Template Tuesday Presents...how to make sure that your printer is set up properly to print perfect printer labels.
To print a perfect set of printer labels, you need to set up your printer properly. Here are the steps you need to follow to get the best possible print – every time.
Loading Your Printer Labels
Yes, even the way you load your labels can influence your print.
Gently fan your labels to separate the individual sheets and remove traces of static build-up, which can cause them to jam. Knock them together against an even surface to make sure they are perfectly aligned.
Always use the media bypass tray (if your printer has one, which it hopefully does!). This is a secondary tray, usually located just above or below the main paper tray. It has two important functions when printing labels; it is designed for thicker print media (like labels) and provides a straighter path through the printer (by bypassing at least one set of rollers), which improves the accuracy of your print.
Most bypass trays have guides along two (or three) sides to help your sheets enter the printer as straight as possible. Position the guides firmly against your sheets. Media bypass trays are not always designed for large volumes so don’t load too many sheets at a time (your printer’s manual should list the maximum volume the tray can hold). In fact, it is often best to limit the number of sheets you print in one go anyway because printing labels is a more intensive process than printing paper, which can cause printers to overheat, misfeed, or misprint over time.
If your printer offers wide and narrow edge leading loading (i.e. you can load your sheets so the wide edge or the narrow edge enters the printer first), always use narrow edge leading. Many label products have a grain running top to bottom through a portrait A4 sheet and feeding labels against this grain (i.e. wide edge leading) could cause the sheets to jam or the labels to lift.
Picking Your Print Settings
Labels are a very different print medium to paper so you’ll need to adjust how your printer prints to get the best possible print. Use “Printing Preferences” or “Printer Properties” to…
- Select an A4 page size (297mm x 210mm).
- Turn off scaling options (e.g. less than 100% or “Fit to…” options – if you have “Actual Size”, use it!).
- Turn off default settings (e.g. settings like “Ignore Printer Settings” or “Use Default/Driver Settings” should not be used).
- Select an appropriate media type and media weight. These might be listed individually or grouped together. Choose “Labels” for media type (or “Heavy Paper” if “Labels” isn’t an option). Media weights are usually listed in bands under general descriptions – e.g. “Light (60-64 gsm)” and “Heavy (105-120 gsm)”. “Heavy” is usually best but check your printer’s manual for recommended guidelines. Weights for Label Planet products are listed on our Material Specification Sheets.
NB: some labels require different print settings. For example, our SMP and SVP ranges should be printed using a standard “Paper” setting.
- Select an appropriate print quality for the level of detail in your designs. Standard print resolution is fine for text-based designs (like address labels) but you’ll need a higher resolution for images, digital artwork, and photographs.
- Set the media bypass tray as your media source (if you are using it!) and the feed direction to narrow edge leading (if available) to avoid “tray mismatch” errors.
If you have ANY doubts about which print settings to use, consult the manual and/or manufacturer’s website. Many manufacturers provide recommended guidelines for printing labels.
Before you print onto your labels proper, you should do a test print…
Next week on Template Tuesday – A Template Tuesday Top Tip – How & Why You Should Always, Always, ALWAYS Test Print Your Label Templates FIRST