How To? – Improve The Alignment Of Your Label Templates Using Your Printer

August 14th, 2018

Did you know – you can actually improve the alignment when printing label templates simply by making the most of your printer’s specifications, special features, and print settings.

label templates misalignment problems

Printing Label Templates – Printer Specifications

It matters whether or not your printer was designed for printing self adhesive labels. This doesn’t mean that you need a “label printer” – i.e. a printer designed only for printing self adhesive labels. You simply need to know that self adhesive labels are ONE of the media types your printer can process.

Printers designed with self adhesive labels in mind will have specifications that suit the slightly different printing process required to print sheets of sticky labels compared to other print media – such as paper, card, envelopes, photograph paper etc.

you can find your printer’s specification in its manual or on the website of the manufacturer/supplier.

Printers designed to handle self adhesive labels and/or thicker print media will always produce higher quality print and alignment when printing label templates. Multifunction (e.g. “all-in-one”) and dedicated application printers (e.g. “photo printers”) that can only process paper or specific print media may not be able to print label templates accurately – if at all.

Ideally, you want a dedicated printer that lists self adhesive labels as a media type that it can print.

Printing Label Templates – Printer Special Features

Printers designed to print self adhesive labels will have various features that allow it to perform this particular function.

Perhaps the most important feature is the presence of a media bypass tray. This is a secondary tray that usually sits just above or below the main paper tray. The main paper tray is designed to handle standard sheets of paper. The media bypass tray is designed specifically to process thicker media – like self adhesive labels. It also offers a straighter path through the printer – by bypassing at least one set of rollers. This reduces the chances of sheets rotating as they are pulled through the printer.

To make the most of your media bypass tray, you should load your sheet labels carefully. First, fan them out to disperse any static build up. Next, tap them gently against a solid, level surface (like a desk) to make sure the sheets make a neat stack. Load them into the media bypass tray and make sure they are perfectly straight. Finally, position the tray guides firmly and levelly against the edges of your sheets. This helps to ensure that every sheet is drawn into the printer evenly, reducing the chances of your sheets rotating as they are printed.

Please note: you should also follow these steps even if your printers doesn’t have a media bypass tray!

Printing Label Templates – Print Settings

Finally, the print settings you choose also influence how well (or not) your designs align on your sticky labels.

First, make sure you don’t have any size or scaling options applied. Go into Printer Properties or Printing Preferences to check that:

  • The Page Size is A4.
  • No scaling options are selected (including a percentage less than 100% or “Fit To…” options, such as Fit To Sheet or Fit To Page).
  • No options such as “Ignore Printer Settings” or “Use Driver Settings”/“Use Default Settings” are selected.

Next, select an appropriate print setting for the media type you are printing. Some printers offer a specific “Labels” print setting. If your printer doesn’t offer this option, use the most suitable alternative – such as “Heavy Paper”.

In laser printers, these settings cause your printer to use more heat and run more slowly. This helps the toner to bond more effectively with your sticky labels and reduces the chances of sheet rotation and misalignment. Inkjet printers will also run differently to allow the inks to dry more efficiently in place.

Some printers will allow you to choose specific print settings for the print media AND the print weight/thickness, while others combine these settings together.

You may also have a print quality option, which determines the level of printer resolution. Generally, these settings have descriptive names, such as Fine, Best, Normal, Good, and Draft. Selecting a higher printer resolution will cause your printer to run more slowly, improving the accuracy of alignment you can achieve.

Next Week On Template Tuesday: How To? – How To? – How To Improve The Quality & Alignment Of Printed Label Templates Using Print Settings

How To? – How To Correct Misaligned Label Templates

August 7th, 2018

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.

label templates misalignment problems

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 are using a compatible Avery code, visit the relevant template information page to check you are using the correct code. Click on the “Label Templates And Printing Information” link on the relevant product page OR head over to our Label Templates section.

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 contains compatible label templates and Avery codes (where applicable), along with 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

Label Template Alignment Issues 101

July 31st, 2018

Pressing print and discovering that your label template is woefully misaligned is the stuff of nightmares – especially when you can’t figure out exactly why your label template is so badly misaligned. In this post, we’ll take you through the five main causes of misaligned label templates – and how to identify which one is causing your template troubles.

label templates misalignment problems

The Five Main Causes Of Misaligned Label Templates

The five main causes of alignment issues when you print a label template are :

  • The printer’s starting print position
  • The printer’s print settings
  • The wrong label template
  • Unhelpful autocorrect
  • Manufacturing tolerances

Each one of these causes produces a particular sort of misalignment, which means that you can identify which issue is causing your particular template troubles.

Misaligned Label Templates – Printer’s Starting Print Position

Standard desktop printers do NOT print the full area of an A4 sheet. This creates an unprintable area or border around the edges of sheet labels that cannot be printed. It also creates a specific point in the top left corner that becomes the starting point for where your printer can actually print.

This starting point varies slightly from printer to printer. Some printers give you the option to adjust the starting print position – but most don’t.

The starting point of your printer may cause your design to be misaligned because your printer starts adding your design at a point that is slightly lower/higher thn or to the left/right of the first sticky label on each sheet.

  • Type Of Misalignment Caused: all of your sticky labels will be misaligned in the SAME direction by the SAME amount.
  • Solution: adjust the page margins of your label template.

Misaligned Label Templates – Printer’s Print Settings

Print settings (also known as Printer Properties / Printing Preferences) can also cause misalignment issues. We call these scaling misalignments because your printer is trying to scale your template onto a page size larger or smaller than A4.

Like many people, you may be tempted to assume that your printer is using the correct print settings. And for the most part, it probably will be. The problem is that there are situations where your printer may default to a different set of print settings. The most common examples are:

a) printers reusing print settings from the previous print job.

b) printers defaulting to settings stored in the printer driver.

The first example is less common; generally speaking, most people print onto A4 all the time. The second example is much more common. Printers may default to driver print settings on a number of occasions. Common examples include anytime updates are applied to your operating system, software, or print drivers.

A lot of software used in the UK has ties to American companies. Printers may therefore default to “American” settings, which include a page size called “Letter” or “American Letter”. This is the page size used in the US; it has a slightly larger width and a smaller height than A4.

  • Type Of Misalignment Caused: the misalignment gets worse as you move down, across, or out from the centre of your sheet. Some labels may be aligned; usually the misalignment will get worse moving away from these correctly printed ones.
  • Solution: use the correct print settings before printing your label templates.

Misaligned Label Templates – Wrong Label Templates

Sometimes misalignment problems are caused simply by using the wrong label template. Self adhesive labels are often sold under rather meaningless product codes, making it tricky to pick the right label templates.

At Label Planet, our label templates include product codes in the file name. This allows customers to cross-reference the two and make sure they have the correct template. Each of our product pages features a direct link to the label templates page for that particular label size to help prevent confusion.

Of course, it is still possible to get things mixed up. Especially as some of our label sizes have very similar product codes. For example, LP24/40R refers to round labels with a 40mm diameter, while LP24/45R refers to round labels with a 45mm diameter.

Label templates may also be set up with the correct label size and layout BUT the wrong page size. This can create a mis-match between your template and your sheet labels, which can prevent your printer printing at all. Alternatively, your template will be scaled to the wrong page size, causing scaling misalignment.

  • Type Of Misalignment Caused: none of the designs will align correctly. There may be a pattern to the misalignment (creating an extreme version of scaling misalignment where none of the designs align) if you accidentally use a template for a very slightly different size. For example, if you mix up our LP24/40R and LP24/45R label sizes.
  • Solution: double check that you are using the correct template!

Misaligned Label Templates – Unhelpful Autocorrect

Some software – like Microsoft Word – is designed to be “helpful”. This includes “autocorrect” functions that try to predict what you want to do and doing it for you. Unfortunately, this can ruin the alignment of a label template.

For example, sometimes when you paste a large block of content (e.g. a lot of text or a large image) from an external source into a Word label template, Word will assume that you want your template to contain that content at its original size. It will resize your template around the content and destroy the alignment of your template.

  • Type Of Misalignment Caused: varies depending 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, which causes the misalignment to get gradually worse.
  • Solution: go back through your label template and double check that the measurements of each row and column of blank labels (as well as any gaps between them) are still correct.

Misaligned Label Template – Manufacturing Tolerances

Generally speaking, self adhesive labels are cut accurately to the given measurements. However, as with all manufactured goods, sticky labels may fall into acceptable “tolerances” that influence the size and layout of sheet labels. A tolerance is an acceptable deviation from the measurements stated on the goods. This is a small range – usually a few mm – but it may influence how accurately your label template aligns with your sticky labels.

If the other four issues aren’t causing your alignment issues, it may be worth taking a closer look at your sheet labels. Take a quick measurement to ensure that the sticky labels are the correct size – as well as any gaps between the row and columns of blank labels AND the size of the margins between the blank labels and the edges of the sheet.

  • Type Of Misalignment Caused: varies depending on the measurements of your sheet labels. Given that the variation will most likely be repeated, it is likely that there will 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.
  • Solution: get out your ruler and measure your sheet labels to determine the issue. If the margins are slightly out, increase or decrease the page margins of your label template as needed. If the label size is slightly out, adjust the measurements of your label template as needed.

Terribly Tricky Template Troubles – When Alignment Issues Combine

Of course, it is possible that a particular misalignment could be a result of a combination of these causes. The best thing to do is to use your judgement to determine which cause is the most likely. Apply the appropriate solution to fix the issue and do a test print of your label template. If the issue isn’t resolved, try the solution for another issue that causes the same type of misalignment (and test print). Repeat until the problem is fixed!

Next week on Template Tuesday: How To? – How To Correct Misaligned Label Templates

How To? – How (And Why) You Should Perform A Test Print Of Your Label Templates

July 24th, 2018

One piece of advice that we repeat again and again (and again!) is – when printing label templates DO A TEST PRINT FIRST! In this post, we explain how to go about doing a test print. We also explain why it is so important to do a test print when printing your own self adhesive labels.

What Is A Test Print?

A test print involves printing your label template onto a sheet of paper to check that the alignment is correct. This is done before you print onto your sticky labels proper.

When performing a test print, you should follow the same set of steps that you would during a “real” print. This includes the way that you load your paper and the print settings that you choose before you press print.

Why Test Print A Label Template?

A test print gives you the chance to check that the alignment produced by your label template (and printer) is accurate BEFORE you start printing on your blank labels. This means that if there is anything wrong you can correct it without wasting any of your label sheets.

Most of the time, the alignment will be fine – which is why many people don’t bother with a test print. However, if you’re printing lots of sheet labels at once, not doing a test print can be a costly mistake.

You might think you don’t need to test print your label template because it’s set up perfectly. There are. however, other factors at play. Even the most perfect label template can turn out badly printed labels. Usually because you haven’t taken the time to load your sheet labels correctly and select the correct print settings.

How Do You Test Print A Label Template?

When performing a test print you should follow the same steps as you would when printing your actual sticky labels. You simply use a blank sheet of paper instead of your sheet labels.

Whether you are testing printing a label template or printing it for “real”, you should always follow these simple steps:

1: Load Your Labels Levelly In The Right Location

You should always load your sheet labels (or paper) into the media bypass tray of your printer – if it has one.This is a second tray (usually just above or below the main paper tray), which is designed to process thicker materials (like sticky labels) and to offer a straighter path through the printer (reducing the chances of sheets rotating as they are pulled through the printer and improving the alignment of your template).

Always make sure your sheets are neatly aligned and position them inside the tray with the guides positioned levelly against the edges of your sheets. This also helps to stop your sheets rotating as they are processed.

2: Pick The Perfect Printing Properties

The majority of the alignment issues that we help our customers to resolve are caused by incorrect printer settings. Before printing, go into Printer Properties or Printing Preferences and confirm the following:

  • The page size must be A4.
  • No scaling options should be applied. This includes a percentage of less than 100% or any options called “Fit To Sheet” or “Fit To Page”. If there is an “Actual Size” option, use it.
  • No options such as “Ignore Printer Settings” or “Use Default Settings” / “Use Driver Settings” should be selected. These will ignore any options you select manually in favour of the default set stored in the printer’s driver software.

test printing label templates

This image shows Word’s Print Preview screen and Adobe Reader’s Print screen.

In Word, click on File and then Print to reach the Print Preview screen. You should go into Printer Properties to confirm that your printer is using the correct settings. You can also use this screen to confirm that your label template itself is set to an A4 page size.

In Adobe Reader, click on the Print Icon (or File > Print). You can then confirm that your document is set to print out at the correct size, check your print settings (click on Properties), and confirm that the page size of your label template is A4 (Page Setup).

3. Check The Alignment Of Your Test Print

Once you have printed your test sheet, place it behind a sheet of your blank labels and then (CAREFULLY!) hold both up to a light source. This should allow you to see the positioning of your design on the test sheet and to confirm if this aligns correctly with the blank labels.

If the alignment isn’t quite right, you can correct your label template (or printer settings) accordingly. When making changes to your template or printer settings you should ALWAYS repeat the process of doing a test print to make sure that those changes have worked.

Next week on Template Tuesday: Label Template Alignment Issues 101

How To? – How (And Why) You Should Use Text Boxes In Word Label Templates

July 17th, 2018

This week, we’re taking a look at just how useful text boxes can be in Word label templates.

You might think that it’s far easier to simply type your text into your template. Or just use copy and paste.

However, there are some benefits to using text boxes in Word label templates that might just make you reconsider. Especially if you want your label design to contain lots of different sections or areas of text.

USING TEXT BOXES IN WORD LABEL TEMPLATES – THE BENEFITS

There are two main benefits to using text boxes instead of simply typing in your text.

  1. You can get greater control over the positioning of specific areas of text.
  2. You can take advantage of the text box formatting tools to add additional design elements.

The former applies to label designs made up of multiple elements.

For example, you may have a design containing an image and some text. Putting your text into a text box creates two single objects that you can format and position. This is easier than trying to position an image relative to text that you have typed into your template. It can also give you greater control over the positioning of both elements, provide more formatting options, and allow you to create more sophisticated designs made up of overlapping layers.

Alternatively, you might have a bunch of text that you want to break up into separate sections, which you can then individually position around your design. For example, you might want a product name at the top, product information in the bottom left corner, and company information in the bottom right corner. You could try typing in all of that information and then manually spacing it out to create your required layout. A better solution is to use three separate text boxes, which you can edit and position independently of each other.

When you create a text box, you also gain a few extra formatting options. For example, you can format the text itself, as well as the border, background, and shaping of your text box. Word has a variety of formats and effects that you can apply to your text AND your text box to make your design really stand out.

USING TEXT BOXES IN WORD LABEL TEMPLATES – INSERTING A TEXT BOX (AND TEXT)

word label templates - adding a text box

To insert a text box, click on the Insert tab at the top of the page and select Text Box. Word will give you a number of pre-formatted options along with a basic text box. If you like the look of one of the existing options, select it from the list (you can change the formatting later). Alternatively, choose the basic “Simple Text Box” so you have a blank canvas onto which you can add your own design elements. The simple text box contains placeholder text. Simply delete this out of the way and type in your required text.

USING TEXT BOXES IN WORD LABEL TEMPLATES – FORMATTING A TEXT BOX (AND/OR ITS TEXT)

Next, you’ll need to format your text box (and text) to make it look the part for your required design.

There are a number of ways you can format your text box (and text). For some of these, you’ll need to remember that the text box and the text within it are two separate elements forming a whole. Some formatting options will affect BOTH elements. Others will only apply to the text or the text box.

word label templates - formatting a text box

FORMATTING A TEXT BOX (AND/OR ITS TEXT) – The Size

Left click on your text box once to select it. You can then change the size of the text box in two ways.

  1. MANUALLY RESIZE: click on one of the sizing handles at the corners or middle of each edge. Hold down the left button and then move your cursor to increase or decrease the size of your text box before releasing the button. The corner handles allow you to change the width and height simultaneously, while the middle handles can only change one measurement at a time.
  2. USE THE SIZE TOOL: the size of your text box is displayed on the right hand side of the Drawing Tools Format tab. Change the measurements in the width and height boxes to change the size of your text box. This can be a more precise way to resize your text box, compared to doing it manually.

FORMATTING A TEXT BOX (AND/OR ITS TEXT) – The Text

Left click once on your text box to select it (and the text inside). You can make basic formatting changes using the Font Tools under the Home tab. For example, you can change the font, font size, font colour, and add emphasis (e.g. bold, italics, etc).

For more formatting options, use the Drawing Tools Format tab. In the WordArt Styles section, you will see plenty of formatting options that apply to the text itself.

This includes pre-formatted options as well as formatting tools that allow you to change the colour of your text, add a border to your text, and add shaping to your text. For example, you can add shadowing, reflections, glow and bevel effects, rotate your text, or use one of the “Transform” options to warp the shape of your text or make it follow a circular/semi-circular path.

FORMATTING A TEXT BOX (AND/OR ITS TEXT) – The Text Box

Tools in the Shape Styles section of the Drawing Tools Format tab allow you to format the text box itself. You can change the fill (background) of your text box, the outlines (border), and add shaping. For example, shadowing, reflections, glow and bevel effects, soft edges, and rotation effects.

You may need to change the background and border of your text box if you are creating a layered design. By default, text boxes have a solid white background and a black border. If your text box sits over another element – particularly one of a different colour – you need to make the background transparent and remove the border.

Select your text box and click on the Drawing Tools Format tab. To add a transparent background, click on Shape Fill and select No Fill. To remove the border, click on Shape Outline and select No Outline. Both of these are listed in the Shape Styles section of the ribbon.

Please note that adding a border to a text box will increase its overall size. You may need to bear this in mind if you are trying to create a border around the edges of your sticky labels or if your text box sits close to the edges of your blank labels – as your text box may end up being too big to sit in the correct position for your required design.

The “Edit Shape” option in the Insert Shapes section can be used to add a particular shape to your text box. This can be extremely useful if you are creating text boxes for use in sticky labels that have a particular shape – e.g. round labels / circular labels and oval labels.

By default, text boxes are given a Wrap Text format of “Square”. This should offer enough flexibility when positioning your text box within your label template. If you can’t position your text box as you’d like, try using “Tight”.

USING TEXT BOXES IN WORD LABEL TEMPLATES – LAYERING TEXT BOXES

To layer your text boxes above or below other elements in your design, use the Bring Forward and Send Backward options in the Drawing Tools Format tab. Each one provides you with three options:

  1. “Bring Forward” / “Send Backward” moves your text box forward or backward by one layer. I.e. it will move in front of or behind the adjacent layer/element.
  2. “Bring To Front” / “Send To Back” makes your text box the topmost or bottommost element regardless of how many elements you have layered above or below your selected text box.
  3. “Bring In Front Of Text” / “Send Behind Text” moves your text box so that it sits in front of or behind other elements that contain text.

Next week on Template Tuesday – How To? – How (And Why) You Should Perform A Test Print Of Your Label Templates

How To? – How (And Why) You Should Format Images In Word Label Templates

July 10th, 2018

Word is a word processor, which means that it will always be most efficient at handling words. It can be harder to work with images – especially in Word label templates. This post will talk you through some of the most important ways you can format (or edit) images to make it easier to create your required design – as well as explaining why it’s important to make use of these formatting options.

Formatting Images In Word Label Templates – WRAP TEXT

Among the most important tools (if not THE most important tool) for formatting images is the WRAP TEXT option. This tool allows you to choose how you want Word to position your image in relation to the text around it.

You may wonder why this is important – especially if your Word label template doesn’t contain any words.

The problem is that – as a word processor – Word assumes that you will add text at some point. It therefore uses a default Wrap Text format called “In Line With Text”. This positions your image “in line” with your text – regardless of whether or not you’ve actually added any text.

Essentially, Word divides your label template into (invisible) lines in preparation for the text it thinks you’re going to add. If you add an image, Word will only let you align it in relation to one of these lines. This limits where you can position your image. If you need even a little bit of control over the positioning of your image, you’ll need to change this setting.

It also gives you access to some formatting tools that are NOT available under the “In Line With Text” wrap option. It’s always worth changing the wrap text format even if you can position your image just fine with the default option.

How To Use Wrap Text In Word Label Templates.

Left click once on your image to select it. This will bring up the Picture Tools Format tab at the top of the page.

The Wrap Text tool is contained in the “Arrange” section of the ribbon.

You have a variety of options to choose from; we recommend choosing “Tight”. This means that Word will allow your image to sit very close to your text – giving you more flexibility over where you can position that image in your template.

If you have problems with your image disappearing behind your template or other text-based elements in your design, try using “In Front Of Text”.

word label templates formatting images wrap text

Formatting Images In Word Label Templates – BRING FORWARD & SEND BACKWARD

If you are creating a design by layering multiple elements (e.g. text, text boxes, WordArt, shapes, images etc), you will need to use the Bring Forward and Send Backward tools to layer your elements correctly.

You may also need to use the Bring Forward option, even if you aren’t layering elements. As we mentioned above, Word is designed primarily to handle text. This causes Word to also prioritise text-based elements over images. The result being that images that you add to your template may end up sitting behind the template itself (because it is a table and Word assumes you will want to add text to it at some point.

How To Use Bring Forward & Send Backward In Word Label Templates.

Left click once on your image to select it. This will bring up the Picture Tools Format tab at the top of the page.

Both the Bring Forward and Send Backward tools are contained in the “Arrange” section of the ribbon and provide three options.

  1. “Bring Forward” / “Send Backward” will move your image forward or backward by one layer. I.e. it will move in front of or behind the adjacent layer/element.
  2. “Bring To Front” / “Send To Back” will make your image the topmost or bottommost element regardless of how many elements you have layered above or below your selected image.
  3. “Bring In Front Of Text” / “Send Behind Text” will move your image so that it sits in front of or behind of ALL of the elements that contain text.

Remember, this includes elements that Word assumes you may want to add text to in the future – including the table used to create the label template itself.

If an image (or other element) is completely covered by another element, you may struggle to click on it to select it in order to layer it correctly. Click on the element that is covering it to bring up the Picture Tools Format (or Drawing Tools Format) tab. In the “Arrange” section, there is a tool called Selection Pane. This will bring up a pane on the right hand side, which shows ALL of the elements in your label template. Clicking on one of the elements in the selection pane will select that element for you.

Formatting Images In Word Label Templates – (RE)SIZE IMAGES

Obviously, if your design includes images they need to be the right size to fit onto your blank labels.

While you can add images into a Word label template and THEN resize them, we recommend trying to ensure that your images are about the right size BEFORE adding them to your template. Making minor adjustments to the size within a template is easy enough but adding in images that are too big or too small can cause extra problems.

For example, adding very large images could cause Word to try to be helpful by automatically changing the size and layout of your template to accommodate your content. This effectively destroys the alignment produced when you print your template.

A more common issue is that resizing images can also lower the quality of the image – especially if your image has low resolution. Making sure your image is the right size BEFORE you add it to your template helps to preserve the image quality.

One of our top tips is to paste your image into a blank Word document so that you can check to make sure that the image is the right size and quality for your needs – before pasting it into your label template.

How To Resize Images In Word Label Templates.

There are two ways to resize an image.

  1. Left click once on your image to select it. Selected images have sizing “handles” at the four corners and along each of the four edges of the image. Click on one of the handles and hold down the button as you drag your cursor outwards (to increase the size) or inwards (to decrease the size) – release the button to resize your image. The corner handles will alter the width AND height of the image; central handles only alter the width OR the height.
  2. Left click once on your image to select it. The far right section of the Picture Tools Format tab will indicate the width and height of your image. Enter the measurements that you want into these boxes to resize your image to a precise size.

With both options, you need to be aware that images may or may not have a “locked aspect ratio”. This refers to the relationship between the width and height of your image. A locked aspect ratio means that when you resize an image, Word preserves the proportions of your image.

For example, if you change the width of a 5cm by 5cm image to 3cm, the height will automatically change to 3cm to preserve the aspect ratio. Likewise, if you try to use a corner sizing handle to resize your image, you will only be able to create a larger or small square-shaped image.

If the aspect ratio is not locked, you can alter the width and the height independently of one another.

To change this setting, right click on your image and select “Size and Position”. On the Size tab, check or uncheck “Lock aspect ratio” as required.

word label templates - formatting images - resize image

Formatting Images In Word Label Templates – CROP IMAGES

Finally, you may need to crop your images to ensure they are a suitable shape for your label size.

For example, your original image may be rectangular in size but you need a square image for your square labels. Alternatively, you may have an image with a larger background area than you need, in which case you can use the Crop tool to reduce the original image to the area that you actually need/want to use.

Cropping images can also be a useful tool when you need your image to fill each blank label. You can crop your image down to the correct shape OR remove any unnecessary blank/background areas that prevent your image from fitting in your label template properly.

How To Crop Images In Word Label Templates.

Left click once on your image to select it. This will bring up the Picture Tools Format tab at the top of the page.

The Crop tool is contained in the “Size” section of the ribbon. You can crop your image in a number of ways:

  1. Clicking on the Crop button will add crop handles to your image. You use these in the same way as the sizing handles – only when you release the button, your image will be cropped to the area that you select rather than resized.
  2. Selecting Crop To Shape in the drop down list will create a shaped area into which you can crop your image (you can choose the size of this area using the crop handles). This is a quick way to, for example, crop a rectangular image down into a circular image.
  3. Selecting Aspect Ratio in the drop down list allows you to make sure that when you crop your image you can create a specific aspect ratio accurately (compared to trying to do this manually using the crop handles).

word label templates - formatting images - crop

Next Week On Template Tuesday: How To? – How (And Why) You Should Use Text Boxes In Word Label Templates

How To? – How To Use Label Planet’s Bleed Label Templates

July 3rd, 2018

So far, we’ve taken a closer look at what bleed label templates are and when to use one rather than a standard template. This week, we’ll look at how to use bleed label templates to create full colour labels.

What Sort Of Bleed Label Templates Do We Supply?

Our website features bleed label templates in Word and PDF formats. Word templates can be used with Microsoft Word or any word processing software that can edit .docx files (e.g. Pages). The PDF bleed label templates can be used with any graphics package that can edit .pdf files (e.g. InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop etc).

As we explained in our previous post, our PDF bleed label templates will contain two outlines for each blank label. The solid black outline indicates the size and shape of each label. The dotted grey outline indicates the bleed area around each label.

The bleed area is a blank space around your sticky labels that you can use to overlap your design to prevent white edging when you print your sticky labels. Instead of finishing at the edges of each blank label, your design will end within the bleed area – meaning that it overlaps the edges of your blank labels.

Our Word bleed label templates contain areas that represent the blank labels themselves AND the bleed area around them.

How Do You Use Bleed Label Templates?

Essentially, you use our bleed label templates in exactly the same way as you would our standard label templates.

The only thing you need to bear in mind is where the edges of your design fall. Your design should extend outside of the blank labels so that it ends somewhere within the bleed area. You can set up your design so it finishes partway into the bleed area or fills the bleed area entirely. The only thing that matters is that your design overlaps the edges of your blank labels.

Using Word Bleed Label Templates

In a standard Word label template, your design should fit inside the cells representing each blank label.

Word label templates are basically tables where the cells represent your blank labels and any gaps in the layout of each A4 sheet. This means that round labels are represented by a grid of squares and oval labels by a grid of rectangles.

Standard desktop printers can only provide so much accuracy when aligning label templates onto sheet labels. This means that if your design includes a full colour background, logo, or image you may get white edging around some of your sticky labels where your design isn’t quite perfectly aligned. While you can adjust your template and printer settings to improve the alignment, it is very difficult to align a whole sheet perfectly. Instead, you can use a bleed label template to oversize your design to prevent white edging appearing at all.

In the image below, we have added a colour logo to a row from a STANDARD label template and a BLEED label template for our LP15/51R round label size.

Label Templates - Word Standard And Bleed Template

In the standard label template, the design touches the four sides of the cell. This means the design fits within the label itself. With this template, you would probably get some white edging around some of your labels.

In the bleed label template, however, the same logo has been resized slightly to fill the larger cell. In this template, each cell represents a blank label and its bleed area. By filling the cell, the blue background will overlap each label slightly, preventing white edging from happening when you print the completed template.

Remember, when working with images in Word, you will need to adjust the Wrap Text format option to give you greater control over the positioning of your images. Left click on your image once to select it. Click on the Picture Tools Format tab at the top of the page. Click on Wrap Text and choose Tight (or In Front Of Text). If you have multiple elements within your design, you will need to use the “Bring Forward”/“Send Backward” options to layer your elements as needed. Remember that the table used to create your label template is a layer in itself so you need to make sure that your design elements sit in front of it – or they may disappear from view!

Using PDF Bleed Label Templates

Likewise, you would use our PDF bleed label templates in much the same way as our standard PDF label templates.

Instead of making sure that your design sits within the solid black border outlining each label, however, you would simply need to make sure that your design finishes between the solid black border and the dotted grey border that outlines the bleed area.

In the image below, we have added our colour logo to a STANDARD label template and a BLEED label template.

Label Templates - PDF Standard And Bleed Template

In the standard label template, the design sits within the black border that indicates the shape of the blank label. As with the standard Word label template, it would be extremely tricky to perfectly align every single label.

In the bleed label template, we have resized the design slightly. It now extends beyond the black border (representing the label) to touch the grey border (representing the bleed area). This means that the blue background will overlap each label slightly and prevent any white edges appearing when you print the completed template.

Next week on Template Tuesday: How To? – How (And Why) You Should Format Images In Word Label Templates

Bleed Label Templates VS Other Label Templates – When To Use A Bleed Label Template

June 26th, 2018

Last week, we defined the term bleed label templates. This week, we’ll explain when it is better to use a bleed label template, rather than a standard label template.

As we mentioned last week, bleed label templates rely on having a blank space around your blank labels. Label sizes and layouts where your sticky labels butt up against (i.e. are adjacent to) another sticky label will not have the blank spaces required to create a bleed area all the way around your blank labels.

You should therefore only use bleed label templates when creating a particular kind of label design on self adhesive labels with a particular type of layout.

What Kind Of Label Designs Work Best With Bleed Label Templates?

Bleed label templates are designed to bleed your design over the edges of your blank labels. This means you should only use them when your label design includes some coloured element around the edges of your sticky labels. This could be a border, a coloured background, or a full colour image that fills each blank label. All of these elements sit at the very edge of your sticky labels. This means these are the elements that you need to bleed to avoid white edging.

Remember, borders need to be thick enough to overlap the edges of your sticky labels.

What Kind Of Label Layouts Work Best With Bleed Label Templates?

As we mentioned last week, certain label shapes and layouts are perfect for creating bleed label templates. These are sticky labels with a blank area in the layout, which can be used as the bleed area. Circular labels / round labels and oval labels naturally have blank spaces due to their shape. Square labels may be butt cut (so at least some of the sticky labels are touching each other) OR they may have gaps between the rows and columns of blank labels. At Label Planet, all of our square labels have gaps all the way around each blank label.

Most rectangular labels, by contrast, will have at least some edges where two blank labels touch. This is designed to minimise the amount of waste material created by these products. There are a small number of rectangular label sizes where there are gaps between the rows and columns – creating a bleed area all the way around each blank label.

bleed label templates and label shapesAt Label Planet, we supply bleed label templates for all of our circular labels / round labels, oval labels, and square labels. We also supply bleed label templates for our three rectangular label sizes, which have gaps all the way around each blank label – LP1/199, LP33/53, and LP84/46.

What If Your Label Layout Doesn’t Work As A Bleed Label Template?

If you are working with a label size that doesn’t provide a bleed area all the way around your blank labels, you may be able to improvise using a standard label template. This will only work if your border, background, or image has a consistent colour. In this case, you can oversize your design so that it overlaps onto adjacent labels. As the overlapping areas will use the same colour, you won’t be able to see where your design overlaps.

Please note you can only use this workaround if your colour is consistent AND if the area of overlap uses that particular colour. If your design overlaps too far onto an adjacent sticky label, you may find that it falls into an area that should be a different colour.

The alternative would be to alter your design so that it:

  1. Doesn’t go to the edges of your sticky labels (so there’s no need to overlap it)
  2. Has a white or blank border around the edges (so you don’t need to print at the edges)

Next Week On Template Tuesday: How To? – How To Use Label Planet’s Bleed Label Templates

Definitions: What Are Bleed Label Templates?

June 19th, 2018

You may have heard or seen the phrase bleed label templates and wondered exactly what it means. Bleed label templates are designed to help produce printed sticky labels that feature a border or full colour background – without the problem of white edging appearing around the edges of your self adhesive labels.

What Is White Edging?

Most desktop printers and design software are limited in the level of accuracy they can produce in label templates. This makes it almost impossible to line up a label template with 100% accuracy. If you use border or coloured background, you may end up with “white edges” around some of your sticky labels. This is an area that is left unprinted because your design isn’t quite perfectly aligned with your blank labels.

Why Do Bleed Label Templates Prevent White Edging?

Bleed label templates work by oversizing your design so it overlaps the edges of your self adhesive labels. This prevents any white edges from appearing on any of your sticky labels.

This does mean that if you are printing a border, you will need to use a thicker border – so it has enough width to comfortably overlap the edges all the way around your sticky labels.

What Do Bleed Label Templates Look Like?

The area where your design bleeds over the edges of your blank labels is known as the “bleed area”. Bleed label templates represent this area in slightly different ways depending on the file format of the label template.

PDF bleed label templates, for example, will usually simply add an extra outline around the shape of each blank label. The outline of the blank labels is displayed as a solid outline and the outline of the “bleed area” is a dotted outline (or vice versa). Alternatively, different colours may be used to indicate each area. When adding a label design, you simply need to make sure it enters (or fills) the bleed area.

Label Templates PDF Bleed TemplateWord bleed label templates have to be set up differently because Word cannot show detailed outlines. Instead, the size of the table cells representing the blank labels will be increased to include the “bleed area”. In other words, the areas that represent your sticky labels actually represent your blank labels AND the bleed area. When adding a label design, you need to make sure that it fills the cells representing each blank label.

Label Templates Word Bleed Template

Are There Bleed Label Templates For All Label Shapes & Sizes?

The short answer is no. Bleed label templates are available only for label sizes where there are blank areas all the way around each sticky label. If your sticky labels butt up against another blank label on one (or more) sides, your bleed design would overlap onto the adjacent label(s). This is usually fine if your border or background uses a single colour. Any overlap would use the same colour and you wouldn’t notice the overlap. If there is any variation in your border or background colour, however, the overlap will be very noticeable indeed.

You can use a standard label template as a bleed label template, simply by oversizing your border or background. Remember, you can only do this if your border and background are consistent in colour.

What Label Shapes & Sizes Do Have Bleed Label Templates?

Bleed label templates work best with more irregular shapes. For example, circular labels / round labels and oval labels will always have blank spaces around and between each blank label. Square labels may be laid out with their edges touching OR they may have gaps all the way around. Likewise, most rectangular labels are butt cut in one way or another. This means at least some sides of each blank label will butt up against (be adjacent to) another label – which prevents the use of bleed. There are a few rectangular label sizes that do feature gaps between the rows and columns of blank labels. These label sizes can have bleed label templates.

Traditionally, standard label sizes are determined by the dimensions of an A4 sheet. The sheet is divided up into (usually) equally sized blank labels with as little waste between and around those blank labels as possible. This is the main reason why many label sizes and layouts do not allow for the use of bleed label templates. Standard sizes are designed to avoid wasting material and so don’t have the blank spaces required for overlapping designs in a bleed label template.

Download Bleed Label Templates From Label Planet

We supply bleed label templates for all of our label sizes where possible. This includes all of our circular labels / round labels, oval labels, and square labels. We also supply bleed label templates for our rectangular label sizes LP1/199, LP33/53, and LP84/46. Each of these label sizes features rectangular sticky labels with gaps all the way around each blank label.

You can find these bleed label templates by visiting our Label Templates Home Page. Select your label shape and label size. This takes you to the individual printing and template information page for that particular label size. The download links are in the centre of the page. Choose a Word bleed label template or a PDF bleed label template. You may also have the option to choose a portrait or landscape orientation (rectangular sticky labels only). Left click once on the purple download link to begin the download process. If you are asked if you want to open or save the file, select save.

Next Week On Template Tuesday – Bleed Templates VS Other Label Templates – When To Use A Bleed Label Template

How To? – How To Use Label Planet’s Mirrored Label Templates

June 12th, 2018

Last week, we explained how to use our text box label templates. This week, we’re taking a look at our mirrored label templates. The two are essentially the same with one key difference. In our mirrored label templates, each text box has been mirrored (or reversed). In this post, we’ll explain why these label templates are set up in this way, when to use them, and how to use them to design and print your own self adhesive labels.

What Are Mirrored Label Templates?

In addition to providing Word label templates and PDF label templates for all of our label sizes, we also  supply a range of formats to suit the various kinds of designs that our customers may want to produce. One of these extra formats is our mirrored label templates.

In this format, your label template will include a mirrored text box in each of the blank labels on your sheet. Like our text box label templates, each text box has a centralised layout and allows your text to fit neatly within each blank label.

mirrored label templates

Each text box has been rotated to flip your text box into a reverse or mirrored position. To read the text you either need to hold it up to a mirror OR view the text from the reverse side.  – as is the case when printing transparent window stickers.

You can use the mirrored text boxes as they are or change them to suit your required label design.

When Should You Use Mirrored Label Templates?

The main use for mirrored label templates is to create window stickers. Your mirrored design can be printed onto transparent labels that are to be applied onto the “inside” side of a window. When viewed from outside, the text appears in the “correct” direction.

The text boxes are set up to ensure that your design fits neatly within your blank labels AND is automatically mirrored. So you don’t have to worry about making too many adjustments yourself. Mirrored label templates are brilliant for beginners who haven’t designed window stickers at all. They’re especially useful if you’re not confident or familiar with Word’s tools – like those required to reverse designs. This label template does most of the work for you. All you need to do is replace the text in each text box and choose any style elements that you want to add to personalise your design. You can also use these label templates if you’re more experienced BUT you’d like to use a template that speeds up the design process.

How Do You Use Mirrored Label Templates?

Left click inside the first text box. The text box will automatically shift into a non-mirrored view until you click outside of the box. At this point, your text will revert to its mirrored state. After clicking inside the text box, select the existing placeholder text and delete it. Type in the text you want printed onto your sticky labels.

Repeat this process for each of the text boxes in your label template OR use copy and paste to speed things up…

  • Select and copy the text you have entered into the first text box. Click into the second text box, delete the existing text, and then paste your text into that text box. Repeat for each of the text boxes in your label template OR…
  • Delete all of the text boxes – EXCEPT FOR THE FIRST ONE. Select the first label (including the text box) by positioning your cursor in the bottom left corner of the first label and triple clicking the left button on your mouse quickly. Copy this selection and then paste it into the rest of your blank labels.

mirrored label templates - add your own textYou can replace the existing text and print your sticky labels although you may want to add extra design features. The simplest way to decorate text-based designs is to change the font and to add elements like a coloured background or image

To do this, we recommend adding your design to the first blank label only. Then delete the rest of the mirrored text boxes before using copy and paste to fill in your label template.

How To Change The Font Of Your Text Box

You can change the font of your text BEFORE or AFTER adding your text.

  • BEFORE: Delete the existing placeholder text from the first text box. Select your font and style options using the “Font” section of the HOME tab and/or the “WordArt Styles” section of the DRAWING TOOLS FORMAT tab. Then type in your required font.
  • AFTER: Delete the existing text from the first text box and type in (or paste in) your required text. Select your text and then apply your preferred font and style options.

mirrored label templates - choosing font and style optionsYou can also decorate the text box itself, for example, by adding a border or coloured background. Click on the DRAWING TOOLS FORMAT tab at the top of the page. Change the format of your text box using the tools in the “Shape Styles” section.

Think carefully about the shape and layout of your label size when adding coloured backgrounds and borders. To create a coloured background, your text box must fill each blank label (or overlap it slightly if possible). Borders must be thick enough to overlap the edges of your blank labels. This will increase the overall size of your text box, so you may need to resize your text box to get the correct alignment.

How To Add Images & Background To Your Mirrored Label Template

You can add images or additional text boxes next to the existing text boxes.

Adding Additional Elements Next To Your Text Box

First, reduce the size of the existing text box to make room for your image or new text box. Next, use the INSERT tab to insert your image or text box (or paste an image / text box copied from elsewhere). We recommend making sure your image is the right size before pasting it into your label template. We also recommend changing the Wrap Text format to Tight. To do this, select your image and click on the PICTURE TOOLS FORMAT tab that appears at the top of the page. Click on “Wrap Text” and select “Tight”. This will allow you much greater control over the positioning of your image.

Remember that item you add that contains any directional elements (e.g. text) will need to be mirrored:

  • Mirror an image: select your image and click on the PICTURE TOOLS FORMAT tab. Click on “Rotate” and select “Flip Horizontal”.
  • Mirror a text box: select your text box and click on the DRAWING TOOLS FORMAT tab. Click on “Shape Effects” (in Shape Styles). Select 3-D Rotation from the drop down list and click on 3-D Rotation Options. In the sidebar, set “X Rotation” to 180°. This will add a grey background to your text box. Click on “Shape Fill” and select “No Fill” (for a transparent box) or white (for a white background).

mirrored label template - adding an image

Adding Additional Elements Behind Your Text Box

Alternatively, you could add an image or background colour behind your text box.

You may need to resize the image to fill your blank label. You should also change the Wrap Text format to Tight. Next, select your text box and click on the DRAWING TOOLS FORMAT tab. Click on “Bring Forward” and select “Bring To Front”. This will layer your text box on top of your image.

Remember to flip directional images as outlined above.

You can also add a background colour by changing the colour of the template itself (which is basically a table). Select the table by moving your cursor to the top left of the table until it turns into a four headed arrow. Left click once to select the table. Now you can click on the TABLE TOOLS DESIGN tab at the top of the page and use the “Shading” option to add a background colour. Remember that this colour will ONLY apply to your template. You could add the same colour background to your text box – although our mirrored text boxes are transparent by default. This can be done using the “Shape Fill” option in the DRAWING TOOLS FORMAT tab.

Remember, if you are adding any additional elements we strongly recommend setting up your design in the first blank label. Delete the existing text boxes from the rest of the label template. Then select your first completed label. Place your cursor in the bottom left corner and triple click the left button quickly. Copy your design and then paste it into the rest of your blank labels.

Download Mirrored Label Templates From Label Planet

To download any of our label templates, simply head on over to our Label Templates home page. Click on your label shape and select your label size from the list. This takes you to the individual Label Template information page for your self adhesive labels. Download links can be found in the middle of this page. Our mirrored label templates are listed under the Word Templates column. Choose a portrait or landscape mirrored label template (if applicable) and left click once on the purple link to start the download process.

Your label template will usually be downloaded to your Downloads folder. If you are asked if you want to open or save the file, we recommend choosing save. We also recommend opening Word (or other word processing software) first and using “File” > “Open” to locate and open your label template. Remember, the file will probably be locked for security reasons because you downloaded it from the internet. There should be a yellow banner going across the top of the page. Click on the Enable Editing button to unlock the label template.

You should be able to see the layout of your sticky labels in the form of a dotted grey outline. If you cannot see this outline, Table Gridlines are turned off. To turn them on again, left click once anywhere in the middle of the page to bring up the TABEL TOOLS LAYOUT tab. Click on the “View Gridlines” button on the left hand side of the ribbon.

Next Week On Template Tuesday – Definitions: What Is A Bleed Label Template?