Template Tuesday Presents...top tips for troubleshooting templates that cause trouble from the off!
Tip 1: Check your template is in a file format that your software can edit.
For example, a Word template (.docx) must be opened using word processing software (like Word, Word For Mac, Pages etc) and a PDF template must be opened using a graphics package (like InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop etc).
If you try to open a file format that your software cannot edit, one of two things will happen:
- If your software cannot edit OR read the file format, it won’t be able to open the template.
- If your software can read but not edit the file format, it will open the template but you won’t be able to make any changes.
Tip 2: Check if your template has been put into a “locked” state.
Files downloaded from the internet are often temporarily “locked” for security reasons. You will usually see a pop-up box or bar asking if you want to unlock the file. For example, Word displays a yellow banner at the top of the page, with an “Enable Editing” button that you must click before you can start working with that document.
Tip 3: Save standalone label templates BEFORE you start adding your design.
When downloading label templates make sure you save the template onto your device. Some downloaded files will be saved by default; others will open directly OR give you the choice of opening or saving the file. If you have the option to open or save, always select save. If your template opens directly, save a copy before you start making any changes.
Tip 4: Take care with label templates that open in “compatibility mode”.
Your software may open your template in a “compatibility” mode, which simply means some part(s) of your template are not compatible with (will not work with) your software.
You may still be able to use the template, although you may be restricted in the changes that you can make (which might prevent you from implementing your design exactly as you’d like). Your software might also offer to “convert” the file, which involves replacing the incompatible parts with (hopefully) similar alternatives that are compatible.
Converting label templates can be a risky proposition. Minor compatibility issues are easily fixed using alternative elements that make no difference to the overall setup of your template (e.g. like replacing an incompatible font). Major compatibility issues, however, may result in large alterations being made. If any of these alterations change the overall layout of your template, it will no longer create the alignment you need to print your labels.
If you convert a template ALWAYS double check that the measurements are still correct. You can either use measurement tools in your software or do a quick test print onto paper to see if your template produces the correct alignment.
We strongly recommend that you do NOT convert between different TYPES of file formats as this is extremely likely to change your template.
For example, changing a word processing file format into another word processing file format (like .doc to .docx) is likely to require minor changes, which would mean your converted template should be okay. If you change a word processing file format into page layout or graphics file format (like .pub or .pdf), it is more than likely that major changes will be required and you will likely end up with a converted template that is useless.
Tip 5: Check your template opens up as a SINGLE sheet of A4.
If you are printing A4 sheets of labels, your template should open on a SINGLE A4 page. If it splits onto two pages, you will not get the alignment you need when you try to print your labels. There are two common causes:
- You have accidentally added content (like a line of text) at the top of your template. For example, in Word templates, you can easily accidentally add a line of text at the top of your template, which pushes everything downwards (and onto a second page). Move your cursor to the top of your template and left click once. If this creates a flashing text cursor then you do have a blank line (or lines) at the top of your template. Use the delete or backspace keys on your keyboard to delete these lines.
- Your template uses measurements that are smaller than those allowed by your software and it has resized your template to the minimum measurements supported by your software.
For example, Word templates represent labels using a table. Pages has a larger minimum table row height compared to Word. If your labels have gaps that are less than 2.8mm (and these are represented in your Word template), when you open that Word template in Pages, it will automatically replace those smaller rows with rows that are 2.8mm – increasing the overall height of your template and pushing it onto two pages.
You will need to delete the rows that represent the gaps between the rows of labels and account for those gaps in the height of the rows that represent the labels themselves.
Tip 6: Make sure you have Table Gridlines turned on in Word.
Word templates represent labels using a table; if you open a Word template and can’t see the outlines of your labels (which should be represented using dotted grey lines), Table Gridlines are turned off. To turn them back on:
- Word 2007 onwards: left click once anywhere in the middle of the page. Additional Table Tools tabs should appear at the top of the window. Click on the Table Tools “Layout” tab and click “View Gridlines” (usually on the left side).
- Word 2003: click on the “Table Menu” tab and click “Show Gridlines”.
- Word for Mac 2016: click once anywhere in the middle of the page. Select the “Layout” tab (next to the “Table Design” tab), and click “View Gridlines”.
- Word for Mac 2011: click once anywhere in the middle of the page. Select the “Table Layout” tab, find the group called “Settings”, and click “Gridlines”.
Next Week On Template Tuesday – A Template Tuesday Top Tip (Sketch Your Design Before Doing Anything With Label Templates)