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Database Basics

Listed below are guidelines for preparing your data list to meet USPS standards and personalization guidelines for variable data print:

The rule to remember is: when in doubt, give everything its own individual field in the database.

• All names and name parts are preferred to be in separate fields as separate pieces of information. DO NOT combine Last Name and Suffix, Middle Initial and First Name, or Prefix and First Name.

• Hyphenated last names should be in one field.

• Titles, such as “President/CEO”, should always be in a field by itself.

• Group, department or division name should always be in a field by itself and not part of the address fields.

• Company name should always be in a field by itself.

• Building names should appear in a field by itself, before the address fields.

• Apartment numbers, floor numbers or suite information should be placed in a field by itself, before the street address.

• City, State and Zip Code data should be in separate fields.

• When formatting states, be consistent. State abbreviations are preferred.

• If you have the zip + 4 information for your zip codes, it can be included with the 5-digit zip code. Be consistent with formatting. 12345-6789 or 123456789 are both usable, but if there are mixtures of dashes and no dashes, zip and zip + 4 information, this may cause issues with the mailing.

• Foreign addresses can be treated same as listed above with the exception of adding a country field to the file.

• Special considerations must be given when using data in personalized variable data fields. Consult with Ritter’s for review of data, direct mail pieces, and variable fields.

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