts on your iPhone to an Excel sheet and you could upload such a file to WePrint. However, I have not found an app that lets you choose a group (they all seem to export all, or make you check the ones you want to export).

      There may be a better way for you do do this– let’s discuss. Are your contacts ONLY on your iPhone? Do you have an iCloud account (or an Apple ID)? Do you have access to a computer?

  3. I need to make labels with name only, not address. Then job description underneath. i.e.

    John Smith

    Artist
    Also would be useful to pick up names from ContactsPro

    Is this possible.

    1. This is a little tricky. ContactsPro has two sets of names– those it pulled from Contacts, and those that are entered into it directly. and the label programs that I know about pull from Contacts only. I think you would be better off if ContactsPro allowed you to export the names and Job Descriptions– then you could do something with them, perhaps somewhere else. Contact me directly and let’s see what we can work out. Macman at ChristianBoyce.com.

  4. I am trying to print labels from a PDF off my iPad and can’t get them to line up correctly and I don’t know where to change the settings on the iPad print button to not fit to page

    1. Which program are you using? In Label Printer there are a lot of settings, accessed by tapping the two gears at the bottom center of the screen when getting ready to print.

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