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How to Prepare Your Address Files

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​Making sure that your mailing request is completed properly and address lists are correctly formatted will shorten the turnaround time for your order and save you money by eliminating the need for our mail specialists to perform time-consuming alterations. If you have any questions about mailing at DES Printing and Imaging, please contact your Customer Service Representative (CSR).

Request Mail Services

To take advantage of any of our mail services, simply indicate on your A21-A or A24-A printing order that the job must mail, and provide the necessary address data files.

Please include the following information with your order form:

  • Number of pieces to be mailed
  • Format of furnished address information
  • When to expect address data if it is not provided with the printing order
  • Class of mail – First Class, Presort Standard (Bulk) or Standard B
  • Special processing requests such as FASTforwardsm address updating or merge purge
  • Name and telephone number of contact person to answer questions
  • Sample showing the order of items to be inserted into envelopes

Furnish the Right Media

Furnish your mailing address lists on CD-ROM, 3 1/2' high-density floppy disk, Zip disk, FTP or e-mail. We will also accept 9-track tape in either 1600 bpi or 6250 cpi on a reel up to 10', or download datasets from the state mainframe.

If you are sending your address data by e-mail, please compress your files using either WinZip or PKZIP before submission. Your information technology department will be able to help you compress your files properly. When your files are ready, attach them to an e-mail and send them to us at mail@des.wa.gov.

Always include a label or other message with your address data that provides the following information:

  • job title
  • printing order requisition number
  • address file name
  • which fields to include in the mailing address
  • approximate number of records

Format Your Files

While we have the ability to accept a variety of other formats, the following are preferred because they require very little data processing time:

  • ASCII (DOS text) fixed, or delimited (*.txt?=53c4b) If the file is fixed, please provide a record layout.
  • dBase (*.dbf)
  • Microsoft Access (*.mdb)
  • Microsoft FoxPro (*.dbf, *.dbc)
  • Paradox (*.db)
  • Excel (*.xls?=53c4b)

If you would rather use mainframe files, please include information on record and block length, record layout and the tape volume label if applicable. Supply the files in one of the following formats:

  • EBCDIC or ASCII
  • ANSI labeled or unlabeled (multiple tape volumes must be labeled)
  • Fixed length records and blocks
  • Fixed field length (non-delimited)

If necessary, we will accept the following formats, but they require more time to process and will increase your mailing costs.

  • WordPerfect (Single column, from three to six variable length lines of no more than 50 characters separated with either two returns or a hard page.)
  • Microsoft Word (Single column, from three to six variable-length lines of no more than 50 characters separated with two returns.)

Note: If at all possible, don’t send Microsoft Word tables, label files, or mail merge files for use in addressing your mail jobs. These files are very difficult to reformat for processing and usually require quite a bit of hand editing time.