How to Format & Send a Mailing List

Here at AD-Vantage we can work with many data file types. Here are some of the formats we can work with:

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File Types Common Extension(s)
Microsoft Excel .xls or xlsx
Microsoft Access .mdb or .accdb
DBase .dbf
FileMaker Pro  .fp7 or .fp5
Comma Delimited .csv or .txt
Tab Delimited .tab or .txt
Fixed Length any

Note: If your database is only available in a report or label format, it requires us to undo the format and you will incur additional processing charges. There a few items we cannot accept: native ClarisWorks, AppleWorks, and full QuickBooks files.

Compression

Before transfer, all files should be compressed into a Zip file using your operating system’s built in compression feature (see these instructions for Creating a Zip File on Windows or Mac) or by using a third party compression program like 7-Zip for Windows or iZip for Mac OS, for example. This enables much quicker file transfer and it preserves the integrity of your data file. If file corruption or truncation occurs during transfer, a Zip file will let us know right away that there is a problem, while a non-Zipped file may look fine initially, while in fact, may be corrupted or truncated.

File Size and Transfer Methods

Many email services do not support files over 10MB. Although our email provider allows us to send and receive files up to 20MB, we recommend using an alternate transfer method for any files over 10MB. Larger files can be more quickly and efficiently sent using our Upload Your File page or a web based file transfer service such as WeTransfer.com or Hightail.com.

Security

If you need to send a file over the internet with more security, we recommend zipping your files with password protection and encryption before transfering. If you need help encrypting your file, see our instructions on Encrypting Your File. We can also work with PGP encrypted files. We recommend that you don’t send any superfluous personal or private information in your data files (e.g., credit card numbers, account numbers, medical history, etc.) unless that information is specifically required for your project. If you are unable or unwilling to transmit your file to us via the internet, you can visit us, as we accept files from any CD/DVD or USB drive. Please contact us if you have any concerns about sending your file(s).

Text Format for Maximum Compatibility

The most widely used method of transferring data from one computer to another is as a text-delimited file (also known as an ASCII delimited file). The conversion is often a simple process for most software programs, whether Macintosh or PC. The program inserts a “delimiter” or separator character (usually a comma or tab) between each field of data. This allows the receiving computer program to know where one field ends and another begins. If you were to view a text file it would look like this:

Comma Separated
“Jim”, “Johnson”, “ABC Company”, “123 Main St # 223″, “Anytown”, “CA”, “95401″
“Sally”, “Smith”, “Acme Construction”, “999 1st Street”, “Anytown”, “NV”, “89101″
“George”, “Jones”, “101 Computers”, “101 Central Ave”, “Anytown”, “NY”, “10011″

Tab Separated
Jim→Johnson→ABC Company→123 Main St # 223→Anytown→CA→95401
Sally→Smith→Acme Construction→999 1st Street→Anytown→NV→89101
George→Jones→101 Computers→101 Central Ave→Anytown→NY→10011

How to Make the Conversion

Since software programs vary greatly, it’s difficult to explain exactly how yours will work. Here are some things to look for when extracting a mailing list from your database manager:

Usually under the “File” menu you will find a selection for either “Save As” or “Import/Export”. Upon selecting one of these options, you will likely be presented with “Save file as Type” option. Look for “Comma Delimited Text” or “Tab Separated Text” or “Text Only.”

You will also need to specify where you will save the new file you create. It’s recommended that you can choose an easy to remember location like the “Desktop.” Once the file is saved, you can either transfer the file to a physical transfer medium like a USB flash drive or you can transfer the file via the internet by emailing us or by using our file upload page.

Note: Do not format the data into “labels.” It usually doesn’t work very well and requires us to undo the format… which will cost you $$$.