Monday, January 11, 2010

Generate index cards from your Excel 2007 backlog

You have captured all your user stories in Excel 2007 and now you want to print them out as index cards. Follow these steps in Word 2007.

First, create the word document and select your data
1. Make sure you have headings in your excel document. Example: User Story, Points, User Story ID
2. Open Word 2007 and create a new document
3. Go to the "Mailings" tab
4. Click "Start Mail Merge" and select "Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard"
5. Click "Select Recipients" and select "Use Existing List"
6. Select your excel file and then the name of the sheet (eg. 'Sheet1$')

Second, setup your index cards
7. In the "Mail Merge" window (usually on the right), select the "Labels" document type and click "Next: Starting document" at the bottom.
8. Click "Label options…" to choose create a custom label size for your index cards
9. Click "New Label…"
10. Use the following settings for 4 index cards per page:
○ Label name: "Index Cards"
○ Top margin: 1.5 cm
○ Side margin: 0.6 cm
○ Vertical pitch: 13 cm
○ Horizontal pitch: 10 cm
○ Page size: Letter (8 1/2 x 11 in)
○ Label height: 12 cm
○ Label width: 9 cm
○ Number across: 2
○ Number down: 2
11. Click OK (Note - you can now re-use the new "Index Cards" label format the next time you print index cards. Look under "Product Number" on the "Label Options" window)
12. Click OK again to close the "Label Options" window

Now we add data to the index cards
13. Click "Next: Select recipients"
14. If you want to select only some of your stories, use the check box column to do so. Click OK.
15. The page should now show four labels, with the first one blank and the other three containing "<>"
16. Click "Next: Arrange your labels"
17. In the blank label, add the static text you want to display. I like to show Story ID, Points and the User Story on the card, but you can display whatever information is relevant for your project and process.
17. To add the fields from your product backlog, place the cursor where your field should go and click "More Items". Select the field you want to add and click "Insert". Repeat for any additional fields
18. Now format your fields (bold, size, positioning etc) within the first label.
19. When you are finished, click the "Update all labels" button to move your formatting to all the index cards.
20. Click "Next: Preview your labels". At this point, you should have four index cards per page populated with your stories.
21. Click "Next: Complete the merge"
22. Now print your index cards! (make sure they are not printing double sided…)

Bonus Tip: Use the "Scotch Glue Stick Restickable Adhesive" to turn your index cards into reusable sticky notes.

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