I have ~3,000 word list that includes multiple definitions and multiple example sentences for each word. It's in an Excel document arranged like this:

Word     Translation 1    Translation 2   Sentence 1        Sentence 2
Pomme     Apple            Apples         I like apples     Apples are red

I'm trying to figure out how to end up with 2 sided flash cards, Word on the front and everything else on the back. I'm printing in another country so I need this to be an A4 sized document.

EDIT/UPDATE This A4 sized document has 10 business cards on it. The idea is I would be able to print on the back and front of these so they line up properly.

I know how to do a Mail Merge and would consider myself a power user of Excel but honestly I've not had to deal with printing very much and am stuck.

I've Googled around for about 2 hours but I'm just getting more confused.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Oh, by the way: I don't have a double sided printer.


Use Word Mail merge. Connect to the Excel workbook as the data source, then build the merge document.

Put the Word field on the first page, format as desired, then insert a page break, so everything else goes to page 2.

Arrange the other merge fields on page 2.

Run the merge and let it merge into a document. This way you end up with a multi-page Word document that should have pages with a word followed by pages with the details.

Now find a printer that can print double sided and print the document.

Edit: With 10 cards per page, use this approach:

Create a mail merge with the suitable table for your paper and put just the keyword into the table cell. Merge and print

Create another mail merge with the same table and put the the other fields into the cells.

Now, the tricky bit is the order of the records from Excel. You need to change the order so the first card gets the correct values printed on its back when the paper is flipped. This is possible if you keep your wits about you and add some helper columns to sort the data.

Consider this screenshot:

enter image description here

Assuming the mail merge fills the cells from left to right then down, the words will end up on the cards like shown in the table sketch "print order on cards". When the paper is flipped over, you need a different print order to ensure that word "a" matches the details "aa".

Create a helper column with the order in column E. With hundreds of values you only need to type E2 and E3, then in E4 use a formula =E2+2 and copy down. Copy the formula results and use paste special > values to paste the values over the formulas. Now you can sort by column D and do the mail merge for the front of the paper. Then sort by column E and do the mail merge for the back of the paper.

Let me know if you need more help with this approach.

  • teylyn, I don't have a double sided printer - do you think I can do as you say then have my single sided printer only print odd pages, flip them, and then print only even pages? – Python_Learner_DK Jul 11 '17 at 1:17
  • Yes. That's what I used to do when I had a single sided printer. Your printer options may actually have a setting for this. – teylyn Jul 11 '17 at 7:01
  • I updated my question for clarity. Basically I'm trying to use business card stock that has 10 cards per page, and I'm trying to line up this print job to print on this kind of stock. Sorry for accepting and accepting the answer. I sat down to do this and realized your answer was on a per card basis and not a per 10 card on one page basis. Thank you for your help. – Python_Learner_DK Jul 22 '17 at 9:28
  • @SDS I have added an approach that will work with ten cards per sheet. – teylyn Jul 22 '17 at 22:54
  1. First, use the Page Setup dialog to specify A4 paper and choose portrait or landscape mode. Depending on your version of Excel, the dialog should look similar to this:

enter image description here

Click "OK", and return to your spreadsheet. The page boundaries will appear as dashed blue lines. Make sure your text appears correctly within the page boundaries. If not, you can format the cells holding your text and repeat this step until you get the desired result.

  1. In the "Layout" section of the Print dialog, you can choose "two-sided" printing if your printer supports that (mine doesn't, so the choice is greyed out). Here you also select the order in which the pages print.

enter image description here

  1. If your printer doesn't support two-sided printing, there are still options. You can select the columns holding the fronts of your flash cards and choose "Set Print Area" from the "File..." menu. Only the fronts of the pages will print. Then you'll need to load those pages back into the printer, and use Print Area to print the back side pages. Clear the first Print Area before setting a new one.

  2. Be sure to test your settings by specifying a small selection of pages (say pages 1 to 3) to print out in the main section of the Print dialog. Good luck.


The caveman solution: print your file exactly as it is now (i.e., in a way that gives a printout like the layout you show in the question), fold it between the Word and the translations, and cut between the rows.  If folding doesn’t give you the “two-sided” effect you want, tape or glue the “Word” flap down.

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