Template Tuesday Presents...how to avoid compatibility problems with label templates.
Label templates can be troublesome at the best of times – but templates with compatibility issues are a sure sign of problems to come. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to help avoid compatibility problems.
Why Is Compatibility Such A Big Problem For Label Templates?
In the labelling word, the word “compatible” crops up a LOT. Compatibility is extremely important when it comes to printing labels – from the labels themselves, to the printer, software, and template used to print those labels.
For example, your labels need to be compatible with the type of printer you intend to use (or vice versa). Your label templates need to be compatible with your labels AND the software you intend to use to print those labels.
In this context, compatible means that the two items will work together / can be used together without problems or conflict.
In other words, if your label templates aren’t compatible with your labels or your software, they won’t be of any use in designing and printing your labels properly.
Choosing a label template that is compatible with your labels is relatively straightforward; you simply need to make sure the measurements of the template match those of your labels.
Slightly more complicated is making sure that your label template is compatible with your software.
What Causes Compatibility Problems Between Label Templates & Software?
There are a number of factors that can cause compatibility issues but the key factor is the file format of your label template. This is the technical standard used to encode information for storage in a computer file. Your template must use a file format that your software can read (open) and edit (change) for you to be able to use that template.
It is not enough for your software to be able to just read a file – this will only allow you to view a label template without making any changes, like adding a design.
However, even when your software CAN read and edit a particular file format, you can still run into compatibility issues. This might be because of an issue during the download process (e.g. file corruption) or because your software is a different version of the software used to create the template / is different software altogether.
For example, if a template is created using Software Version 3 and you open it in Software Version 2, your version 2 software might not have elements or tools that were added to version 3 – and used to make your template. Likewise, word processing software ABC could be used to make a template using elements or tools that are not available in word processing software DEF – so while you can open and edit the template with DEF, there could be some compatibility issues.
The essential problem is that most label templates are standalone files that you download from an external source (e.g. the Label Planet website). Your software will recognise these as external files and will therefore process all of the elements in the file to ensure that they are compatible. In other words, if a template isn’t an existing part of your software or isn’t a file that you created yourself, your software is going to analyse every element within that template – and complain about anything that it doesn’t recognise.
For minor compatibility issues, your software will usually be able to put your file through a conversion process – replacing the incompatible parts with the closest possible equivalents that it can offer.
A common example is fonts. For example, a template set up in Software A uses Font B. When that template is opened in Software C (which does not contain Font B but does contain Font D), Software C cannot recognise Font B (as it is incompatible) BUT can detect that it is a font and so converts Font B into Font D.
You need to keep a careful eye on changes made during the conversion process. Swapping one font for another is unlikely to do any damage BUT if the measurements of the template are changed (or any formatting options relating to the spacing and arrangement of the template are altered), you may find that your converted template is no long compatible with your labels. If your software converts a template file, always double check the measurements to ensure that they are still correct.
So, how do you make sure that your software has checked for compatibility issues and problems? After all, you don’t want to spend hours perfecting your design, only to find out that your software won’t save or print your template properly (or even save / print it at all) because of a compatibility problem.
The simplest way is to use your software to open the label template itself in the first place.
Avoiding Compatibility Problems When Opening Label Templates
When you download a label template, a copy is either saved directly to your Downloads folder OR you will be asked if you want to open or save the file. Occasionally, a copy of the template will be automatically opened.
We always recommend that you save a copy of a label template – and avoid working with templates that open directly (at least without saving a copy first). This is because directly opening a template (as opposed to opening a saved copy) won’t always highlight compatibility issues – and can result in you working on a template that you won’t be able to print and/or save properly.
Saving a copy of a label template, however, tends to give you two opportunities to catch compatibility issues. First, your device has to save a copy of the file. File corruption during the download process and major compatibility issues can prevent files from saving properly – giving you your first indication that there is an issue with the template.
Second, you can then start your software up and use your software to open your template (usually this is done using File > Open menu options). This will mean that your software is already up and running – and ready to check for compatibility issues as it opens the file. Opening a saved file tends to be a more efficient and smooth process, compared to opening a file from an external online source.
Next Week On Template Tuesday: Troubleshooting Tips That Are Troublesome From The Start!