Read our definition of printer drivers and why they matter when it comes to aligning templates.
At Label Planet, we're always on hand to offer help and advice on designing and printing labels. One piece of advice that often we give to customers struggling with the alignment of their label templates is to check that their printer’s driver is up to date. In this blog post, we’ll explain just what a printer driver is and why it matters to the alignment of your label templates.
Label Templates & Printer Drivers – What Is A Printer Driver?
Basically, a printer driver is a piece of system software that allows your computer to interact with your printer. It translates instructions sent from your operating system or application software into a form/language that your printer can “understand” – allowing it to respond properly to those instructions.
There are many different types of software and printer models, each of which may have its own way of encoding data. To allow almost any software and printer to communicate there needs to be a translator between the two – the printer driver serves this purpose.
One of the tasks performed by a printer driver is to convert your document (i.e. your label template) into a Page Description Language that your printer can “read”. These languages describe the content on a page and how that content is arranged. This is done in the form of a series of geometric lines and shapes that can be described using mathematical equations.
Another task is to communicate the print settings that your printer should use when printing your document. This could be a default set of print settings, such as those stored in the printer driver itself. Alternatively, it could be a selection of settings that you have purposely selected to print a particular document. Print settings include the page size and any scaling options applied to your document – getting these wrong will ruin the alignment of label templates in an instant. They also include the way in which your printer functions when printing onto different print medium. Printing self adhesive labels requires a more specialised mode of printing compared to standard sheets of paper.
Label Templates & Printer Drivers – Why Does The Printer Driver Matter?
Essentially, the printer driver tells your printer WHAT to print and HOW to print it.
This is why it is important to keep your printer driver up to date. An out of date printer driver may not translate instructions from your computer/software correctly. This will cause all sorts of alignment and print quality issues for any print job. This can be especially problematic with label templates where each design needs to neatly align with a blank label.
Label Templates & Printer Drivers – How do You Check If Your Printer Driver Is Up To Date?
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to check that you have the most up to date printer driver installed.
Simply run your device’s software update tool and it should check for any new versions of your printer driver.
For Windows devices you simply run Windows Updates and for Mac devices you run App Store Updates.
If your printer came with its own software, it may include a tool to check for updates. You can use this instead of your device’s software update tool. You can also go to the manufacturer’s website; most will include downloads of their latest printer drivers on their support pages.