Archive for July, 2017

Designing A Label Template – Getting Things In Line With The Perfect Alignment

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

When it comes to label templates there are two kinds of alignment to contend with; first there is the way that your design is aligned within each label and second is the way that your template is aligned on your label sheets when you print your template. As we are currently looking at designing label templates, today’s Template Tuesday will deal with the former form of alignment to help you to create a decorative and professional looking design that is also practical when it comes to getting your printed alignment just right.

Alignment basically refers to the spacing of two or more items and how they are positioned relative to one another (and possibly any other elements around them). For templates, there are two key elements that need to be aligned:

  • The Template Itself; while most label sheets are centrally aligned (i.e. the labels sit in the middle of the sheet so that the top and bottom page margins and the left and right page margins are equal), some are made with an off-centre alignment (causing the page margins to be unequal).
    In this case, alignment refers to how the labels are positioned relative to the A4 sheet.
  • The Content Of The Template; you can choose how you want your design to be aligned within each label – you could centralise your design (so it sits in the middle of each label) or you could choose an off-centre alignment (so it sits closer to one of the edges of each label). You can also give each element within your design its own alignment in order to position all of the elements in a specific way to create the overall layout that you want for your design.
    In this case, alignment refers to how your design and each element within your design is positioned relative to each label or the other elements within your design.

Generally speaking, you won’t need to worry about the alignment of the template itself as this should already have been established for you by the supplier of the template. When it comes to aligning the content of your template, however, the choice is yours and there are a few different options to choose from. In fact, there are NINE alignment options you can choose, based on where your design or element begins vertically (i.e. if it is positioned towards the top, centre, or bottom of a label) and horizontally (i.e. if it is positioned towards the left, centre, or right of a label):

Align Top Left: your design starts from the top left corner of each label.

Align Top Centre: your design starts from the centre of the top edge of each label.

Align Top Right: your design starts from the top right corner of each label.

Align Centre Left: your design starts from the centre of the left edge of each label.

Align Centre: your design starts from the centre of each label.

Align Centre Right: your design starts from the centre of the right edge of each label.

Align Bottom Left: your design starts from the bottom left corner of each label.

Align Bottom Centre: your design starts from the centre of the bottom edge of each label.

Align Bottom Right: your design starts from the bottom right corner of each label.

When designing a label template, you can usually choose to set an overall alignment for your template (so that any element you add should automatically be given that same alignment) and you can set individual alignments for each of the elements within your design.

For example, in a Word template, you can set an overall alignment for your template (and therefore the design that you add to it) by using the alignment tool under the Table Tools Layout Tab AND you can also set individual alignments for the elements that make up your design (including images, text boxes and shapes, and text) by using the alignment tool under the Picture Tools Format Tab / Drawing Tools Format Tab / Home Tab (respectively).

SET AN OVERALL ALIGNMENT FOR YOUR DESIGN

SET AN ALIGNMENT FOR INDIVIDUAL ELEMENTS WITHIN YOUR DESIGN

While you can choose whatever alignment you prefer, we recommend using a centralised layout if possible. This is because this particular alignment causes your design to start in the centre of each label and to expand outwards from this central point; this can help to prevent problems with parts of your design sitting too close to the edges of your labels (which may result in some parts being cut off when you print your labels), helps to prevent white edging around the edges of your labels (because your coloured background doesn’t sit in the right place to cover the entirety of each label), and gives a well balanced look to your label design.

Obviously, we strongly recommend that – whatever alignment you choose – you should always do a test print before printing onto your labels so that you can confirm that your template and printer will produce the correct alignment on your labels AND that the alignment of your design fits practically and attractively inside each label.

Next week on Template Tuesday: Designing A Label Template – Choosing Suitable Shapes & Logical Layouts

Designing A Label Template – Copy & Paste 102

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Over the last two Template Tuesdays we’ve been discussing how “copy and paste” works and how to select items or content (so that you can use copy and paste more efficiently). This Template Tuesday post is all about ways you can combine the two together to create a label template quickly and accurately.

All of our label products are supplied on A4 sheets, which means that all of our label templates represent the layout of all of the labels on a particular sheet. When creating a set of labels that are all the same (or that share common design features), we strongly recommend adding your design to the top left label first and then using copy and paste to add this design to the rest of your labels.

We recommend this particular method for TWO key reasons:

  1. It’s a lot quicker than setting up your label design from scratch in every single label – especially if you are printing a label size that is rather small and so features a lot of labels on a single sheet.
  2. It allows you to create a more accurate template; if you set up your design in each label from scratch there is a possibility that you won’t set it up in exactly the same way and in exactly the same position each time – which could result in slight misliagnments when you print your labels. If, however, you set up your design once and then use copy and paste to replicate that design in exactly the same way and position in the rest of your labels then you know for certain that your template is as accurate as it can possibly be across the whole sheet.

Selecting and copying your design
As we mentioned in last week’s post, you need to select ALL of your label design (including any formatting options you have chosen to use).

In Word, you can do this by moving your cursor to the bottom left corner of the label and then quickly triple clicking the left button on your mouse.

Next, you copy the contents of that label by either clicking on the “Copy” option in the appropriate menu (in Word, copy is listed under the “Home” tab in the ribbon) OR by using the keyboard shortcut of Control Key (Ctrl) + C [Windows] or Command Key (⌘) + C [Mac].

Selecting the rest of your labels and pasting your design into them
This step may be more or less complicated depending on the layout of your label sheets. If there are no gaps between your labels you can simply select all of the labels using the point and click method or the click and drag method and paste your design into the rest of your labels in one go.

However, if there are any gaps between your labels you cannot select the whole template because this will result in your design being pasted into the labels AND the gaps between them – ruining the alignment of your template.

In order to use copy and paste to transfer your design into MULTIPLE labels at once you MUST take care when selecting the destinations for your copied design; the area(s) that you select must MATCH the area(s) that you have copied or you will end up pasting your design into the wrong place(s). 

Selecting labels & pasting your design in a template with no gaps between labels:
Use the point and click method or the click and drag method to select (and highlight) all of the labels in your template. Click on the “Paste” option in the appropriate menu (in Word, paste is listed under the “Home” tab in the ribbon) OR use the keyboard shortcut of Control Key (Ctrl) + V [Windows] or Command Key (⌘) + V [Mac].

Selecting labels & pasting your design in a template with gaps between the columns of labels only:
Use the point and click method to select all of the label columns (avoiding the gap columns). Position your cursor above the first label column until it turns into a small solid black arrow pointing downwards and left click once, then move your cursor above the next label column and hold down the Control Key (Ctrl) [Windows] or Command Key (⌘) [Mac] as you select that label column, and so on until all of the label columns are selected. Then you can paste your design as described above.

Selecting labels & pasting your design in a template with gaps between the columns and rows of labels:
This is the most complicated label layout to paste into because you cannot select entire rows or columns (as you will end up selecting and pasting your design into the gaps between the labels as well as into the labels themselves). However, if you get a bit creative with your selection process and the copy and paste function you can speed things up a bit.

For example, our LP84/46 label size has gaps between the rows and columns. To copy and paste your label design into all of your labels faster than simply pasting into each one individually, follow these simple steps:

  1. Copy and paste your design into each of the labels in the top row (one by one).
  2. Use the click and drag method to select the top TWO rows (this is the top label row and the gap row below it) and copy this selection.
  3. Select the remaining label rows and gap rows EXCEPT for the bottom label row.
  4. Paste your copied area into those rows.
  5. Select the last row that contains your label design and copy that row.
  6. Select the blank bottom label row and paste in your copied area to complete your template.

You can adapt this method however you like to fill in any template where there are gaps between the rows and columns of labels BUT REMEMBER you must match the area you are pasting into with the area that you have copied. For example, if you copy a row of labels and a gap row then the area you paste into must start with a row of labels and end with a gap row – if you copy a label row, the gap row below it, and the label row below that, then you can only paste into an area that contains one label row, the gap row below it, and the label row below that.

Hopefully, you should now be an expert in combining careful selection with copy and paste to create accurate label templates much faster than re-creating your label design in each and every label on your sheet.

Next week on Template Tuesday: Designing A Label Template – Getting Things In Line With The Perfect Alignment

Designing A Label Template – How To Select (Highlight) Content In Word

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

Last week, we looked the functions cut, copy, and paste; as part of this, we described how – before you cut or copy an item or content – you need to first select the item or content that you want to transfer. While many people will already know how to select items and content, others may not know how to do this, and there are a few hints and tips that can help save you some time. So this week’s blog post will be all about how to select (or highlight) items and content – using Word as an example.

Selecting Items
To select an item you simply need to left click on it once using your mouse; however, depending on the item you need to select, you may need to click in a specific position on the item to select the entire item (rather than just an element within that item).

For example, if you need to select an image or a shape, you can click ANYWHERE within that item to select it. The cursor will change to a white arrow with a four headed black arrow behind it, “sizing handles” (round circles) will appear at the four corners and in the middle of the four sides of the item, and the relevant Format tab will be displayed at the top of the ribbon (for images this is the Picture Tools format tab and for shapes it is the Drawing Tools format tab).

When selecting a text box, however, your cursor must be positioned over one of the edges of the box (and in the shape of a white arrow with a four headed black arrow behind it) to select the whole text box. If you click within the text box (with the cursor as a plain white arrow), you will be selecting the TEXT within the box and not the box itself.

Likewise, if you want to select an entire table, you will need to place your cursor over the box containing a black four headed arrow at the top left of the table. Your cursor will turn into a white arrow with a black four headed arrow behind it and (once you have left clicked to select the table) the table will be highlighted by a light grey background to indicate that the ENTIRE table has been selected.

Selecting Multiple Items
To select multiple items you simply need to hold down the Control Key (Ctrl) [Windows] or Command Key (⌘) [Mac] as you left click on each item in turn. As each subsequent item is selected the sizing handles will appear at the four corners and along the four sides and your cursor will take the shape of a white arrow with a plus sign and a rectangle shape behind it.

NB: if one (or more) of the items you are selecting is an image you will need to change the default Wrap Text format from “In Line With Text” to “Tight” or “In Front Of Text” before you can select the image along with other items. To do this you simply left click on the image to bring up the Picture Tools Format tab at the top of the page, click on Wrap Text, and select “Tight” or “In Front Of Text”.

Alternatively, you can place your cursor above and to the left of the first item you want to select, click and hold down the left button on your mouse as you drag your cursor so that it is positioned below and to the right of the last item, and then release the button. This will highlight all of the items that fall within the area outlined by your starting and finishing positions – so you can cut or copy these items although you won’t be able to move them as you would if you selected them using the point and click method described above.

Selecting Text
You can select text using the click and drag method described above; simply position your cursor at the start of the text you want to select, click and hold down the left button as you move your cursor so that it is positioned at the end of the text you want to select, and then release the button. The text you have selected will now be highlighted by a light grey background.

Selecting The Contents Of A Table Cell
When creating a label template for labels on sheets, we strongly recommend creating your design in the top left label and then using copy and paste to fill in the rest of the labels. This means you need to be able to select your design from the first cell in a way that copies not only the content itself but also any formatting options you have used to create that particular design.

The best way to do this is to:

  • Move your cursor into the bottom left corner of the cell you want to select. Quickly triple click the left button to select the contents of the cell (which will be highlighted by a light grey background).
  • Alternatively, you can move your cursor to the left hand side of the cell you want to select until the cursor turns into a small solid black arrow pointing diagonally up and right. Left click once to select the contents of the cell (which will be highlighted by a light grey background). This method isn’t always available (it depends on how the label template you are using has been formatted) and it can be tricky to get your cursor in precisely the right position to turn it into the small solid black arrow.

Selecting Multiple Cells (To Paste Content)
When filling in the rest of your labels you can simply paste your design into each cell one by one (left click inside a cell once to select it). This method is fine if you only have a few labels per sheet BUT can become quite time consuming if you have a lot of smaller labels to fill in.

In this case you can select all of the cells (if there are NO gaps between the labels) using the click and drag method; position your cursor in the top left cell, click and hold down the left button as you move your cursor to the bottom right cell, and then release the button. All of the cells will be selected and highlighted by a light grey background.

If there ARE any gaps between the labels you CANNOT use this method as it will add your design to the gaps (as well as the labels themselves), which will destroy the alignment of your template.

In this case, you might be able to speed up the process by selecting entire columns using the point and click method; position your cursor at the top of a column until it turns into a small solid black arrow pointing downwards and then left click once to select the entire column. You can select multiple columns by holding down the Control Key (Ctrl) [Windows] or Command Key (⌘) [Mac] as you click above each column. Each cell within a selected column will have a strip of a light grey background going through it (see below). You cannot use this method if there are gaps between the rows of labels as well as between the columns (see next week’s post for further information).

Hopefully, this post should help you to select any content within Word that you need to use to create your label design. Next week we’ll be combining this week’s post and last week’s post (Copy & Paste 101) to guide you through the process of using copy and paste to complete a label template once you have created your design in the top left label.

Next week on Template Tuesday: Designing A Label Template – Copy & Paste 102

Designing A Label Template – Copy & Paste 101

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

You may have noticed that our advice pages highly recommend using copy and paste when designing label templates so this week we’re taking a closer look at what “copy and paste” means and how it works.

“Copy and paste” actually refers to two separate computer functions that are combined to transfer data from one place to another – first by “copying” an item and then “pasting” that item elsewhere.

There are THREE computer functions that can be used to transfer data:

CUT, COPY, and PASTE

These three individual functions are used to transfer data in one of two ways – either by using the cut function followed by the paste function (known as “cut and paste”) or by using the copy function followed by the paste function (known as “copy and paste”).

In other words, cut and copy indicate the item(s) that you want to transfer and paste actually transfers the item(s). These functions can be used to transfer all kinds of data, including images, text, or entire files and/or folders.


DEFINITIONS

CUT: a selected item is removed – or cut – from its original location and is placed in a temporary storage tool on your device known as the “clipboard”.

COPY: a selected item is duplicated – or copied – so that the item remains in its original location, while the duplicate is placed in the clipboard.

PASTE: the most recent item stored in the clipboard is inserted into the new location that you have selected.

Cut and paste were named after the traditional process of editing manuscripts, where an editor would use scissors to cut paragraphs out of a page and would then use paste (glue) to stick the paragraphs onto a new page.


CUT AND PASTE vs COPY AND PASTE

While both processes can be used to transfer data, cut and paste REMOVES data from its original location whereas copy and paste LEAVES data in its original location.

In other words, only copy and paste will duplicate your item(s), which makes it the ideal tool for designing templates for labels on sheets – you can transfer data into your template (for example, by copying text from another document) and duplicate your design from one label into all of the remaining labels in your template.

We recommend designing templates in this way because it improves the accuracy of your template; if you set up your design in each label from scratch it is possible that you might not line up your design in exactly the same position each time – whereas, if you set up your design in the top left label and use copy and paste to complete the rest of the labels they will all be set up in exactly the same position within each label.


HOW TO CUT, COPY, & PASTE

Cut, copy, and paste are standard functions that can be used to transfer data in a number of ways (including within a single document/piece of software/folder OR between different documents/pieces of software/folders), and there are a variety of ways to perform these functions.

First you select your item(s):

  • Individual Item: left click once on the item using your mouse.
  • Multiple Items: hold down the Control Key (Ctrl) [Windows] or Command Key (⌘) [Mac] on your keyboard as you left click once on each item using your mouse.
  • Multiple Items (List): left click once on the first item using your mouse then hold down the Shift Key on your keyboard as you left click once on the last item using your mouse.
  • Text: move your mouse so the cursor is positioned at the start of the text you want to select, press and hold down the left button on your mouse, then move your mouse so the cursor is positioned at the end of the text you want to select and let go.

PC Keyboard via Wikimedia Commons & Apple Keyboard By Wiki637 via Wikimedia Commons

The Point & Click Method
This method involves using your mouse to click on cut, copy, and paste menu options or icons. Most software will allow you to access these functions using the left or right button on your mouse.

If you are using a one-button mouse with a Mac or a Macbook trackpad, you can access the right click function by holding down the Control Key on your keyboard as you click your mouse or tap on the trackpad.

Left Click: usually these functions are listed under the “Edit” menu at the top/left of your window, although there are exceptions (for example, in most versions of Word, they are listed under the “Home” tab in the ribbon at the top of the window).

Right Click: some software will display a popup box containing a selection of relevant tools when you right click on an item or location. For example, if you right click on text in Word you will see the below popup box.

Drag & Drop
This method involves using your mouse to drag an item from one location to another. This method can be used to cut and paste or copy and paste; while it is especially popular for transferring data between two different documents/pieces of software/folders, it can also be used to transfer data within a single document/piece of software/folder.

To drag an item, you simply select it and then hold down the left button on your mouse as you move your cursor to the new location. You then drop your item into its new location by releasing the button.

Generally speaking, this sequence will perform the “cut and paste” process – to “copy and paste”, you simply hold down the Control Key (Windows) or Option Key (Mac) on your keyboard while you drag and drop your item.

You should be able to check if you are about to “cut and paste” or “copy and paste” by looking at the prompt or icon that appears onscreen as you drag your cursor to the new location.

For example, when transferring a file between two folders in Window’s File Explorer, the prompt will say “Move to [new location]” if you are using “cut and paste” or “Copy to [new location]” if you are using “copy and paste” .

In Word, you will a small icon beside your cursor as you drag an item to a new location; if you are using “cut and paste” this will be a rectangle, while if you are using “copy and paste” this will be a rectangle with a plus sign, as shown below.

Keyboard Shortcuts
As cut, copy, and paste are such popular functions, there are keyboard shortcuts that can be used instead of the Point & Click and Drag & Drop methods.

WINDOWS:
hold down the Control Key (Ctrl) and press X to cut, C to copy, or V to paste.

MAC:
hold down the Command Key (⌘) and then press X to cut, C to copy, or V to paste.


If you’ve never used cut, copy, and paste before it can be quite confusing BUT these tools are incredibly useful when it comes to creating accurate label templates quickly. Hopefully, this guide should have given you a better understanding of what these functions are and how they work.

Next week on Template Tuesday: Designing A Label Template – How To Select (Highlight) Content In Word