What are Mailing Labels?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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Mailing labels are usually pieces of paper with adhesive on the back that can be affixed to packages or envelopes to identify the name and address of an addressee. They may also indicate the name and address of the person sending the mail. Though unnecessary when sending small amounts of mail, mailing labels can be essential and time saving for people who must send out a large volume of mail.

Return address labels are easiest to find and can be ordered inexpensively through a variety of vendors. They can also be easily created with a number of software programs or by using a label maker or a printer at home. It can take a little more work to create a list of labels for mail that is sent. Many companies turn to computer programs to help them create labels as needed.

Numerous word processing programs have label maker software that can turn a unique set of addresses into labels. People need only add special adhesive paper to their printer and specify the size of each label on the paper in order to get needed results. Sometimes companies that ship various things regularly make one label at a time as orders come in, but other times a business may need to send a mass mail to everyone on their mailing list. This would be common for sending out things like sales circulars or newsletters.


Mailing labels to addressees can include a lot of information depending upon what is sent. Packages may not only have address information but also may have bar codes or other features meant to identify the contents of the package. Some mailing labels have warnings like the word “fragile” or specify deliver arrangements, and others indicate payment of shipping costs. Usually anything printed on a label created by a company must conform to whatever laws or codes exist for the country’s postal service or for the shipping company used.

One of the common complaints about creating mailing labels is the expense of label paper. It can cost a great deal more than average printing paper. On the other hand, though this cost is high, it usually doesn’t compare to the cost in time of physically writing out addresses. A printer can print thousands of labels in a few minutes, while a single employee doing this work could take hours to complete it.


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