Troubleshooting Label Templates; Part 2, Why Has My Template Gone Wrong?

November 12th, 2019
types of label templates made by label planet

Last week’s troubleshooting label templates post was all about identifying what has gone wrong (the effect). This week, we’re moving onto the next step of troubleshooting label templates and looking at WHY your label templates may have gone wrong (the cause). 

The Possible Causes Behind Troublesome Label Templates

Generally speaking, label templates go wrong because there are so many different factors involved. Each factor has to work correctly by itself and work together with other factors to ensure that your labels print perfectly. So, what are these factors and how do they cause problems?

  • LABELS: must be the correct size and layout. Like all products, labels are manufactured to a tolerance (an allowable deviation from the stated specification), which can lead to minor differences between label templates and the labels being printed (resulting in minor misalignments). However, manufacturing and packing errors can result in major misalignments as you’ll end up trying to print a template onto labels that are simply the wrong size.
  • LABEL TEMPLATES: must be compatible with your labels (i.e. must represent the size and layout of your labels correctly).
  • SOFTWARE: must be capable of accurately displaying AND editing label templates. You also need to be able to add your design accurately to each label.
  • PRINTERS: to print labels, you need a printer that is capable of printing labels, is set up with the correct print settings, and has an up to date print driver installed.

Troubleshooting Label Templates – Problems Before You Print

Last week, we listed the most common problems experienced by our customers BEFORE they’ve printed their label templates. Here are the (possible) causes for these particular problems – and the things you may need to fix when troubleshooting label templates.

Unable to open a label template…

Standalone label templates are individual files that must be opened using software. These files are saved in a specific file format (i.e. a particular way of encoding data for storage in a digital file). To open a standalone file, you need to use software that can read (display) that file format. For example, Label Planet templates are supplied in .docx and .pdf file formats. The .docx templates must be opened with word processing software such as Word, Word For Mac, Pages etc and the .pdf templates must be opened with graphics software such as Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop etc.

Alternatively, the file may have been corrupted during the download process or something may have gone wrong while the file was being opened.

Unable to edit a label template…

There are two main reasons why you may be unable to edit a file.

We mentioned above that your software must be able to read the file format of your template in order to open it properly. In order to change that template, your software must also be able to edit that file format. Some software can read but not edit certain file formats; for example, Adobe Reader can read (display) the .pdf file format but cannot edit (change) it.

The second reason relates to downloaded files; many devices temporarily lock files downloaded from the internet for security reasons. You should be presented with a warning message and an option to unlock the document for editing. For example, Word displays a yellow banner, which contains an “Enable Editing” button.

Word label templates don’t show the (correct) outline of each label…  

Two issues could be at play here, both related to the way Word templates are made. Word templates are basically Word documents containing a table, where the table cells represent labels on an A4 sheet (and any gaps between them).

  • If you can’t see ANY outlines then Table Gridlines are turned OFF.
  • If the outlines don’t show the exact shape of your labels (e.g. rounded corners or the shape of round labels and oval labels) then, unfortunately, this is simply part of using Word templates. As Word templates are constructed using tables, they can only represent labels as a series of squares and/or rectangles made up of straight lines and so cannot show rounded corners or shaping. In templates for round labels and oval labels, each label fits inside a square or rectangular cell in the template (so its outermost points touch each of the four sides of the cell).

Word label templates split onto two pages…

Word label templates should only take up one page. If you open a Word template and it splits over two pages (or if it splits while you are adding your designs), there are a number of potential reasons for this…

  1. You have accidentally added a line (or lines) at the top of the template, which has pushed the bottom row(s) of labels onto the next page. Move the cursor to the top of the page and (left) click once; if you see a flashing text cursor sitting above your template, you have added an extra line.
  2. Your content is larger than your labels and Word has “helpfully” resized your template to allow your content to fit.
  3. Your software is unable to reconstruct the table measurements. For example, Word can create table rows with a minimum height of 0.4mm, while Pages has a minimum of around 2.8mm. If you use Pages to open a Word template that contains rows of less than 2.8mm, Pages will increase the height of those rows to 2.8mm, increasing the overall height of your template and pushing the bottom row(s) onto a second page.

Unable to position images / shapes / text boxes in Word label templates

If images, shapes, and/or text boxes won’t stay where you move them, they are probably set to the default Wrap Text option. As word processing software, Word prioritises text over everything else and its default Wrap Text option (“In Line With Text”) only allows objects to be positioned relative to the default line of text that Word also inserts – whether you actually want to include any text in your template or not.

Word label templates automatically resize after adding content

Word often tries to be “helpful” by automatically resizing tables to fit the content you add. This will destroy the alignment of your template, generally rendering it useless when it comes to printing your designs onto your labels.

Troubleshooting Label Templates – Problems After You Print

We also listed some of the most common problems experienced AFTER printing label templates. Here are the (possible) causes for these particular problems.

Print Quality

Poor print quality is most commonly caused by incorrect print settings. Labels are a very different print medium to paper and require specific print settings. Incompatibility between label materials and printers can also cause poor print quality. Some labels are intended for laser printing only or inkjet printing only and are made with materials that suit one particular printing method. For example, laser printers bond toner onto surfaces using heat and so laser labels have a higher moisture content to protect materials during printing. Likewise, inkjet labels are often slightly absorbent to help ensure that inkjet inks dry more accurately. If you try to print inkjet labels with a laser printer or laser labels with an inkjet printer, you will find that the print quality is extremely poor.

Print Alignment

Most alignment issues are caused by incorrect printer settings, especially scaling options and starting print positions. Scaling options cause printers to print templates onto a page size larger or smaller than A4, which results in the alignment getting worse down/across/out from the centre of the page. The starting print position determines where on an A4 sheet your printer begins printing from and, if this is incorrect, your designs will be misaligned in the same direction by the same amount.

Templates that use the wrong size and layout can also create alignment problems, as can label manufacturing / picking issues (as you will be trying to print your template onto labels that are the wrong size or using a different layout).

Absent Print

Absent print is usually caused by printer limitations or issues with how your design has been added to your template.

Most desktop printers cannot print the full area of an A4 sheet; the strip around the edges that a printer cannot print is known as the unprintable area. Any part of your labels (or your label designs) that fall into this area will be left unprinted. 

Desktop printers are also limited to how accurate they can be (to within a few mm). If your design features elements at the edges of your labels (like borders and coloured backgrounds), you may find that any slight misalignment results in white edging – where part of the edge(s) of a label (or labels) is unprinted due to the misalignment of your design with your label.

Word prioritises text over everything else, which means that text-based elements in label templates can be placed above other parts of your design. This can lead to parts of your design being blanked out, resulting in absent print.  

Next Week On Template Tuesday: Troubleshooting Label Templates; Part 3, How Do I Fix My Template?

Troubleshooting Label Templates; Part 1, What Has Gone Wrong With My Template?

November 5th, 2019
types of label templates made by label planet

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be taking you through the process of troubleshooting label templates. This week, we’re starting with a closer look at the different ways that templates can go wrong.

When templates “go wrong”, there is usually a specific cause and effect happening. Our “Troubleshooting Label Templates” series should help you to identify the effect, determine the cause, and apply the relevant fix.

For many people, designing and printing label templates is not something that they are familiar with so, when something goes wrong, it can feel like a major disaster. Some people spend hours trying different things to fix the problem, others give up, while some decide that the template isn’t working because it is “wrong” – often without making an attempt to work out what is wrong.

At Label Planet, we have carefully created our own set of label templates for customers to use – and each one has been thoroughly tested to ensure that it can produce a set of perfectly printed labels. However, because there are so many elements involved in printing labels, there are plenty of factors that can introduce problems and turn your template troublesome.

So, the first thing you need to do is identify the effect – i.e. what has gone wrong with your template.

Troubleshooting Label Templates – Troubles Before You Print

Sometimes label templates can be troublesome from the start. While there are a variety of problems that can occur, we find the following to be the most commonly reported by Label Planet customers:

  • Unable to open a label template
  • Unable to edit a label template
  • Word label templates don’t show the (correct) outline of each label
  • Word label templates split onto two pages
  • Unable to position images / shapes / text boxes in Word label templates
  • Word label templates automatically resize after adding content

Troubleshooting Label Templates – Troubles After You Print

Of course, even if your label templates look absolutely perfect on your screen, this doesn’t mean that the printed result will be the same. After you press print, there are two main groups of problems that can occur – print quality and print alignment – along with a third possible problem in the form of an absence of print.

  • PRINT QUALITY: these problems relate to the quality of the print itself. Common examples included faint print, print that smears or flakes away, and ghosting (where faint replicas of your design appear across the sheet).
  • PRINT ALIGNMENT: these problems relate to the positioning of your designs on your labels. Most misalignment problems follow one of two patterns where a) all of your designs are misaligned in the SAME direction by the SAME amount or b) the misalignment gets gradually worse as you look down/across/out from the centre of the sheet.
  • ABSENT PRINT: in these cases, a section (or sections) of a label (or labels) are not printed.

Once you’ve identified what has gone wrong (effect), you can then move on to trying to figure out why your template has gone wrong (cause).

Next Week On Template Tuesday – Troubleshooting Label Templates; Part 2, Why Has My Template Gone Wrong?

How & Why You Should Always, Always, ALWAYS Test Print Your Label Templates FIRST

October 22nd, 2019

Our TOP top tip is to ALWAYS test print label templates onto paper first – before you print onto your labels. Here’s why it is so important to test print templates and how to go about it.

always test print label templates

First – What Do We Mean By A Test Print?

A test print means printing a document (such as a label template) onto paper to check that the document will print correctly before you produce your final version (such as printing a template onto actual sheets of labels).

A test print should be performed in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY as you would go about printing the final version – with the exception that you print onto plain paper rather than onto your (probably much nicer, much more expensive) required print medium.

This will reveal any problems or issues with your document or print settings that would spoil your final version – allowing you to correct these problems and avoid wasting more expensive materials.

Second – Why Is A Test Print So Important When Printing Label Templates?

Even the most carefully constructed template can be ruined by the simple act of printing it out because there are so many different elements involved.

Most people assume that if their template looks okay onscreen, they can simply press print without any further thought. What they don’t realise is just how much stuff happens after they press print…

  • Your software sends your template to the print driver in your printer.
  • The print driver converts your template into a Page Description Language (so it can be understood by your printer). This is a vector-based language that describes the content and arrangement of a page in the form of a series of geometric lines and shapes defined by mathematical equations.
  • This vector-based language is converted into a bitmap image (a rectangular grid of dots or pixels).
  • Your printer pulls your sheet of labels into the printer using a set or series of rollers.
  • The bitmap image is recreated on the sheet according to the printer’s default set of print settings OR print settings you have manually selected. These settings determine the starting print position, print resolution, and even the way the printer operates.

All of these factors have the potential to influence the quality and accuracy of your printed template. Print accuracy is especially important for label templates, where your template has to align perfectly with your label sheets to ensure that each design is printed in the correct position on each individual label.

A simple test print means you can pick up on any problems (and fix them) before you start printing onto (and therefore wasting) your label sheets.

Third – How Do You Test Print Label Templates?

A test print should be performed in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY as your final version…

  1. Carefully load your paper into your printer. To print labels, you should use the media bypass tray (if your printer has one); this is a secondary tray, usually located just above or below the main paper tray. The tray guides should be positioned carefully and firmly along the edges of your sheets so they will feed into your printer as straight as possible.
  2. Pick your print settings. Go into Printer Properties / Printing Preferences. The page size must be A4 (297 x 210mm) and no scaling options should be applied (e.g. less than 100% or “Fit to…” options). Make sure your printer will use the settings you are selecting, rather than default settings by turning off settings such as “Ignore Printer Settings” or “Use Default/Driver Settings”. Choose an appropriate print media and print weight (they may be grouped together); ideally, you want a specific “Labels” setting but, if your printer doesn’t have one, you can use “Heavy Paper”. You can find the estimated weight of Label Planet products on our Material Specification Sheets.
  3. Print your test print. Place it behind a sheet of your labels and then (carefully!) hold both up to a light source to check the alignment. If there are any issues, correct your label template and/or your print settings and perform another test print. Repeat this process as needed until you are happy with the alignment and print quality – then load your labels and get printing!

Next Time On Template Tuesday – Troubleshooting Label Templates; Part 1, What Has Gone Wrong With My Template?

How To Set Up Your Printer Properly To Get Perfectly Printed Printer Labels

October 15th, 2019

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.

setting up your printer to print printer labels

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

The Template Tuesday Guide To…Picking The Perfect Printer To Print Your Own Printer Labels

October 8th, 2019

While we mostly focus on label templates, we also have some top tips to help you pick the perfect printer to print your own printer labels.

picking the perfect printer to print printer labels

First Things First – Inkjet Or Laser?

The first decision is choosing an inkjet printer or a laser printer. These are the two main types of desktop printers used for business and personal use.

  • INKJET PRINTERS: disperse inks across a surface where they dry in place. Most inkjet inks are liquid and water-based, although a range of options are available – including solid wax inks.  
  • LASER PRINTERS: use heat and pressure to bond toner (a dry powder) onto a surface.

Both methods have advantages and disadvantages so you’ll need to choose one that suits your overall printing needs. For printer labels, these are the things to keep in mind:

  • While some labels can be printed using either method, some can only be printed with an inkjet printer OR a laser printer. Here at Label Planet, we have more laser labels than inkjet labels so you might want to consider which type of printer offers the label options you need.
  • Laser printers are best if you need WATERPROOF LABELS. Laser print is waterproof; inkjet inks are usually water-based and run or smudge if they get wet. While waterproof inkjet labels are available, it is much easier to source waterproof laser labels.
  • Traditionally, high resolution artwork (such as digital artwork or photographs) has been printed using inkjet printers. Modern laser printers produce equal resolutions to inkjet printers. However, inkjet printers are still more likely to offer “high resolution” print options – especially for printing photographs.
  • You must budget for a printer AND consumables. Inkjet printers tend to be cheaper but have smaller cartridges, which need regular replacements (that are often quite expensive). Laser printer consumables (cartridges and image drums) tend to last longer, which may offer a lower long-term cost.

Next Things Next – How Specialised Do You Need To Go?

There are three levels of “specialisation”; all-in-one printers, standalone printers, and task-specific printers.

  • ALL-IN-ONE: perform several functions to a basic standard – e.g. printing, scanning, and copying.
  • STANDALONE: perform one function to a high standard – e.g. printing.
  • TASK-SPECIFIC: perform a specific type of one function to a high standard – e.g. printing photographs.  

Many people (including small businesses and individual users) choose all-in-one printers because they do several things and tend to be cheaper. However, while they are perfectly capable of day-to-day printing tasks, they are rarely designed for printing labels. All-in-one printers, therefore, tend to produce low quality labels OR fail to process label sheets at all.

You might, therefore, think that a task-specific printer would be the best option. If you have the budget for a label-specific printer – great! – unless you want to print other documents as well. In which case, your task-specific printer might be too specialised for other printing tasks. You would also need to source a printer that matches your application EXACTLY. A common example is photograph printers; some people struggle because their photograph printer will only print onto a very specific print medium (usually one supplied by the printer manufacturer). This prevents them from printing other print media or print media they have sourced elsewhere.

We therefore recommend standalone printers – designed to perform various types of one function (printing) to a high standard. This way you can use one machine for day-to-day documents AND printer labels.

Find The Right Features & Specifications

The best printers have features specifically designed for printing labels. This doesn’t mean they are label-specific printers – simply that printing labels is one of the tasks they can do! Look out for…

  • Labels as a print medium: your printer’s specification will list the print media it can handle (e.g. paper, envelopes, transparencies etc). Make sure labels are on that list!
  • Label printing options: the specification should also list “special” print options available for printing labels.
  • A media bypass tray: a secondary tray designed for thicker print media (like labels). It also improves the accuracy of print alignment.
  • Special print functions: a common example is “edge-to-edge” or “borderless” printing. This allows desktop printers to print the full area of an A4 sheet, which standard printers cannot do! If your labels sit near or at the edges of your sheets, you might not be able to print the full area of each label without these functions.
  • A decent duty cycle: this is the number of sheets a printer can print to a consistent quality within a given time frame (usually a month). As a thicker print medium, labels require a more intensive printing process. This means you need a higher duty cycle than the actual amount of printing you require.
  • A reasonable resolution: to print digital artwork or photographs, you’ll need a decent print resolution. However, you DON’T have to pay extra for the highest possible resolution available. This is because, after a certain point, the human eye can no longer distinguish the difference between resolutions. As a general rule 300dpi (dots per inch) is “normal resolution” (ideal for basic address labels), 600dpi is “high resolution” (ideal for basic designs), and 1200dpi is “photo resolution” (good enough to reproduce digital photographs).

Pick A Printer That’s Right For You
(And Your Needs) (And Your Budget)

Finally, the best advice that we can give is that you need to pick a printer that’s right for you. You don’t need to purchase the most expensive printer simply because it has every feature available. A simpler (more budget friendly) printer might be perfectly capable of printing your labels – without having to waste money on pointless extras.

List the printing tasks you need, set a budget, and find a printer that meets your requirements. We don’t recommend specific printer models because we know that every customer’s needs and budget are different. However, we do recommend two manufacturers – HP and OKI. We have used both for our own printing needs and both produce standalone printers capable of producing high quality print on self adhesive label stock.

If you don’t have a suitable printer, or the budget to buy one, why not ask around to see if someone has a printer you can borrow. Alternatively, there are a number of local high street printers who could print your labels for you. Obviously, this does cost more as you would need to purchase your labels and pay to have them printed. For some, this is a suitable workaround until they can purchase a printer of their own.

Next week on Template Tuesday: How To Set Up Your Printer Correctly To Get The Perfect Print On Your Printer Labels

The Template Tuesday Guide To…Using Word’s Mail Merge Wizard To Print Address Labels

October 1st, 2019

Using a mail merge tool is a brilliant way to quickly and efficiently print your own set of address labels. Here’s our Template Tuesday Guide to Word’s Mail Merge Wizard.

Address Labels & Mail Merges – Before You Get Started

To produce your own address labels using Word’s mail merge tool you will need:

  1. Address labels!
    Check out our range of address labels here: Address Labels from Label Planet
  2. A list of addresses!
    A spreadsheet is simplest but you can also use: Outlook Contact Lists, Office Address Lists, Word Data Files, Access Databases, or Text Files.
  3. A label template!
    If your address labels are compatible with Avery labels (i.e. use the same label size and layout), you can use a built-in Avery template. You will need to know the relevant Avery code; at Label Planet, we list corresponding Avery codes on our product packaging and product pages online.
    If your address labels are not compatible with Avery labels you can either download a suitable Word template from elsewhere (like the Label Planet label templates home page) or create a template during the mail merge process. You will need to know the page size, page margins, number of labels per row and column, label width and height, and the vertical / horizontal pitches (these account for gaps between your labels; VP is label height + gap height and HP is label width + gap width). All of these measurements can be found for Label Planet labels via our template home page.

The Template Tuesday Guide To Using Word’s Mail Merge Wizard To Print Address Labels

Word’s Mail Merge Wizard takes you through the mail merge process step by step. While you can complete a mail merge manually, we recommend the wizard because it guides you through the steps one at a time, makes it simpler to identify any problems that might crop up, and prevents you from accidentally forgetting to complete a step along the way.

Starting The Mail Merge Wizard

Open Word and create a new blank document. Click on the Mailing tab in the ribbon at the top of the page. Click on Start Mail Merge and select Step By Step Mail Merge Wizard. A Mail Merge Wizard panel appears on the right hand side. Follow the instructions in the panel to complete your mail merge; you’ll also find useful mail merge tools listed under the Mailings tab.

how-to-open-words-mail-merge-wizard

Step 1 – Select Document Type

To print address labels, select Labels from the list of options.

Step 2 – Select Starting Document

Select the label template you need to use…

  • Built-in Avery templates: click on “Change document layout” and “Label options”. Set Printer information to “Page printers” and Label information to a Label vendor of “Avery A4/A5” (unless your code is “Avery Zweckform”). Find your Avery code in the Product number list (tip: click on any code and type the first letter/number of your code to jump down the list). Click OK.
  • Create label templates: click on “Change document layout” and “Label options”. Click on “New Label”; this opens a “Label Details” box; enter the measurements of your address labels and click OK.
    We recommend entering the measurements in this order: page size, no. of labels, label width and height, vertical pitch and horizontal pitch, and page margins. If Word rejects your measurements, try setting the page margins to 0mm, enter the rest of your measurements as above, and then enter the correct page margins.
  • Saved label templates: click on “Start from existing document”, browse to your saved label template, and click Open.

Step 3 – Select Recipients

Select your list of addresses. Click on “Use an existing list”, browse to your list, and click Open.

If your data source has multiple sections (e.g. a spreadsheet with multiple sheets), you will need to select the section that contains your addresses. You also need to indicate if your data source includes column headers (e.g. “Name”, “Address” etc).

You will be shown a list of addresses that Word has picked up from your data source. You can sort and filter your addresses and exclude any you don’t want to use. Once you confirm your list, the <<NextRecord>> rule will be added to all of the labels in your label template – except for the first one. When you merge your label template with your list of addresses, this rule tells Word when to start inserting information from the next address – so this rule needs to sit in each label BEFORE any placeholders you add to pull in information from your address list.

If you are using a saved label template, the rule will not be added automatically; you need to add it using the “Rules” option under the “Mailings” tab. Move your cursor into the second label (as the first label does NOT need the next record rule); click on “Rules” and select “Next Record”. You can repeat this process OR copy and paste the first rule you have added into the rest of your labels.

Step 4 – Arrange Your Labels 

Add placeholders to indicate where the information from your address list should be added to your labels – along with any other design features you want to include.

Placeholders can be added using the Wizard Panel options (“Address Block” is perfect for address labels) or “Insert Merge Field” under the “Mailings” tab.

When using the Address Block feature, use the Match Fields button to link the correct information in your data source with the correct section of the Address Block. Word will do its best to match these elements automatically but it doesn’t always get it right.

We recommend setting up your design in the top left label and copying it into the rest of your labels. The “Update All Labels” button in the Wizard Panel does this for you automatically.

This button is not available for saved label templates. You will need to use copy and paste to complete your template; the next record rule must be included in each label (except the first one), so you need to either add this rule back in after pasting your design OR set up your design with the placeholder and remove it from the first label.

Remember that your placeholders will be replaced by text that may take up more or less room than the placeholders themselves. You don’t need to be exact at this point as you can move back and forth between the next stage (which shows you a preview of your finished labels) and this stage to adjust your design if necessary.

If you make changes, remember you can update the first label and use the “Update All Labels” button to quickly apply your changes across the rest of your template.

Step 5 – Preview your Labels

At this point, you can preview a page of address labels with your addresses added into your template. We recommend scrolling through a few of your recipients to check that the information fits properly. Ideally, if you know that a particular address is longer than all the others, check that particular address to make sure it fits.

If your design doesn’t quite work, go back to step 4 to make adjustments. Alternatively, if you only have a problem with a couple of very long addresses, you could even go back to step 3 and edit those addresses to make them fit.

Step 6 – Complete The Merge

Merge your list of addresses with your label template to create your address labels!

Test Print Before You Print Your Address Labels

We recommend test printing ONE PAGE before you print all your address labels. Click on “Print” and select the “From” / “To” option. Enter values that represent one page of address labels. For example, if you have 21 labels per sheet, use 1 as the “From” value and 21 as the “To” value.

Put a sheet of paper into the bypass tray of your printer (if it has one) and set your printer to use a “Labels” or “Heavy” print setting. Make sure the page size is set to A4 and that you have no scaling options applied (e.g. less than 100% or any “Fit To…” options).  Hold your test print against a sheet of your labels and hold both up to a light source to check the alignment. If you have any alignment issues, you can adjust your template as needed.

Next Week On Template Tuesday: The Template Tuesday Guide To…Picking The Perfect Printer To Print Your Own Printer Labels

How To Use Copy & Paste To Complete Label Templates As Accurately & Efficiently As Possible!

September 24th, 2019

One of our top tips is to use copy and paste to complete templates more accurately and efficiently. Here’s our guide to using copy and paste to complete label templates as accurately and efficiently as possible.

Why Is Copy & Paste A More Accurate & Efficient Way To Complete Label Templates?

Copy and paste allows you to complete label templates much more quickly and accurately compared with setting up your label design from scratch in each label in your template. This is because…

  • Instead of having to spend time setting up your design from scratch in each label, you can instantly add your design to another label – or even multiple labels – with a couple of clicks.
  • All of your labels will contain the EXACT SAME design (including the same formatting and layout); if you set up each label from scratch, it is possible for slight variations to creep in, which can make it harder to get an accurate alignment on all of your labels when you come to print your template.

How To Use Copy & Paste To Complete Different Layouts In Label Templates

This process depends on your software and the layout of your labels (specifically if there are gaps between the rows and / or columns of labels). If your software allows you to select multiple individual labels at once, you can simply select the labels you want to fill and paste your design. If your software relies on selecting adjacent elements (like columns or rows in a Word template), you need to avoid selecting areas that represent gaps – otherwise you will end up printing your design into the spaces between your labels, ruining the alignment of your template.

word label templates copy and paste layouts

First, add your design to the first label in your template. Next, select that label and copy it. You must select the label itself (including its contents) and not just the design you have added.

In Word label templates, it is possible to select only the content you have added to a label and not the label itself. This only copies the content and not all of the formatting and layout options you have used to create your design.

To select a cell in Word, move your cursor to the bottom left corner and triple click quickly. The cell will be highlighted with a light grey background to indicate that it is selected. Alternatively, click inside the cell, select the Table Tools Layout tab at the top of the page, click on Select, and choose Select Cell.

label-templates-selecting-a-single-cell

Copy your label using the Copy menu in your software or using a keyboard shortcut (Windows: Ctrl + C / MacOS: + C).

Next, you need to select the labels into which you will add your copied design.

Word Label Templates With No Gaps

If there are no gaps between your labels, select the entire template and paste your design into all of your labels at once. Move your cursor into the top left label, hold down your left button / trackpad as you move your cursor into the bottom right label, and release the button / trackpad to select. All of the labels in your template should be highlighted with a light grey background to indicate that they have all been selected.

Word Templates With Gaps Between Columns

You need to avoid pasting your design into the blank columns that represent gaps between your labels, so you need to select only the columns that represent labels.

Move your cursor above the first column until it turns into a downward facing arrow. Left click / tap to select the column, which will now be highlighted with a light grey background. Move your cursor above the next column you need to select and hold down the Control key / Command key on your keyboard as you click. You should now see that both the first column and the new column you have selected are both highlighted. Repeat the process for the rest of the columns you need to select and paste your design.

Label Templates Selecting Columns In Word

Word Templates With Gaps Between Rows

This is a very uncommon layout; however, you may need to use this technique if you use a standard layout in the landscape orientation. Select the first row by moving your cursor into the first label, holding down the button / trackpad as you move your cursor into the last label in the row, and release to select the row. Repeat this process for the next row down – holding down the Control key / Command key on your keyboard as you select that second row. You should find that both the first row and the new row you have selected are now highlighted with a light grey background. Repeat the process for the remaining rows in your template and paste your design.

label templates selecting rows

Take care to keep your cursor within the last label in the row; if you go beyond the last row, you may end up selecting the blank space outside of the row as well as the row itself.  

Word Templates With Gaps Between The Columns & Rows

This is the most complicated layout because you can’t just select entire rows / columns. In fact, if there aren’t too many labels in your template, it may be quicker to simply paste your design into the remaining labels one by one.

If you have got a lot of labels on each sheet, however, you can speed things up by adding your design one by one to all of the labels in the top row of your template and then copying that row and pasting it into the rest of the rows in your template.

  1. First paste your design into all of the labels in your top row (avoiding cells that represent the gaps between the labels).
  2. Select the top row; move your cursor inside the first label and hold down the button / trackpad as you move your cursor inside the last label in the row, and release to select the row. Use the copy menu option / shortcut to copy the row.
  3. Select the rest of the rows of labels in your template, as described in “Word Label Templates With Gaps Between Rows”, and paste in your row of designs.

Next Week On Template Tuesday: The Template Tuesday Guide To…Using Word’s Mail Merge Wizard To Print Your Own Address Labels 

How To Paste Copied Items Into Word Label Templates

September 17th, 2019

Not everyone knows that there are actually different types of paste. Each version works in a slightly different way, which has different consequences for how your pasted content turns out. Here’s our quickfire guide to the different paste options available in Word and which ones work best in label templates.

What Paste Options Are Available In Word Label Templates?

Word has four standard paste options, along with a further five options that relate to tables (which are used to create label templates).

Standard Paste Options In Word (left)
Keep Source Formatting, Match Formatting, Picture, and Keep Text Only
Table Paste Options In Word (right)
Cell Contents, Entire Cell, Merge Tabke, Insert As New Rows, Overwrite Cells, and Keep Text Only)

Standard Paste Options

Keep Source Formatting
This retains the formatting applied to your original content.
For example, copied text with a format of Arial size 12 pastes as Arial size 12.
Use when: you want to copy content into / across a template and keep the original formatting options of that content.

Match Formatting
Replaces the formatting options applied to your original content with the formatting used in the location where you are pasting your content.
For example, copied text with a format of Arial size 12 being added into a template with a format of Times New Roman size 16 pastes as Times New Roman size 16.
Use when: you want your copied content to have the same formatting used in your template.

Picture
Converts your copied content into a single image for pasting.
For example, copied text pastes as a single image.
Use when: combining multiple elements into a single design. NB: this option tends to produce low quality images.

Keep Text Only
Discards anything in your copied content that isn’t text and strips any formatting from that remaining text.
For example, a copied text box will have the text box removed and only the text will be pasted with its original formatting options removed.
Use when: adding text from an external source that has used a multitude of formatting options that you don’t want to keep.

Table Paste Options

Keep Text Only
As above.

Cell Contents
Pastes the cell contents you have copied, along with the formatting options applied to the content only.
For example, copies text and images that you have added to a label but not a background colour that has been applied to the label (table cell) itself.
Use when: copying label designs where you want to use a different background / border for each label (and the background / border is applied to the template itself, rather than using additional elements like a background image).

Entire Cell
Pastes the cell contents you have copied (retaining their formatting) AND applies the formatting of the original cell to the new cell.
For example, copies text and images that you have added to a label AND the background colour that has been applied to the label (table cell) itself.
Use when: you want to keep the formatting applied to your label designs (content of a cell) and the label itself (cell).

Additional options include:

  • Merge Table: replaces formatting applied to your copied content with that of your template and merges your copied content with the template (table).
  • Insert As New Rows: adds your copied content as a new row in your template.
  • Overwrite Cells: overwrites your template with the copied content you are pasting.

These options are less useful than those mentioned above when it comes to adding designs to label templates.

How To Find Different Paste Options In Word Label Templates

You can find the different paste options under the “Home” tab of the ribbon at the top of the page.

To view all of the paste options, click on the downward facing arrow below the main paste icon. This brings up a dropdown menu showing icons for the different options. Hover over an icon to see which print option that icon represents). The options available will depend on the type of content you have copied and where you are pasting your content. If the paste tools are greyed out, you haven’t (correctly) copied any content to the clipboard.

Next Week On Template Tuesday: How To Use Copy & Paste To Complete Your Template As Accurately & Efficiently As Possible!

How To Select Individual Items Or Groups Of Items In Label Templates

September 10th, 2019

This Template Tuesday post takes you through different methods you can use to select individual items or groups of items in label templates.

Selecting Individual Items

The simple “Point & Click” method works for most items. Point your cursor at the item (so it sits above the item) and (left) click once to select it. On touchscreen devices, you can tap on an item to select it.

Selecting an image in Word Label Templates

Some items need to be selected in a particular place; these items are usually made up of multiple parts.

For example, a text box is made up of a box AND text inside the box. If you click while your cursor is positioned over the text, Word will move your cursor to that position within the text box. To select the text box itself, you need to position your cursor over one of the EDGES of the box.

Selecting a text box in Word Label Templates

Another example is tables, which are made up of the table itself AND the content you add to the table. If you click on a table while your cursor is inside the table, you will either select an item in the table or move your cursor to that position in the table. To select the table itself, move your cursor to the top left corner of the table; it will turn into a four headed arrow icon and you can (left) click once to select the whole table.

Selecting a table in Word Label Templates

Text also needs to be selected slightly differently. As plain text is not contained within a single element (like a text box), you need to highlight the specific text you want to select. Position your cursor at the start of your text. Click and hold down the left button (or tap and hold down your trackpad) as you move your cursor to the end of your text. Release the button / trackpad and your selected text should now be highlighted by a light grey background.

Selecting Multiple Items

Multiple items can be selected using a version of “Point & Click” or “Highlighting”.

  • POINT & CLICK: hold down the Control Key (Windows: Ctrl) or Command Key (MacOS: Cmd / ⌘) on your keyboard as you select each item.
    NB: to select images in a group, you first need to change their Wrap Text format from the default “In Line With Text” to “Tight” or “In Front Of Text”. Select your image, then click on the Picture Format tab at the top of the page to find the Wrap Text tool.
Selecting Multiple Items In Word Label Templates Using Point & Click
All three items have been selected and are showing an outline with the resizing handles at the corners and along the edges.
  • HIGHLIGHTING: use your cursor to establish a square / rectangular area so that all items within that area are selected. Move your cursor above and to the left of the first item in your chosen area. Click and hold down the left button (or tap and hold your trackpad) as you move your cursor below and to the right of the last item in your chosen area and release. This highlights (selects) all of the items within the rectangle or square formed by the starting and finishing positions of your cursor.
Select Multiple Items In Word Label Templates Using Click & Drag
The cursor begins in the top left corner and ends in the bottom right corner of the established rectangular area; all items within that area have been highlighted with a grey background to indicate that they have been selected.

Selecting Individual Labels In Word Label Templates

If you would like to create a set of identical labels within a single template, you can add your design to one label and then copy and paste that label into the other labels. To select an individual label, you COULD use the methods above to select all of the items in your design. The problem with this is it tends to only select the items in your design themselves and not the formatting / layout options you have used to get your label design just right. This can mean that your carefully positioned items end up rearranging themselves when you paste your design into other labels.

To get around this, you need to select the entire label (i.e. the entire cell of the table). The best way to do this is to move your cursor into the bottom left corner of the label / cell and TRIPLE CLICK the left button QUICKLY.

Alternatively, move your cursor into the cell you want to select. Position your cursor over a blank space in the label and (left) click once. If you don’t have a blank space (because you’ve filled your label with a design), use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move your cursor from cell to cell until you reach the label you want to select. Now, click on the Table Tools Layout tab at the top of the page, choose “Select” from the far left end of the ribbon, and then click on “Select Cell”.

Selecting a single cell in Word label templates

Selecting Multiple Labels In Word Label Templates

To copy and paste designs more efficiently, you can select multiple labels in Word label templates – usually by selecting entire rows or columns.

Selecting columns is the simplest; position your cursor above the column you want to select until it turns into a downward facing arrow and click to select the column. To select multiple columns, hold down the Control (Windows) or Command (MacOS) key on your keyboard as you click to select each new column.

Selecting Columns In Word Label Templates

To select rows, you can use the highlighting method described above. Position your cursor in the first label in the row you want to select; click the left button / hold down your trackpad and move your cursor into the last label in the row, and release to highlight the row.

Selecting rows in label templates

When working with Word label templates, you need to be aware that some of the rows and columns represent BLANK spaces between your labels and not the labels themselves. If you select blank spaces, they will be inserted into your template as new rows / columns when you try to paste your designs – ruining your template.

Next Week On Template Tuesday: How To – How To Paste Copied Items Into Word Label Templates

The Template Tuesday Guide To…Copy & Paste – Tools To Make Your Label Templates A Triumph!

September 3rd, 2019

We’re forever telling customers to use copy and paste – because they make designing and printing label templates much easier, quicker, & more accurate. Here’s our Template Tuesday guide to these truly terrific tools!

What Are Copy & Paste?

Copy and paste are TWO of THREE computer functions used to transfer data (the third is cut). By combining Cut + Paste or Copy + Paste data can be transferred from one place to another.

  • Cut + Paste removes the data from its original location and transfers it to a new location.
  • Copy + Paste leaves the data in its original location and transfers a copy to the new location.

Using Cut or Copy places the data (either the original data or a copy of the original data) into a temporary storage tool on your device known as the “clipboard”.

Why Are Copy & Paste Useful Tools For Label Templates?

Copy and paste have a number of uses (and benefits) when it comes to adding label designs into label templates.

  • They can be used to add a design (or elements that will make up a design) from an external source. For example, transferring product information for product labels from a database / website to a template.
  • They can be used to quickly (and accurately) complete label templates for sets of identical labels (or labels with a shared design but variable information). One of our top tips is: set up your design in the top left label of your template and use copy and paste to complete your template. Not only is this a much quicker method, compared to adding your design into each label individually, it is also more accurate because you can replicate not only the content of your design but also its exact layout and positioning within each label – meaning that every label is exactly the same (a tricky thing to achieve if you are setting up each label individually), which makes it easier to produce accurately aligned labels when you print your label template.

How Do I Use Copy & Paste To Add Designs To Label Templates?

Most software contains copy and paste icons or menu options. Alternatively, you can use keyboard shortcuts or the “drag and drop” method to quickly copy and paste data from one place to another. The process has four steps:

  1. Select the data you want to copy
  2. Copy your data
  3. Select the place in your template where you want to add your data
  4. Paste your data

You might not always be able to select the exact location in your label template where you would like to add your copied data. In these cases, you have to paste your data and then move it to the correct position.

Icons & Menu Options (Point & Click):

Select your data; individual items can be selected by (left) clicking on them once, multiple items can be selected by holding down the Control key (Windows) or Command key (Mac) on your keyboard as you click on each item, and text / sections can be selected by moving your cursor to the start of your text / top left of your section, holding down the left button or trackpad and moving your cursor to the end / bottom right, and releasing the button or trackpad to highlight your text / section.

You can then click on the icon / menu option to copy your data. Some software includes copy in a pop-up list of options that appear when you (right) click on your data.

Use your cursor to select where you want to add your data and then click on the icon / menu option to paste your data. Again, paste will often be included in the pop-up list of options if you right click in the location where you want to add your data.

Keyboard Shortcuts:

  • Windows: select the data you want to copy; press and hold down the Control (Ctrl) key as you press the C key. Select where you want to paste your data; press and hold down the Control key as you press the V key.
  • Mac: follow the same steps but press the Command Key (⌘) instead of the Control key.

Drag And Drop:

Some data can be transferred by using your cursor to drag that data from one location and drop it in another; by default, this usually performs the cut and paste function (removing the data from its original location), although you can change this to a copy and paste function (leaving the original data in its original location) by holding down the Control key (Windows) or Option key (Mac) on your keyboard as you drag and drop your data.

Use your cursor to select your data and hold down the left button / trackpad as you move your cursor to the new location (this works more easily if you have your two locations open side by side on your computer screen, although this isn’t necessary). Release the button / trackpad to drop your data into its new location. 

Touchscreen Devices:

On touchscreen devices, you can tap (and hold) to select your data and bring up a pop-up list of options. This list may include a select option to select your data before showing cut and copy as options. You can then tap (and hold) where you want to paste your data to bring up the pop-up list again and select paste.

How Do I Use Copy & Paste To Complete Label Templates?

Add your design to the first label, select the entire label, and copy it.
In Word, you must select the entire label, not just the design you have added. This ensures that the formatting and layout options used to create your design are copied along with the basic elements that make up your design.

Select where to paste your design and use the paste icon / menu option / shortcut. Depending on the layout of your labels, you may be able to complete the entire label template at once OR you may have to paste row by row / column by column as follows:

label templates completing different label layouts
  • NO GAPS BETWEEN LABELS: select all your labels and paste your design.
  • GAPS BETWEEN COLUMNS OF LABELS: select individual columns and paste column by column OR select all the label columns (NOT the gaps between the columns) and paste your design.
  • GAPS BETWEEN ROWS OF LABELS: select individual rows and paste row by row OR select all the label rows (NOT the gaps between rows) and paste your design.
  • LABELS WITH GAPS ALL THE WAY AROUND: if your software allows you to select multiple individual locations, select all your labels and paste. Alternatively, paste your design into all the labels in one row or column before copying that row or column. Next select the rest of the rows / columns in your template and paste your row or column of designs to complete your template more quickly.

Be careful with this method as some software will insert your copied row / column of designs as a new row or column, which will ruin the alignment of your template (unless you can – carefully – delete these rows/columns).

Next Week On Template Tuesday: How To Select Individual Items Or Groups Of Items In Label Templates