Learn about the differences between the two types of label templates: standalone and built-in.
Label Templates – What Is A Standalone Template & What Is A Built-In Template?
A standalone template is an individual FILE, while a built-in template is part of a piece of SOFTWARE.
STANDALONE LABEL TEMPLATES: these individual files must be opened using software / an application. They are commonly used for A4 sheets of self adhesive labels, although they can be used for other formats, including roll labels. The A4 format represents the layout of all of the blank labels on a single A4 sheet.
Word label templates use a table to represent the layout of a sheet of blank labels; the cells of the table represent the blank labels and any gaps between the rows and/or columns of blank labels. This means that they can only represent label sheets in the form of a grid of rectangles or squares. They cannot show the outline of different shapes, such as round labels / circular labels or oval labels. PDF label templates use a background layer, which shows the outline of each blank label on an A4 sheet.
BUILT-IN LABEL TEMPLATES: these are built-in to a piece of software / application. They may show the layout of an A4 sheet of blank labels OR they may show the outline of a single label, which is then printed onto all of the blank labels on a sheet or roll (this is most commonly seen in design software / label design software).
Built-in label templates are also present in non-design software. A common example is Microsoft Word, which contains label templates compatible with a range of brand name label products. These, like standalone Word label templates, use a table to represent an A4 sheet of sticky labels.
Label Templates – What Are The Benefits & Drawbacks Of The Two Types Of Label Templates?
Generally speaking, there are two key differences between the two types of label templates: compatibility and availability.
Compatibility of Label Templates
Built-in label templates are part of your software, which means you won’t run into compatibility problems. Software often fails to detect that standalone files are actually templates and may not recognise all of the elements within these files. Most software will attempt to recreate standalone files as closely as possible using the tools available. This can result in inaccurate measurements and may prevent you from changing specific elements within the template. Alternatively, it may attempt a conversion process – changing your template from its original file format into a native file format. Again, this may not convert the measurements or features of your template accurately.
A file format is the technical standard used to encode information so it can be stored in a computer file. Word files use .docx and PDF files use .pdf file, while image files use a variety of formats including .jpg and .png. The “native” file format is the default format used by your software. Most software can open and/or edit – and convert to/from – a number of formats).
Built-in label templates will also work perfectly with the tools and functions available within your chosen software. This may include specific label design tools, which allow you to create designs quickly using preformatted options, tools, and menus. With a standalone label template, some features may not be available / work properly – because your software doesn’t recognise your file as a template and so doesn’t know how to apply those tools to specific elements within your template.
This may limit the accuracy and detail you can produce in a standalone label template. You may also be limited by standalone templates if non-design software is being used for design purposes – because non-design software is unlikely to have advanced design features like those found in design software / applications.
Availability of Label Templates
Standalone label templates, however, have the edge when it comes to availability. With built-in label templates, you are limited to the options available within your chosen software. This might not be an issue if your software contains a vast list of label sizes and layouts (or gives you the opportunity to create templates based on custom measurements). However, a limited list of options might just make your built-in templates useless.
Many built-in templates use product lists from label manufacturers that actually offer far fewer label sizes and layouts than are commonly available elsewhere. This means that you might not be able to find a suitable label template amongst the built-in options. Another issue is that some software will only feature templates based on US standards, including measurements given in inches and a page size of American Letter.
Standalone label templates are often available in a much larger range of label sizes and layouts – AND may be available in a range of file formats and template formats. For example, at Label Planet, we provide standalone label templates in both Word and PDF file formats, as well as a range of template formats including portrait and landscape orientations and bleed templates.
Label Templates – Which One Should I Use?
Ultimately, it is up to you to choose a suitable label template. If you can find a suitable built-in label template in software that you are familiar with and comfortable using, then a built-in template is a good place to start.
If your software doesn’t offer a compatible template then you will need to source a standalone alternative. Remember, here at Label Planet, we supply free standalone label templates for all of our label sizes. Visit our Label Templates Section; select your label shape and label size to view all of the template options and download links.