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

How To Reverse Label Designs & Create Mirrored Label Templates In Word For Window Stickers

August 27th, 2019

To create window stickers that will be applied onto the inside of a window and viewed from the outside, you may need to reverse – or mirror – your designs to ensure they appear the right way around. Here’s how to create mirrored label templates for window stickers.

When & Why To Use Mirrored Label Templates

You will only need to use mirrored label templates to create window stickers if:

  1. your design contains DIRECTIONAL ELEMENTS; this is anything that only looks / reads correctly in ONE direction – like text.
  2. AND your labels will be stuck onto the inside of a window and viewed from the outside; for example, signs and notices in shop windows (applied inside the shop) viewed by people passing by on the street outside.
mirrored label templates directional elements

How To Create Mirrored Label Templates

There are two ways to create mirrored label templates.

Option One: Use Your Printer’s Print Settings

Some printers / software will mirror or reverse documents during the printing process, which means that you don’t need to do anything differently with your label templates. You simply set up your template as usual and, when you are ready to print, go into “Printer Properties” / “Printing Preferences” and look for a printing option called “Mirror Printing” or “Reverse Printing”. Your template will then be reversed for you and sent to your printer.

Top Tip: we do recommend test printing your template onto paper using this function before printing onto your labels proper so that you can confirm that it does work as you need it to!

Option Two: Reverse / Mirror The Directional Elements In Your Label Design

The tool you use depends on the type of element you need to reverse / mirror…

HOW TO MIRROR / REVERSE IMAGES

Reverse images using the “Flip” tool. Select your image to bring up the Picture Format tab (for pictures) / Shape Format tab (for shapes) at the top of the page. Select the “Rotate” tool in the “Arrange” section of the Format tab, and select “Flip Horizontal”.

how to reverse pictures and images in word mirrored label templates

HOW TO MIRROR / REVERSE TEXT BOXES & WORDART

Unfortunately, the flip tool doesn’t work for text boxes and WordArt because it only flips the box / background – and not the actual text. To reverse these elements, you need to use the “Rotate” tool.

Select your text box or WordArt to bring up the Shape Format tab. Click on “Shape Effects” (to rotate the text AND the box / background) or “Text Effects” (to rotate just the text). Click on “3-D Rotation”, select “3-D Rotation Options”, and change the value of “X Rotation” to 180.

NB: if you are formatting a TEXT BOX using SHAPE EFFECTS, a grey background is added by default. Undo this (or choose a different background) using the “Shape Fill” option in the “Shape Styles” section. To remove the background select “No Fill”.

Word automatically rotates items back to their “normal” state when you click on them to edit the text. To finish editing, click outside of the shape and Word will return it back to its reversed / mirrored state.

Top Tip: if your design is made up of multiple elements, remember you only need to reverse / mirror those that are directional.

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

How To – How (& Why) You Should Use Bleed Label Templates To Add Coloured Backgrounds & Borders

August 20th, 2019

Bleed label templates are designed specifically for designing and printing label designs that involve adding coloured backgrounds and / or borders onto labels. Learn how to use this type of template to get the perfect alignment for colourful label designs.

Why Bleed Label Templates Are The Best Way To Add Coloured Backgrounds & Borders

Coloured backgrounds and borders can be difficult to align perfectly every time; a simple trick to get a good alignment is to oversize backgrounds and borders, forcing them to overlap the edges of your labels.

Bleed label templates are the perfect partner for this trick because they are set up with a bleed area – i.e. they show you the blank space around each label that is available for you to use to oversize your design.

This means you don’t have to waste time working out how much space you have for oversizing your design – you simply need to make sure that your design falls into the indicated bleed area, and you’re good to go (remembering, of course, to always test print your template before printing onto your labels proper)!

How To Use Bleed Label Templates To Add Coloured Backgrounds & Borders

Bleed label templates designed for different software will indicate the bleed area in different ways. At Label Planet, we supply Word label templates and PDF label templates.

Word and PDF bleed label templates

In our PDF bleed label templates, the labels themselves are represented with a solid black outline and the bleed area around each one is represented with a dotted grey outline. To add a coloured background and/or border, you simply need to oversize it slightly so that it ends in the bleed area – between the solid outline of the label and the dotted outline of the bleed area.

Word bleed label templates are a little trickier; the bleed area and the labels are merged together so you won’t be able to see where the labels themselves end and the bleed area begins. However, as long as your coloured background / border fills each label space, it will end up overlapping the edges of your labels.

What If A Bleed Template Isn’t Available For Your Labels?

You may find that bleed label templates aren’t available for your labels. This is because they are only available for label layouts that feature gaps all the way around each label (and therefore have a bleed area all the way around each label).

In this case, you will need to use a standard template and oversize your design carefully; each label will touch another label along at least one of its edges, which means that you will end up overlapping your designs. As we’ve mentioned before, you will need to make sure that your designs are consistent in colour so that the overlapping areas are printed in the same colour – hiding the fact that some parts of your design have overlapped onto another label.

Next Week On Template Tuesday – How To Reverse Label Designs To Create Mirrored Label Templates For Window Stickers In Word

Designing Label Templates – How (& Why) You Should Ensure Your Design Walks The Line At The Edges Of Your Labels

August 13th, 2019

Printing label templates can be a tricky business at the best of times – but it becomes especially difficult when label designs sit very close to or at the edges of each label. Here’s our guide to how (and why) you should take care with label designs that fill your self adhesive labels.

Why You Need To Be Careful With Label Templates That Include Label Designs At The Edges Of Your Labels

Basically, label designs that sit at the edges of your labels require a LOT more accuracy to print properly, compared to label designs that don’t touch the edges.

This is because a misalignment at the edges of your labels is much more obvious than a misalignment in the middle of your labels. For example, a misaligned border is always more obvious than a misaligned design in the middle of a label.

The one exception is designs that mirror the shape of your labels – for example, the misalignment of a round logo that is supposed to be centred in a round label will be more obvious than a round logo misaligned in a rectangular label.

Essentially, if your design doesn’t sit at or mirror the edges of your labels, there is some wiggle room with how accurately aligned your design needs to be to produce a label that is visually acceptable.

Designs that follow the edges of your labels require extra precision when printing to ensure that each design lines up perfectly with each label.

Furthermore, you also need to consider problems that can occur with label layouts where some (or all) of your labels are butt cut – i.e. one or more of the sides of each label touches another label. If your design sits at the very edges of your labels – and is very slightly misaligned during the printing process – you may find that your designs end up overlapping onto other labels.

Given that most software and printers are limited in how accurately they can position print, however, it can be difficult to get every design aligned perfectly on every label. So what can you do? We’ve got a few suggestions to help you design and print label templates that keep your designs in line with your labels.

How To Make Sure Your Label Designs Walk The Line Of The Edges Of Your Labels In Label Templates

There are a number of ways to make it easier to ensure that your designs end up perfectly aligned on your labels when you need or want to make use of the very edges of your labels. The method you choose will depend on the layout of your labels and the kind of design you want to achieve.

label-templates-designs-and-edges

Adapt Your Design So It Doesn’t Use The Edges / Shaping Of Your Labels

The easiest option is to avoid adding any design elements at the edges of your labels (and avoiding designs that mirror the shape of your labels). This is easiest with rectangular labels, which don’t have the more obvious shaping of round labels, oval labels, or square labels.

Simply make sure you don’t have a coloured border or background at the edges of your labels and you’ll give yourself a little wiggle room with how precisely you need to align your designs.

Oversize Your Design So It Overlaps The Edges Of Your Labels

If you do want or need to use a design that makes use of the edges / shaping of your labels, the best way to avoid misalignment issues is to oversize your border / coloured background so that it overlaps the edges of your labels – all the way around each label. We recommend making borders as thick as you can (within the confines of your design obviously) and then oversizing borders/backgrounds by a few mm.

This prevents a printing defect called white edging from occurring; if there is a slight misalignment of your design on a label, part of the label will be left unprinted. As most labels are white, the unprinted area remains white – hence white edging.

Overlapping your design minimises the effect of any slight misalignment – again creating wiggle room with how accurate you need to be with your printing.

Keep Your Design Colour-Coordinated At The Edges Of Your Labels

The one problem with oversizing designs is that your designs might end up overlapping onto other labels. The way to avoid this problem is to follow our first tip (adapting your design so that it doesn’t sit at the edges of your labels) or to make sure that your design colour matches the edges of other labels. For example, if you add a border that is a single colour (e.g. purple) all the way around your labels, where it overlaps onto another label, the overlap will be of the same colour – meaning you won’t be able to tell that the overlap is there at all!

Next Week On Template Tuesday – How (& Why) You Should Use Bleed Label Templates To Add Coloured Backgrounds & Borders 

How To Layer Items In Word Label Templates To Build Up A Label Design

August 6th, 2019

This week’s Template Tuesday explains how to use Word’s “Arrange” tools to layer items in label templates to build up a label design.

Layering Items In Word Label Templates – A Guide To Word’s Arrange Tools

To layer items in any Word document, including label templates, you need to use the “Arrange” tools. The key tools that you need are “Bring Forward”, “Send Backward”, and (if you are using pictures or shapes) “Wrap Text”.

To find the Arrange tools, left click on an image to select it. This will add a “Format” tools tab to the ribbon at the top of the page. The Arrange section is on the right hand side.

how to find word's arrange tools for label templates

You should always change the “Wrap Text” format of images because Word assigns them a default format called “In Line With Text”. This option restricts the positioning of images according to the blank line of text that Word automatically assigns to each label in label templates – because it assumes that you will want to add text at some point.

We recommend using “Tight”; however, if you find that your item keeps disappearing behind other text-based elements, try using “In Front Of Text” instead.

Now you can use the Arrange tools to layer the different elements in your design. We recommend building your design up from the background forward because this means that you simply need to ensure that each new element you add becomes the next layer above the previous one.

How To Use Word’s Arrange Tools

Select the item you want to layer and choose a “Bring Forward” or “Send Backward” option as follows:

  • Bring Forward: this moves your element forward by one layer (i.e. in front of the item above it)
  • Bring To Front: this moves your element to the front of all of the other layers / items in your design
  • Bring In Front Of Text: this moves your element to the front of other layers / items that contain text
  • Send Backward: this moves your element backward by one layer (i.e. behind the item below it)
  • Send To Back: this moves your element behind all of the other layers / items in your design
  • Send Behind Text: this moves your element behind other layers / items that contain text.

Be careful with “Bring In Front Of Text” and “Send Behind Text” because Word prioritises text-based elements over image-based elements. Try “Bring Forward” and “Send Backward” first and use “Bring In Front Of Text” and “Send Behind Text” as backup options. You also need to remember that Word label templates are made using a table, which is an element in your document that can also be layered. If you use the “Send To Back” option, you may find that your item disappears altogether – because it has been moved behind the table used to create your label template.  

The “Selection Pane” tool is also useful if your design is made up of a LOT of different elements. It allows you to select any item in your design. This includes items that have disappeared behind other layers (making it impossible to select it normally).

how to find the selection pane for word label templates

Next week on Template Tuesday – How (& Why) You Should Ensure Your Design Walks The Line At The Edges Of Your Labels

Designing Label Templates –Why You Should Design From The Background Forward

July 23rd, 2019

Another top tip that we recommend is to build up label designs from the background forwards; here’s why this is one of our Template Tuesday top tips for designing label templates.

Take Control Of Layered Designs In Word Label Templates

Word doesn’t always place nice when it comes to positioning elements together. It is especially troublesome if you need to accurately position and/or layer different types of elements. Word always prioritises text, which means images are often relegated to the background or just out of the way of the text Word assumes you want to enter.

Word label templates are also basically a table that you fill with your design. While you don’t print the template itself, Word will still treat the table as a layer. Given that a table COULD contain text, Word might move your template in front of the images you want to use in your design.

This is why we recommend building layered designs from the background up.

layering label designs in label templates

The table should be the absolute background layer of your template. First, add the background layer of your design. Once you’re happy that it’s in the correct position (and layered above your table), add the next layer forward. Once you’re happy with this layer, move on to the next layer forward, and so on, until your design is complete.

Working from the background forward makes the process of building up layered designs much simpler. It helps to prevent problems with your template shifting forward (causing elements in your design to disappear behind your template) and means you don’t have to spend time trying to switch between layers and moving elements backwards and forwards to get your required design.

Next Time On Template Tuesday: How To Label Items In Word Label Templates To Build Up A Label Design

Designing Label Templates – How (& Why) You Should Keep Things In Line With A Central Alignment

July 16th, 2019

One of our top tips to customers is to centralise label designs to make things simpler; in this blog, we’ll explain why central alignment is so useful when it comes to designing label templates – as well as how to centralise label templates.

What Do We Mean By A “Central Alignment”?

The term “alignment” actually has a number of applications when it comes to labels and label templates. Alignment refers to the spatial arrangement of items – along a straight line, in parallel lines, in a shared space or in corresponding spaces, or in relation to another item.

When working with labels, alignment can refer to:

  • The way labels are positioned on a sheet
  • How a label design is positioned on each label (and how the elements within that design are positioned)
  • How well (or not) a label template positions your label designs when you print your labels

When it comes to designing label templates, the most important “alignment” is how well your template (and therefore your label design) aligns with your labels when printed. However, it’s also important to think about the alignment of your design (and the elements within that design) – because this can influence how easy (or not) it is to produce a beautifully aligned set of printed labels.

There are NINE ways to align a label design on a label, which are as follows (and are usually represented by the following icons):

label templates - what is alignment

When aligning a label design, the design is aligned relative to the LABEL. This is important because items can be aligned relative to a number of other items (for example, in Word, you can align items relative to the page, to the page margins, to text, or to other items).

Why Do We Recommend Using A Central Alignment For Label Templates?

Choosing an alignment is often a subjective choice; some people prefer the appearance of a central alignment, while others prefer a different alignment. For example, a left alignment is particularly popular for simple text-based labels, such as address labels or product information labels, which only contain basic text that is read from left to right – making a left alignment feel more natural.

The reason we recommend a central alignment is because it tends to make it easier to align your designs onto your labels during the printing process. This is because your design “starts” from the centre of each label and expands outwards – this means you are less likely to get problems with content getting cut off around the edges of your labels. A central alignment can also have a natural sense of balance to it, which many find creates a more attractive appearance for label designs (especially on labels with more obvious shaping – like round labels and oval labels).

How Do You Set Word Label Templates To Use A Central Alignment?

In Word, you can set individual alignments for each individual item (as well as the label templates themselves), so the simplest option is to apply a central alignment to the whole label template. Word label templates are made using tables, so you need to apply a central alignment to your table.

First select your table; move your cursor to the top left corner of the table until the cursor turns into a four headed arrow. Left click to select your table. Two tabs will appear in the ribbon at the top of the page; “Table Design” and “Layout”. Click on the Layout tab and find the nine alignment icons in the “Alignment” section. Click on the middle “Centre” icon to apply a central alignment to the entire table – and your label template.

Any items you now add will be centrally aligned by default. If your design is made up of multiple elements, remember to change the “Wrap Text” format to give yourself better control over the positioning of these items. Left click to select an item and click on the “Format” tab that appears in the ribbon; click on the Wrap Text icon and select “Tight”.

You can use the Format tabs to apply different alignments to individual items but we advise sticking with the overall central alignment and moving each element into its required position from there.

All of the Word label templates supplied by Label Planet are set up with a central alignment. If you want to use a different alignment, you can use the steps listed above to apply your preferred alignment to your template.

Next Week On Template Tuesday: Designing Label Templates –Why You Should Design From The Background Forward

Tops Tips For Working With Images In Word Label Templates

July 9th, 2019

Word does not always play well with images so we’ve put together our Template Tuesday Top Tips for taking back control of your label templates when Word simply won’t do what it’s told!

word label templates and images

Top Tip No. 1: Use Copy & Paste As Much As You Can

Copy and paste are brilliant tools when it comes to creating – and completing – accurate label templates. You can use copy and paste to quickly add images from external sources. Then, if you’re creating a set of identical or similar labels, you can save yourself time AND create a more accurate template by using copy and paste to complete your template.

Add your design to the first label in your template. Once you’re happy with it, select that label, copy it, and then paste it into the rest of the template. Not only is this quicker than setting up your design from scratch in each individual label, it is also more accurate – because every design (and therefore every label) will be exactly the same.

Top Tip No. 2: Use A Blank Document If You Have Pasting Problems

If you are pasting an image from an external source and it doesn’t paste into your label template properly, try opening a blank Word document and pasting your image into that document first. Sometimes, pasting into a table (used to create Word label templates) can cause problems – especially with image size and resolution. Pasting your image into a clean, blank document sidesteps this problem. You can then copy and paste your image into your label template without any trouble.

Top Tip No. 3: Size Matters (& Resizing Matters Even More)

If your images aren’t the right size to begin with, you will need to resize them to make them fit into your template (and onto your labels), which can cause problems with image quality – depending on the type of image you are using.

Vector images store images as a set of instructions, which are used to reconstruct the image each time it is displayed or resized. This means that you can resize these images without losing any detail.

Most images, however, are stored as bitmap images, which are made up of a grid of pixels (or points of colour). If you increase the size of a bitmap image, your software has to add in extra pixels – assigning colour information based on the original pixels around them. If you decrease the size of a bitmap image, your software has to remove pixels. In either case, the detail held in the original pixels is diluted, reducing the quality of the image.

Ideally, you should use images that are already the correct size (or very slightly larger) for your label templates.

Top Tip No 4: Take Care With Coloured Backgrounds / Borders

You need to take care with images that sit at the very edges of your labels – if they are a different colour to the labels themselves. Standard printers and software are limited in how accurately they can align a design to your labels. Any slight misalignment can result in a printing defect known as “white edging” – although “blank edging” would be a more accurate term. This simply means that, where your design doesn’t quite align at the edge(s) of your labels, you get a blank, unprinted edge. It is called white edging because most labels are white in colour and so the unprinted area is white.

If there is a gap all the way around each label (as on a sheet of round labels, for example), you can oversize your image slightly so that it overlaps the edges of your label making it impossible for white edging to occur. If there isn’t a gap all the way around you will either need to make sure your image doesn’t sit at the edges OR ensure that your image is a consistent colour all the way around. This way, when you oversize your image and print your labels, the images will overlap BUT you won’t notice because the overlap will be the same colour.

Top Tip No 5: Take Control Over Picture Positioning

One of the biggest problems people encounter when they add images to Word label templates is positioning. As a word processor, Word is designed primarily for adding, editing, and arranging TEXT – not images. While it does offer support for images, Word will always prioritise text over images and positioning images according to the text in your label template (even if you haven’t actually added any text).

To give yourself more control over the positioning of images in Word label templates, you need to change the “Wrap Text” format of your images. By default, this is “In Line With Text” – meaning that Word will align your images based on the text it assumes you will want to enter. Left click once on an image to select it and bring up the “Picture Tools” (for pictures) or “Drawing Tools” (for shapes) Format Tab. Under “Wrap Text”, select “Tight”. If you find that an image is partially overlapped by another element in your template (and using the “Bring Forward” or “Bring To Front” tools in the format tab don’t help), try using “In Front Of Text”.

Top Tip No 6: Have A Plan For Designs With Multiple Elements (& Work Back To Front)

If your label design is made up of multiple elements (e.g. multiple images or a mix of text and images), we recommend taking a minute to sketch your design and work out how you need to layer your elements to create your required design. You should then work from the background forward, layering each element in order, which helps to avoid potential problems with Word trying to “helpfully” arrange your layers for you.

Top Tip No 7: Use A Central Alignment To Keep Your Design In Line

Using a central alignment tends to give you better control over the positioning of different elements within a design. While you might think that using a left alignment for elements that sit on the left hand side of your design and a right alignment for elements that sit on the right hand side of your design would make things easier, this does restrict how an image can be positioned. This means that using a more generic central alignment and repositioning your images as needed actually allows you to create your label design more accurately.

Top Tip No 8: Always Test Print Label Templates

Image-based designs tend to require a more accurate alignment than simpler text-based designs. A misaligned image always tends to stick out more than misaligned text, which is why we strongly recommend doing a test print of image-based designs before printing onto your labels themselves.

Load a blank sheet of paper into your printer (using the media bypass tray if your printer has one) and set up your print settings as you would to print your labels (using a specific “Labels” or “Heavy Paper” print setting). Hold your test print against a sheet of your labels and hold both up to a light source to check the alignment and see if you need to make any adjustments before printing onto your labels proper.

Top Tip No. 9: Don’t Expect More From Word (Or Yourself) Than It Is (Or You Are) Capable Of Delivering

We’ve already mentioned the fact that Word is, primarily, a word processor designed to handle text only. While Word can handle design-based tasks (and create a perfectly printed set of labels), it is by NO MEANS designed for creating complex designs that require a high level of detail and accuracy.

Creating more complicated designs in Word can be done – if you have the knowledge of the tools required to do so AND the patience to work around the limitations in Word. If you don’t have either of these things or if you’re looking to create a label design that is simply more complex than Word is capable of reproducing, then you should get someone else to do it for you, use other software, or compromise and simplify your design.

Next Week On Template Tuesday: Designing Label Templates – How (& Why) You Should Keep Things In Line With A Central Alignment

How To Create A Label Design In Word Using Images & Shapes

July 2nd, 2019

This week’s Template Tuesday takes a closer look at how to create image-based designs in Word label templates using images and shapes.

What’s The Difference Between Images & Shapes?

In Word, you can create image-based designs using images (pictures) or shapes. Pictures are images that you usually add from an external source, such as a camera or the internet, and can be any kind of image, from photographs to logos. Shapes, however, are just that – basic shapes that you can create in a Word document and use to build up your required label design.

How Do I Add An Image Or Shape To Word Label Templates?

Both can be added using the “Insert” tab in the ribbon at the top of the page.

When adding pictures, you have the option to insert an image you have saved on your computer or device (click on Pictures and navigate to your saved file), insert an image you find using an online search (click on Online Pictures), or you can insert an image created from a screenshot (click on Screenshot).

Alternatively, you can copy images from an external source and use the paste icon or keyboard shortcut (Windows: press Ctrl + V // MacOS: Command + V) to insert it into Word label templates.

When adding shapes, you need to select the shape you want to create, move your cursor to the place where you want to add your shape, (left) click and hold down the button or trackpad as you move your cursor down and to the right to create the size of shape you need, and then release to insert your shape. You can format and resize your shape at any point. By default, shapes have a solid blue border (outline) and a solid blue colour (fill).

How Do I Format Images & Shapes In Word Labels Templates?

You can format pictures and shapes in a variety of ways to help produce your required label design. For pictures, use the formatting tools listed under the “Picture Tools Format” tab, while shapes can be formatted using the tools in the “Drawing Tools Format” tab. To bring up either of these tabs, you will need to first select your picture or shape by left clicking on it once.

You can apply basic effects and styles to pictures (including colouring effects, borders, and shadow, reflection, glow, or bevel effects). With shapes, you can format the border (outline) and colour (fill), as well as applying basic effects like those listed above.

You can also use the format tabs to adjust the size of your picture or shape (this can also be done by clicking on the sizing handles at the corners / in the centre of each edge and dragging to resize) or to change the arrangement of your picture or shape.

The arrangement tools are very important when working with images (pictures or shapes) in Word label templates. Word prioritises text over images, which means that the positioning and layering options for images will be set to their most basic level by default. This can severely restrict how much control you have over positioning and layering images (vital tools when it comes to creating image-based designs), which is why you should always change these settings from the default option (“In Line With Text”) to something that gives you more control (we recommend “Tight”, although you can also use “In Front Of Text” if you have problems getting a particular shape or picture to sit at the very front of your design).

Next Week On Template Tuesday – Top Tips For Working With Images In Word Label Templates