Template Tuesday Presents...how to fix (and avoid) the five main causes of misaligned label templates.
Last week, we listed five main causes of misaligned label templates. This week, we’ll teach you how to fix (and avoid) them for problem-free printing.
Misaligned Label Templates – Printer’s Starting Print Position
Misalignment Problem: All your sticky labels are misaligned in the SAME direction by the SAME amount.
Fix The Problem: Adjust the page margins of your label template.
In Word, click on the “Layout” tab at the top of the page. Click on “Margins” and select “Custom Margins” from the list. If you are using a PDF template, the method depends on the software you are using. Consult the supplier’s website/forum for advice if you aren’t sure how to change page margins.
Adjust the TOP and/or LEFT margins as follows when your designs print out:
- High: increase the top margin
- Low: decrease the top margin
- Too far left: increase the left margin
- Too far right: decrease the left margin
It’s best to measure the misalignment and adjust your margins by that amount. Do a test print onto paper after changing your margins and compare the test print to your sheet labels to see if the issue is fixed. If not, alter the margins a bit more and test print your template again. Repeat until the misalignment is no more!
Avoid The Problem: Unless you know where your printer’s starting print position is, it’s difficult to determine if it is likely to cause a problem without printing your template. Avoid wasting your self adhesive labels by test printing your label template onto paper to check for this issue BEFORE using your sheet labels.
Misaligned Label Templates – Printer’s Print Settings
Misalignment Problem: The misalignment gets worse as you look down, across, or out from the centre of your sheet. Some labels may be aligned; usually the misalignment gets worse moving away from the correctly printed ones.
Fix The Problem: Check your printer’s print settings (usually called Printing Preferences, Printer Properties, or Print Settings) are set up correctly:
- The page size must be A4 (definitely not American Letter/Letter).
- No scaling options should be applied. This could be a percentage less than 100% or “Fit To” options – like Fit To Sheet or Fit To Page. If you are printing a PDF template and there is an “Actual Size” option, use it to prevent scaling problems.
- No options such as “Ignore Printer Settings” or “Use Default/Driver Settings” should be selected. These ignore any specific print settings you select and use the default settings stored in the printer driver instead (which may not be the ones you need).
Out of date printer drivers can also cause alignment issues. Run the software updater on your device to ensure that you have the most up to date driver installed. If your printer has its own software, you can use this to check for updates.
Avoid The Problem: Check your printer’s settings BEFORE you print.
Misaligned Label Templates – Wrong Label Templates
Misalignment Problem: None of the designs align correctly. There may be a pattern to the misalignment if you use a very slightly different template.
Fix The Problem: Double check that you are using the correct label template. If you downloaded a template from our website, check the file name displayed at the top of your screen. It should contain the same size code as your sticky labels. For example, to print LP40/45 REM, you need a label template with LP40/45 in the file name.
If you sourced a label template elsewhere you will need to verify with the source that you have the correct template. Alternatively, check the measurements of the template to double check they match your self adhesive labels – including a page size of A4.
In Word, the page size can be found by clicking on the Layout tab and selecting Size. Check the measurements of the template by left clicking inside the table used to represent your blank labels. This will bring up an additional Table Tools Layout tab at the top of the page. Click on Properties to view the measurements used for each row/column/cell.
Graphics packages will also indicate the size of each element (label) within your template as well as provide Document Properties – which should include the page size.
Avoid The Problem: Take care when selecting your label templates! All of our label sizes have their own template information page, which contain detailed measurement information.
Misaligned Label Templates – Unhelpful Autocorrect
Misalignment Problem: Depends on how your template has been resized. It is often similar in appearance to scaling misalignments. If the resizing has been applied equally to each row or column it creates an accumulating effect, causing the misalignment to get gradually worse.
Fix The Problem: Double check the measurements of your label template. Check the measurements of Word label templates using the Properties tool in the Table Tools Layout tab. Graphics packages should also allow you to view the measurements of the items within your label template.
You can measure your sheet labels to find out what size your template should be using OR, if you have ordered from Label Planet, you can visit the relevant template information page to view detailed measurements of your sticky labels.
Adjust your label template to undo the effects of any autocorrected measurements that you find.
Avoid The Problem: Try to copy and paste content that is the right size to begin with so your software won’t feel the need to adjust your template for you.
Misaligned Label Template – Manufacturing Tolerances
Misalignment Problem: Depends on the measurements of your sheet labels. Given that variations will most likely be repeated, there will probably be a pattern to the misalignment. If it is just the margins that are affected, all of your designs will be printed slightly too high/low/left/right. If it is the size of the labels themselves that is slightly off, the alignment will most likely get worse as you look down or across the page.
Fix The Problem: Measure your sheet labels to determine if they differ slightly from the stated measurements.
If the margins are the issue, alter the page margins of your label template as described above. If the size of the labels themselves (OR the gaps between the labels) is the issue, adjust the measurements of your label template to make it match your sheet labels.
Avoid The Problem: This is tricky to avoid unless you take the time to measure your self adhesive labels before printing your label template. We recommend test printing label templates to check for this misalignment issue without wasting your sticky labels.
Next Week On Template Tuesday: How To? – Improve The Alignment Of Your Label Templates Using Your Printer