When designing and printing your own self adhesive labels, you might come across a few terms that you haven’t heard before – which is why we thought we’d put together a short glossary of terms associated with designing and printing label templates.
Generally speaking, alignment describes the arrangement of items along an actual or imaginary line (or lines), in positions relative to each other or to other items, or that have the same positioning within a shared space or on two separate surfaces. When designing and printing label templates, alignment can refer to the positioning of a design (and individual design elements) within a single label, the positioning of blank labels within the area of an A4 sheet, and the positioning of a label template that has been printed onto sheet labels.
All In One Printer
A printer designed to perform multiple tasks to a reasonable standard; e.g. printing, copying, scanning, faxing etc.
A manufacturer of pressure sensitive adhesive materials best known for their self adhesive labels (and label templates).
A label template that provides a blank space (bleed area) around each label so that a design can overlap (bleed over) the edges to avoid white edging.
Application software used to connect to the World Wide Web via the internet. Common examples include Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, and Edge.
A label template that exists within (as part of) application software; for example, Word includes built-in label templates that can be accessed via the “Mailings” tab.
A type of alignment whereby content is centred in the middle of a page, text box, table cell etc so that it “begins” in the centre of the item and expands outwards.
A temporary storage tool that stores items that have been removed using the “cut” tool or duplicated using the “copy” tool.
When two (different) items are compatible, they can be used together without the need to adapt or modify one or both of those items. When designing and printing self-adhesive labels, you need to use a label template that is compatible with your label size (i.e. uses the same label size and layout), a label template that is saved in a file format that is compatible with your application software (i.e. use a Word template in Word etc), and printer labels that are compatible with your printer (i.e. laser labels for a laser printer and inkjet labels for an inkjet printer).
A tool that creates a duplicate of an item (e.g. an image or piece of text) and adds it to a temporary storage tool called the “clipboard”.
Copy and Paste
The process of using the “copy” function and then the “paste” function to duplicate an item and insert that duplicate elsewhere.
A tool that removes an item (e.g. an image or piece of text) from its original location and adds it to a temporary storage tool called the “clipboard”.
Cut and Paste
The process of using the “cut” function and then the “paste” function to remove an item from its original location and insert it elsewhere.
A printer designed to perform a single task (printing) to a high standard; printers designed to print a specific type of print media (e.g. self adhesive labels, photos etc) are known as “dedicated application printers”.
Default Print Settings
The print settings stored in the printer driver; these settings will be used if you don’t select your own print settings.
In Word, the default tabs appear at the top of the page at all times. They contain basic tools that can be used to edit any type of document and are usually listed as follows: “File”, “Home”, “Insert”, “Design”, “Layout”, “References”, “Mailings”, “Reviews”, and “View”.
Drag And Drop
A method for performing the “cut and paste” or “copy and paste” functions; this method involves clicking on an item and holding the (left) button of your mouse down as you move your cursor to the place you want to insert your item (this usually performs the “cut and paste” function – to perform the “copy and paste” function, you need to hold down the Control Key (Windows) or Option Key (Mac)).
File formats specify how information is encoded for storage in a computer file. Label templates are often available in a range of file formats so that users can find one that is compatible with the application software they want to use to design their blank labels; at Label Planet, we supply label templates in the Word file format (.docx) and the PDF file format (.pdf).
In Word, the format tabs are additional tabs that appear when you click on a certain type of item -e.g. tables, text boxes, images etc. They contain formatting tools that can be used to alter the design and arrangement of those items; the Table Tools tabs (Design and Format) alter tables, the Picture Tools tab alters images, and the Drawing Tools tab alters shapes and text boxes.
In Word, these are tools that allow you to change the design (appearance) and arrangement (layout) of items in Word documents (e.g. tables, images, shapes, text boxes etc).
Application software used to create and edit images; graphics packages can be used to create or add designs to label templates. Common examples include InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop etc.
Highlighting Content (images)
Selecting an item (or items) is often referred to as “highlighting” because most application software will “highlight” selected items using colour (e.g. by adding a coloured background, reversing the text colour, or by adding dots or lines around the selected item).
Self adhesive labels made with materials that are well-suited to the inkjet printing process; inkjet labels should only be printed with a inkjet printer.
A printer that distributes printing inks onto a surface (substrate) where the inks dry in place to form the final printed image.
A label template that shows the layout of sheet labels when the sheet is in the landscape orientation.
Self adhesive labels made with materials that are well-suited to the laser printing process; laser labels should only be printed with a laser printer.
A printer that uses heat and pressure to bond a dry powder (toner) onto a surface (substrate).
The default page size used in the US; this page size measures 215.9mm wide by 279.4mm high – compared to the A4 page size used in the UK, which is 210mm by 297mm.
A design tool that allows you to merge a single template document (e.g. a letter or label template) with a data source (e.g. a spreadsheet of addresses or database of product information) to create bespoke documents for each row or record in the data source.
The measurement from the edge of a page to the beginning of the content on that page; there are four page margins (top, bottom, left, and right), which determine where content starts and ends on a page. In label templates, the margins indicate the gap between the edge of a sheet and the first/last row or column of labels.
Media Bypass Tray
A secondary tray usually located just above or below the main paper tray in a printer; this tray is designed specifically for processing thicker print media (like self-adhesive labels) and allows these sheets to bypass at least one set of rollers, creating a straighter path through the printer.
The weight of item(s) that are to be printed is usually expressed as grammage – the mass per unit area, symbolised as g/m2 or gsm. Heavier print media usually require different print settings to achieve the same print quality as on light print media.
A label template designed to create transparent labels that can be applied onto a transparent surface and read correctly from the opposite site (for example, window stickers applied to the inside of a window that are intended to be viewed from outside); these label templates reverse (or mirror) the design so that it can be viewed correctly from the opposite side.
Multiple Design Template
A label template that allows you to add different designs onto each label (as opposed to having the same design on every label).
Narrow Edge Leading
A feed direction whereby the narrowest edge of a sheet (for A4 labels this is the 210mm wide edge) enters the printer first.
System software that manages your computer’s hardware (e.g. monitors, keyboards, mice, printers, graphics cards, sound cards etc) and software – and allows the two to communicate. Common examples include Windows, MacOS, Linux, Unix, Android, and iOS.
A tool that takes an item stored in the “clipboard” (by using the cut or copy tool) and inserts it into the new location of your choosing.
A label template that uses the .pdf file format and can be edited using any graphics package that is capable of editing .pdf files (e.g. InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop etc).
The measurement from the leading edge of one label and the label next to it – including any gap between the two. The vertical pitch is the distance from the top of the first label on a sheet to the top of the label below it, while the horizontal pitch is the distance from the left edge of the first label to the left edge of the label next to it. Pitch measurements are required when constructing label templates for sheet labels.
Point And Click
A method for performing the “cut and paste” or “copy and paste” functions; this method involves using your mouse to click on items and the “cut”, “copy”, and “paste” menu options or icons. These tools are usually listed under the “Edit” menu (in Word, they are listed under the “Home” tab) or can be accessed by right clicking on an item.
A label template that shows the layout of sheet labels when the sheet is in the portrait orientation.
Print Media / Media Type
Any item that can be put into a printer for printing. Common examples include sheets of paper, sheet labels, envelopes, photo papers, card, and films/transparencies.
Printable Area / Unprintable Area
Most desktop printers cannot print the full area of an A4 sheet; the area that they can print is called the “printable area”, while the areas around the edges of the sheet that they cannot print form the “unprintable area”.
A device driver is system software that allows the software on a computer to interact with a particular piece of hardware; a printer driver translates instructions from the operating system or application software into a form that the printer can “understand” and carry out.
Printer resolution refers to the amount of detail that a printer can produce, which is measured in terms of how many dots of toner or ink a printer can apply within a given measurement (usually an inch). Printer resolution is expressed as dpi (or dots per inch), although print settings usually use descriptions such as “Fine”, “Best”, “Normal”, “Good”, and “Draft”. 300×300 dpi is considered “normal” resolution (for general text-based documents), 600×600 dpi is “good resolution” (for documents with some design work and/or images), and 1200×1200 dpi is “photo resolution” (for reproducing digital photographs).
Corners that are made with a curved or rounded shape as opposed to the sharp pointed corners that form naturally where two lines meet.
In Word, the ribbon is the strip at the top of the page that contains the tools for inserting and editing text (and other items). The content of the ribbon is determined by selecting one of the “tabs” that sit just above the ribbon; each tab contains a selection of related tools, such as those related to adding items to a document (gathered under the “Insert” tab).
A printing defect caused by incorrect printer settings; these settings cause a printer to scale a label template to a (page) size that is larger or smaller than the actual labels.
Adhesive labels made with pressure sensitive adhesives; this type of adhesive is tacky (sticky) under “normal” conditions and requires only the pressure of a hand or finger to be applied.
Blank strips at the edges(s) of sheet labels that are added to account for the unprintable area of most desktop printers; selvedges mean that most (if not all) of the blank labels are positioned in the centre of each sheet and therefore fall within the printable area of most desktop printers.
Self adhesive labels supplied on individual sheets (as opposed to rolls etc) – in the UK, most self adhesive labels are supplied on A4 sheets, although they are also available in other sizes, such as A5, A3, SRA3 etc.
Single Design Template
A label template that allows you to add the same design onto each label.
Software / Application
A set of computer instructions that allow users to interact with a computer, its hardware, or to perform specific tasks. There are a variety of different types of computer software, including system software (e.g. operating systems, device drivers etc) and application software (individual programs that allow users to perform specific tasks, such as word processors, web browsers, media players, graphics packages, spreadsheets, and databases). Label templates can be created and designed in a range of application software (including word processors, graphics packages, and specific label design applications).
A label template that exists as an individual file or document that is opened using application software; label templates are usually available in different file formats because application software is usually only able to edit specific types of file formats (for example, a PDF template can only be edited by graphics package).
A document or file that contains a pre-determined page layout and style, which can be edited to produce a finished document. Label templates show the layout of blank labels on a sheet so that the required design can be added to the spaces that represent each blank label (and printed onto those labels in the correct alignment).
Printing a label template onto a blank sheet of paper so that the test print can be compared to your blank labels to determine if the label template and printer have been correctly set up to create the correct alignment.
Text Box Template
A label template designed to create text-based label designs; these label templates contain blank text boxes that can be filled in with the required text.
An allowable deviation from the stated measurements of manufactured goods. For self adhesive labels, this can apply to the materials used to produce the sticky labels as well as their dimensions and quantities produced.
A printing defect caused by a slight misalignment between blank labels and a label template where the design includes a coloured background and/or border. The misalignment leaves the edge(s) of the blank labels unprinted creating “white edging” (on white labels; a better term for this defect is “blank edging”).
Application software used to insert, edit, and arrange text on a page; Word processors can be used to create or add designs to label templates. Common examples include Word, Pages, LibreOffice etc.
A label template that uses the .docx file format and can be edited using any word processor that is capable of editing .docx files (e.g. Word, Pages, LibreOffice etc).
A formatting tool in Word that allows you to select how text is arranged around an image; to get better control over the positioning of images in Word, this should be changed to “Tight”.
Next Week On Template Tuesday: Definitions – What Is A Built In Label Template?