How To Customize Mailing Labels

Adding a Custom Field to a Mailing Label

The first task was to modify the default fields displayed on the mailing label (name, address, postcode etc.) to include a custom field. This organisation delivers a lot of its local mail by hand rather than through the royal mail, so the custom field was used to assign addresses into a delivery walk, and this was to be printed on the label so it could be given to the appropriate deliverer.

Fortunately, CiviCRM uses a token replacement system, and every user-created custom field is assigned a unique token. The only problem in including the deliverer custom field on the mailing label  was finding out what the token corresponding to the appropriate field was.

I’m sure there must be a better way, but the quick solution that worked for me was to bring up the “Print PDF Letter for Contacts” action from a search result

On the next screen, click the “Insert Tokens” link at the top right to be presented with a modal dialog box listing all the names of all the available tokens in your system. Clicking on the name of a token will insert it into the PDF letter, allowing you to see the token behind it. In the screenshot below, for example, the Geo Code 1 field associated with each individual contact can be inserted into any mailing (or mailing label) using the {contact.geo_code_1} token.

Having identified the appropriate token for a custom field (in my case, it was{contact.custom_4} ), you can then add this to the mailing label template by going toAdminister >> Configure >> Global Settings >> Address Settings and editing the Mailing Label Format to include the relevant token, as below:

{}{, }{contact.state_province}{ }{contact.postal_code}

Sorting the Mailing List

Having ensured that the custom field was printed onto each label, the next step was to sort the list of labels based on the value of that field. As explained before, the mailings were to be hand-delivered, and it would save a lot of time sorting through the envelopes if they could be printed ready-sorted into batches for the appropriate deliverer, as specified by the custom field. A quick search of the internet reveals that sorted mailings are also required in other circumstances as well, such as sorting by ZIP code when submitting batch mailings to the U.S. Postal Service. However, although reported as a major bug in CiviCRM, the ability to sort mailing lists in anything other than alphabetical surname order of addressee is currently not possible. So I had to hack something together.

A snoop around revealed that the bulk of the work in preparing the mailing labels occurred in the script located at \sites\all\modules\civicrm\CRM\Contact\Form\Task\Label.php. Within the CRM_Contact_Form_Task_Label class in this file, I created a new comparison function which would sort an array of the items to be included in the mailing list based on the custom_4 field, as follows:

function cmpCustomField($a, $b) {
if ($a[‘custom_4’] == $b[‘custom_4’]) {
return 0;
return ($a[‘custom_4’] < $b[‘custom_4’]) ? -1 : 1;


Through a bit of experimentation, I determined the best place to sort the records was after they had been run through the “Merge same address”/“Merge same household” scripts, but before being formatted for display. So I inserted a call to the PHP uasort function (sorts an associative array while keeping indexes) that used my comparison function at around line 330, as follows:


if ( isset( $fv[‘merge_same_household’] ) ) {
$rows = $this->mergeSameHousehold( $rows );
$individualFormat = true;

uasort ( $rows , array($this, ‘cmpCustomField’));

// format the addresses according to CIVICRM_ADDRESS_FORMAT (CRM-1327)
require_once ‘CRM/Utils/Address.php’;
foreach ($rows as $id => $row) {


The mailing list labels were now produced in nicely ascending order based on the custom field.

Changing the Mailing Label Paper Template

CiviCRM supports a handful of common avery label formats out-of-the-box, but this organisation had recently purchased a bulk load of non-standard labels (A4, 24 labels per page, 8×3) which did not fit any of the supplied templates. They therefore couldn’t be used.

To create a new paper template, changes to two files must be made (both called “Label.php”, but in different directories).

Firstly, in the \sites\all\modules\civicrm\CRM\Utils\PDF\Label.php look for the $averyLabels array and add a new element to the array with the margins and other dimensions of your label sheet. Here’s the settings I used for my new paper (NX and NY are the number of columns and rows of labels on the sheet, width and height determined by dividing the overall dimensions of the page by the number of labels, and the margins determined mostly by guesswork):


$averyLabels = array (

‘Custom_3x8’ => array(
‘name’ => ‘NGP_3x8’,
‘paper-size’ => ‘A4’,
‘metric’ => ‘mm’,
‘lMargin’ => 5,
‘tMargin’ => 10,
‘NX’ => 3,
‘NY’ => 8,
‘SpaceX’ => 0,
‘SpaceY’ => 0,
‘width’ => 70,
‘height’ => 37.125,
‘font-size’ => 9


Having defined the settings for the Custom paper template, to actually get these settings to be selectable when producing mailing labels, you also need to edit the file at\sites\all\modules\civicrm\CRM\Contact\Form\Task\Label.php

Near the top is a buildQuickForm() function that contains an array of templates to populate a select list. Add the name of your new paper template to the end of the array, exactly as you defined it in the $averyLabels array above:

$label = array(
"5160" => "5160",
"5161" => "5161",
"5162" => "5162",
"Custom_3x8" => "Custom_3x8"


Save the file, and your new template will magically become available for use:

A few tweaks…

Finally, there were just a few tweaks to be made. The new paper template should be always be selected by default for mailing labels (they’d bought reams of the stuff, so it was going to be used for all labels for quite a while yet), and also the “merge contacts with the same address” should always be selected. Adding these defaults was a simple matter of amending the $defaults array declared in the setDefaultValues() function near the top of the \sites\all\modules\civicrm\CRM\Contact\Form\Task\Label.php file.

function setDefaultValues()
$defaults = array();
$defaults[‘do_not_mail’] = 1;

// Modified by AA
$defaults[‘merge_same_address’] = 1;
$defaults[‘label_id’] = "Custom_3x8";

return $defaults;


I’m no CiviCRM expert, and I’ve certainly no idea if the approach I took to solving any of these problems represents “best practice” in any way, but it seems to have got the job done and met the immediate needs of my client, so hopefully it might be helpful to somebody else too!

Now even faster and easier Google Search app for iOS

Two months ago, Google launched a redesign of the Google Search app for iOS. They were happy that many of you liked the new look and interactivity of the app. However, we also heard your feedback about the app’s speed. Today we’re introducing changes that make the app more responsive as well as other visual changes that make search results even easier to read.

Faster app performance

This version of Google Search app is up to 20% more responsive as you type search queries and interact with it. As part of the speed improvements, a feature called “Just Talk” will now be off by default. Just Talk allowed you to search via voice just by bringing the phone to your ear and speaking rather than tapping the microphone icon. Turning off this feature may improve app performance, though you can easily re-enable it under the Settings > Voice Search menu.

Turn Just Talk on or off

Improved look & feel for search results

When searching on a phone, the small screen sometimes makes it difficult to read small fonts or to tap precisely on a link. To help you read and tap with ease, we’ve made the font of our search results bigger and the entire search result is now a tap target rather than just the link.

See the difference between previous (left) and new interface (right) with results now easier to read and select

Thank you for your feedback. Please continue to let us know how we can improve your experience by going to Settings > Help and Feedback > Feedback.

Google Search app is available for devices running iOS 3.0 and above. Download it from the App Store or by scanning the QR code below:

Port your existing mobile number to Google Voice

867-5309 could be one of the most iconic phone numbers of all time, but it’s not the only number that a lot of us remember by heart. Many of us have a phone number that we’ve shared with family, friends, and contacts over the years and are reluctant to let go.

One of the most frequent requests we hear from people who use (or want to use) Google Voice is that they’d like to get all of Google Voice’s features without having to give up their long-time phone numbers.

Today, we’re excited to announce that Number Porting is available for all existing Google Voice users. This means you can make the mobile number you’ve always used your Google Voice number, so it can ring any phone you want—or even your computer.

To get started with Number Porting, log in to your Google Voice account, visit the Settings page and click on “Change / Port” next to your Google Voice number.

Porting your number to Google Voice costs $20 and is usually completed within 24 hours. You may incur additional charges, including early termination fees, from your wireless carrier. Contact your carrier to get more details about the charges applicable to you.

After porting your number to Google Voice your mobile service plan will be cancelled, and there are a couple of steps that you’ll have to take to continue making and receiving calls on your mobile device. For more detailed instructions on how Number Porting works and to find tips for making the process as smooth as possible, visit the Google Voice Help Center.

Number Porting is currently available for existing Google Voice users and will become available to new users within the next few weeks, and at this time, Google Voice is available in the U.S. only.