Many commonly asked questions are answered below. Just click on a link below and the answer will display below it. If you have questions that aren't answered here, feel free to contact us.


Many commonly asked questions are answered below. Just click on a link below and the answer will display below it. If you have questions that aren't answered here, feel free to contact us.


How do I prepare my mailing list for you?

Our most preferred type of file to receive would be an Excel spreadsheet or Comma-Separated list, as our first step in preparing mail is to put all lists into Excel before they go into our mail processing software. But, if your file is not in this format, DON'T WORRY! We are experts at handling all file types, and can easily convert your file to our format. Even if you are submitting multiple files, and each is a different format, DON'T WORRY, we can handle it!

What file formats do you accept for mailing lists?

We gladly accept virtually every Mac & PC database, text, or spreadsheet file format, including any version of:

  • Microsoft: Access, Excel, Word, Outlook, Publisher, Powerpoint
  • FileMaker Pro
  • Corel: Word Perfect, Quatro Pro
  • Notepad: (or any other basic text editor) .TXT files
  • Tab- or Comma-Separated files (Mac or PC) .CSV files

Download a sample.xls spreadsheet of data layout

What will you do with any poorly formatted addresses from my list?

The first step in reducing postage cost is to make sure the address records of your mailing list are within the standards set by the U.S. Postal Service. Complete Mailing Service uses CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) certified software approved by the USPS. We repair recognizable addresses that are incorrect, and standardize them to meet these USPS specifications.

Can you clean our mailing list that includes duplicate and similar addresses?

Yes. Your lists will be combined (merged), and the names and addresses that appear more than once will be removed (purged). This gives you a clean list, so you don't waste money mailing to duplicate records. Complete Mailing Service's cutting-edge merge/purge software standardizes and corrects all possible addresses in your lists, then creates a special merge/purge sequence to eliminate the true duplicates and keep the good addresses.

What can you do to identify customers that have changed their address?

NCOA (National Change of Address) uses data updated by the U.S. Postal Service every week to identify individuals, families and businesses that move. Complete Mailing Service will apply current NCOA data to your list to identify and correct people who have moved.

We have large volume mailing needs. Can you handle our unique requirements?

Absolutely! Complete Mailing Service has multiple stations to process your list and address your mailing. We have more than one of nearly every piece of equipment here, effectively doubling our output. We can handle your project twice as fast!

Do you offer mailing services on items not printed with you?

Of course! Though combining printing and mailing with us is an excellent way to reduce costs, we are happy to just address your piece once delivered to us. Please call us if you have questions.

Will you warehouse and mail our products?

Yes. We are a full service mailing and order fulfillment company.

We have a mailing project that needs to be done ASAP. Can you help us?

Yes. Our digital printer is perfect for your quick runs and those unexpected projects that need to be shipped tomorrow. We are happy to provide rush services, just let us know!

Do I have to fill out a Processing Acknowledgement Form (USPS PAF form)?

Yes. You may have received from us a request to fill out a PAF form. We are required by the USPS to keep this form on file if we presort lists and prepare mailings for you. This form is good for one year. Complete instructions and the form are included in the following PDF. Please let us know if you have any questions about it.

Download the Processing Acknowledgement Form PDF

Do you have design templates that show placement of mailing address information?

Yes, we do! Thanks for asking. The USPS has very specific guidelines for placement of mailing address information. Use these templates below as a guide for creating your mailing piece or feel free to download the Mailing Templates PDF. Give us a call at 831-425-5556 if you have questions about your project, or email Austin (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a PDF of your design for feedback.

Mailing Templates

Can I get preprinted postage permits?

Yes, you can. Many mail pieces can be designed with the postage already on them. Permits are used in place of stamps or metering strips, and can be incorporated in the design of your piece, or printed on when we address your mailing. Permit types include:

  • Presorted First Class Indicia
  • Presorted
  • First Class Indicia (no presort)
  • First Class
  • Non-profit Indicia
  • Non-Profit Org
  • Standard Mail Indicia
  • Prest. Std.

Call us if you have questions.

What file formats do you need for Design Projects?

We gladly accept virtually every Mac & PC design file format, including any version of:

  • Adobe: Acrobat, Illustrator, InDesign, PageMaker, Photoshop
  • Claris: Works
  • Corel: Bryce, Draw, Lotus, PhotoPaint, Ventura, WordPerfect
  • Macromedia: Fireworks, Freehand
  • Microsoft: Excel, Home Publishing, PhotoDraw, Powerpoint, Publisher, Word, Works
  • Quark: Xpress
  • Also: .EPS, .JPEG & .TIF file

What is the best way to submit files to Complete Mail Service?

Currently, the quickest way for us to receive files is for you to email them to Austin (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We can accept any version of compressed files (.zip, .sea, .sitx, .rar, etc...). Large files (over 15MB) should be snail-mailed or delivered on a disk (CD, DVD, Zip) or flash drive. You can also use one of the websites to mail big files (ie: to send us your files. We will be implementing an FTP drop site soon.

Do you charge to check Change of Address through the NCOAlink?

No we don't. We are required to run every mailing list that gets presorted through the NCOAlink (National Change of Address) process, unless there is documentation that the NCOAlink process has been run on your list within the last 90 days. The NCOAlink process checks the addresses in your mailing list against the ones maintained by the USPS to see if there are move updates. If a match is made because an individual, family, or business has moved, we are provided with the updated information. If a move has been made, and there is no updated information available because the move occurred more than 18 months ago, the addresses are flagged and we will not mail to them. This saves you money on postage by not mailing to addresses that are undeliverable.

We offer this service FREE to all customers that mail with us. In addition, we will provide you with a spreadsheet of the addresses that are updated or deleted as a result of running the NCOAlink process. This lets you know who in your list will not receive your mailing, and provides you with the updated information so you can maintain your mailing list database.

Let us know if you have questions on the NCOAlink process and what it does, or with the names you have received back from us with the updates.

Further Reading:

Over 40 million Americans change their address annually, which creates formidable obstacles in maintaining a high-quality mailing list. The NCOALink process makes change-of-address information available to mailers to help reduce undeliverable mail pieces before mail enters the mail stream.

The NCOALink process consists of computer software purchased, leased or developed by the licensee to access the NCOALink data. The Postal Service certifies the process and licenses the NCOALink product to private sector companies for commercial mail list processing or internal mail list management. Updated, computerized change-of-address information is provided on a regular basis to the NCOALink licensees by the Postal Service. The NCOALink process improves mail deliverability by providing mailers with current, standardized, delivery point coded addresses for individual, family, and business moves.

Input address information must first be standardized to conform to USPS® requirements, including the ZIP + 4® code. An attempt is made to match each name and address against the NCOALink product. Address change information is derived from the PS Form 3575, Change-of-Address Order, filed by relocating postal customers. If a match is made with the name and old address information in the NCOALink file, then the NCOALink licensee is permitted to provide the current move information (new address or undeliverable status) to update the mailing list.

NCOALink helps reduce undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mail by correcting input addresses prior to mailing. Since 1986, Move Update predecessors such as ACSTM Service, National Change of Address (NCOA) and the FASTforward® system have saved mailers millions of dollars that otherwise would have been wasted in materials and postage. NCOALink continues this trend and, like its predecessors, provides the following benefits to mailers:

  • Reduces undeliverable mail by providing the most current address information for matches made to the NCOALink file
  • Prevents re-mailings after address corrections are received because the address correction is applied prior to the mailing
  • Reduces mailer costs by reducing the number of undeliverable mail pieces by using most current address information
  • Provides the opportunity for faster product/service marketing through accurate mail delivery

In addition to change-of-address information, NCOALink also utilizes Return Codes to provide explanation of match and non-match status. Return Codes which indicate that a match was obtained are accompanied by a new address or undeliverable status. Return Codes which indicate a match was not obtained provide the reason a match could not be made to the NCOALink file. The analysis of Return Codes can help the mailer determine the deliverability of specific address records.