We get a lot of enquiries about label templates from the US so here's a post all abot American labels & label templates.
To all of our American visitors - Welcome To Label Planet!
While, unfortunately, we don't sell label products suitable for use in the US, we do have plenty of advice if you're struggling to find help on how to deal with a troublesome template.
In the post, we explain:
- The difference between labels (and label templates) in the UK and the US
- How to create US label templates in Word
- How to fix misaligned label templates (US version)
Scroll down to read about each of these topics or click on the heading you are interested in to jump ahead to that section.
Labels and label templates in the UK and US differ for two reasons:
- The two countries use different standards for sheets of paper.
The most common sheet size in the UK is A4 (210 by 297mm or 8.27 by 11.69 inches).
The most common sheet size in the US is American Letter/Letter (216 by 279mm or 8½ x 11 inches).
- The two countries use different systems of measurements.
In the UK, label products tend to be measured using millimetres (mm).
In the US, label products are measured using inches (“).
Sheet size tends to determine standard label sizes. So, when you have different sheet sizes (and different units of measurements), the resulting “standard label sizes” can be quite different.
When it comes to creating and fixing label templates, however, the solutions are the same!
First, you will need to know these measurements:
- Page size
- Page margins
- Label width / height
- Horizonal pitch (label width + gap between columns)
- Vertical pitch (label height + gap between rows)
- Number of labels per row and column
The simplest way to create label templates in Word is to use Word’s Create Labels tool.
- Open a blank document. Click on the Mailings tab and select Labels.
- In the Envelopes and Labels dialogue box, click on Options.
- In the Label Options dialogue box, click on New Label.
- In the Label Details dialogue box, enter your measurements – we recommend this order:
Page Size (and orientation) – e.g. Letter portrait.
Labels Across & Labels Down – number of labels per column / row.
Label Width & Label Height – for round labels, enter the diameter into both fields.
Horizontal Pitch & Vertical Pitch – if there are no gaps, just enter the label width or height.
Top Margin & (Left) Side Margin – from the edge of the sheet to the edge of the first row / column of labels.
Note: if Word takes issue with your measurements at this point, set both margins to 0 and re-enter your measurements as above.
- Name your template and click OK; you will be returned to the Label Options dialogue box.
- Click OK; you will be returned to the Envelopes and Labels dialogue box.
- Click on New Document to create your label template.
Note: your template should appear as dotted grey lines. If you cannot see these outlines, Table Gridlines are turned off. Click to place your cursor in the middle of the page. Click on the Table Tools Layout tab and click on “View Gridlines”.
There are two main types of misalignment when it comes to printing label templates. One has a simple solution, while the other has multiple causes – which means it also has multiple solutions.
So, if your template is printing out wrong, first you need to identify the type of misalignment.
All of my designs are misaligned in the SAME DIRECTION by the SAME AMOUNT
This is usually caused by your printer’s starting print position. You can fix your template’s alignment by adjusting the page margins as follows:
- Designs are too high – increase the top page margin
- Designs are too low – decrease the top page margin
- Designs are too far left – increase the left page margin
- Designs are too far right – decrease the left page margin.
In Word, click on the Layout tab. Select Margins and Custom Margins, then adjust the margins as needed.
The misalignment gets GRADUALLY WORSE OR BETTER down/across/out from the centre
This can be caused by using the wrong print settings, software settings, template, or labels. Try these troubleshooting steps:
Printer Settings & Print Driver
Go into your printer’s print settings (Printer Properties / Printing Preferences) and check that:
- The page size is American Letter/Letter.
- No scaling options are applied. Print at 100% or “Actual Size”. “Fit to” or “Resize to” options should be turned off.
- Make sure options such as “Ignore Printer Settings” or “Use Default/Driver Settings” are turned off.
If your printer has a manual menu panel, use it to double check that the correct options are being used.
You should use the media bypass tray (if your printer has one) to print labels. Make sure you select the correct tray BEFORE checking the remaining print settings.
Finally, make sure your printer has the most recent print driver installed by:
- Running your device’s main update tool (e.g. Windows Updates / Mac App Store)
- Running software supplied with your printer, using your printer’s menu panel, or visiting the manufacturer's website.
If you are using a graphics package (e.g. Photoshop, InDesign), print your completed template from simpler software (e.g. Adobe Reader).
If you are using Word, check the Page Setup and Print Options being used.
PAGE SETUP (File > Print > Page Setup)
Click on the Paper tab and check that:
- The paper size is correct (i.e. American Letter / Letter).
- The correct paper source is selected (this is the tray you will use to print your labels).
PRINT OPTIONS (File > Options)
Click on Advanced, scroll down to the Print section, and check that:
- "Scale content for A4 paper sizes” is turned off
- “Print pages in reverse order” is turned off
- The “Default tray” setting is set to “Use printer settings”.
Label & Template Mismatch
Double check that you are using the correct template and labels. Use a ruler to measure your labels (and any gaps/margins). Most software will indicate the relevant measurements of your templates.
View our step by step How To video to learn how to work out what is going wrong with misaligned label templates.
View our step by step How To video to learn how to fix misaligned label templates.
Visit our Label Templates home page for more help and advice.