Archive for August, 2017

Designing A Label Template – Finding Word’s Design Tools & Features

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

For many people, Word is a simple way to create the documents they need on a day to day basis, and they use the same tools and features over and over again with few, if any, difficulties. When, however, they need to use Word for something a little different – say, to design and print their own labels – it can become quite a frustrating territory to navigate, especially when they need to find tools that they have never needed to use before.

Over the years, Word has been adapted and updated to make it easier to use and sleeker in design; unfortunately, some people struggle with the layout and navigation of Word, which can make it difficult for them to find the tools they need (and make simple tasks much harder and more time consuming to complete).

While Word has added functions to help overcome these issues (such as the introduction in Word 2016 of the “Tell me what you want to do” tool, which provides a shortlist of options based on the information you enter), there are a few basic tips that can help save you plenty of time when it comes to designing a label template in Word.

  • All the tools that you can use to make changes to your Word document (and any items that you add to it) are contained in the “RIBBON” at the top of the page.
  • The tools are grouped into “TABS”, which are displayed above the ribbon.
  • There are two types of tabs:
    “DEFAULT TABS”: these tabs are always visible and include the Home, Insert, Design, Layout, References, Mailings, Review, and View tabs.
    “FORMAT TABS”: these tabs contain formatting tools that relate to different objects (e.g. images, text boxes, shapes, tables etc) and are only visible when you have selected an object or objects. They include the Drawing Tools, Picture Tools, Table Tools Design, and Table Tools Layout tabs.
  • The Picture Tools tab contains tools to edit images and the Drawing Tools tab can be used to edit WordArt, text boxes, and shapes.
  • Built-in Avery templates are accessed through the “Labels” tool in the “Mailings” tab.
  • You can amend the page margins of your template using the “Custom Margins” tool, listed under “Margins” in the “Layout” tab.
  • To add an item to your template you can either use the options listed under the “Insert” tab or use the copy and paste tools listed under the “Home” tab to import items from an external source.
  • Word templates are basically tables where the cells in the table represent the layout of a set of labels on an A4 sheet (including any gaps around or between the labels); to make any amendments to the table, you can use the tools listed under the “Table Tools Design” and “Table Tools Layout” tab.
  • If you cannot see the outline of the table (meaning your Word template appears blank) you have Table Gridlines turned OFF; to turn them on, left click in the centre of the page to bring up the Table Tools Layout tab and then click on the “View Gridlines” button on the left hand side of the ribbon.

Next week on Template Tuesday: Designing A Label Template – Using Word’s Arrange Toolbar To Create A Perfectly Arranged Template

Designing A Label Template – Tops Tips For Combining Text & Images In Word

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Over the last two Template Tuesdays, we’ve looked at text-only and image-only label designs; this week, we’re offering a few top tips to help overcome the problems that can arise when you need to create a label design in Word that combines the two together.

As we’ve mentioned before, Word is Word Processing software and was designed specifically for adding and editing text. While it offers some basic functions and tools for working with other elements (like images), Word will always prioritise text over anything else that you add to a document – which can have a nightmarish effect on designing a label template when you need to be able to position text and images closely together (or even layer them) to create the design you want.

TOP TIPS

  1. For multi-layered designs, plan ahead and decide how you’re going to add each one.
    If your label design is made up of multiple layers, you need to think about how you’re going to create and layer the elements that make up your design. You also need to remember that the template is basically a table, which is a layer in itself (and one that Word expects you to add text to), so you may need to move other elements forward to ensure they remain above the background template layer.
  2. Always change the default “Wrap Text” option for images.
    The default option is “In Line With Text”, which will limit your control over where an image sits in your template. If you want your text and image to sit closely together we recommend choosing the “Tight” option, while if you need to layer an image in front of or behind your text you should select the “In Front Of Text” or “Behind Text” respectively.
  3. Consider putting text into a text box (or WordArt).
    This creates a single object that you can reposition and resize as needed, which gives you much more control than if you simply type your text into each label.

Next week on Template Tuesday: Designing A Label Template – Finding Word’s Design Tools & Features

Designing A Label Template – Getting Inventive With Image-Only Templates

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

This week’s Template Tuesday is all about image-only label designs. If you are creating an image-only template, it’s more than likely that you will be adding a “full size” image to your labels – in other words, your label design is a single image (e.g. a logo) that fills each label. Usually, these templates are pretty easy to construct; either you have an image already set up and you simply copy and paste this image into your template OR you are using design software to create your design within the label template from scratch.

The main consideration when it comes to using full size images is how the image fits around the edges of your labels – especially if your image has a coloured background. Generally speaking, most software and hardware is limited in the accuracy that it can produce (to within a few mm), which means that you may need to provide some “wiggle-room” in your label design to get the best possible result when printing your own labels.

One of the most common issues is “white edging”; this occurs when your design doesn’t quite fit perfectly onto your labels, which leaves a small area around the edge(s) of your labels unprinted. This can be accounted for by oversizing your image very slightly, so that it overlaps the edges of your labels – the area that the label design occupies around the edge of each label is known as the “bleed” area.

This technique is easy to use on label sizes that have gaps between and around the labels because the bleed area simply fits into these gaps; however, if your labels are “butt cut” (i.e. there is no gap between them so they “butt up” against one another) you may find that your image overlaps onto another label. This won’t matter if the edge of your image is a consistent colour – in fact, this actually helps to prevent white edges appearing – but if your image features any change in colour around its edges, you may end up with a mismatch at the edge of your labels. For example, if you are printing a landscape photograph (with blue sky at the top and a green field at the bottom) you may end up with some of the green field at the bottom of one label overlapping onto the label below it. Without access to pinpoint accurate software and hardware, there is no way to guarantee that your printer will be able to line up each full size image perfectly on each label, so the best thing to do is to either amend your image if you can so that it has a consistent colour around the edges OR to create a border around your image (either by adding a border or by reducing the size of your image to leave a blank area that will serve as a border in itself).

If you do need to use a border to prevent white edging around your labels, we recommend making it quite thick; if you try to create a thin border, you may end up emphasising any slight misalignment in the positioning of your design on each label.

Image-Only Templates In Word
Word can be quite cumbersome when it comes to working with images because it is designed to prioritise text over anything else that you add. It does, however, feature a few design tools that you can use to get better control over the positional accuracy of any images you add. To find the design tools for images, you will first need to select your image by left clicking on it once. This will bring up a new tab at the top of the page called “Picture Tools Format” – as seen below.

Given that Word isn’t great with images, it’s more than likely that the only tools you’ll really need are those located towards the right hand side of this tab – especially those in the “Arrange” section. These tools can help you to exert greater control over where your images are positioned within your template and to create more complicated designs by layering multiple images.

Perhaps the most important tool is the “Wrap Text” option; this tool determines how your image is positioned with regards to any text that you add (or don’t add). While you might be wondering why you would need to know about this option – given that we’re talking about IMAGE-only label designs – the fact is that Word not only prioritises text over any other kind of item that you might add to a Word document, it also assumes that you will – at some point – want to add text and will assign room within your document that would allow you to do so. This often results in images refusing to move to the precise location you want them to occupy – with the result that they either go back to their original location or “snap” into another position entirely. This is caused by the default wrap text option known as “In Line With Text”; like the name suggests, this option causes your image to automatically position itself accordingly so that it is aligned with (and out of the way of) the (non-existent) text that Word assumes you will want to add.

To give yourself better control over images in Word, you should select the “Tight” wrap option or the “In Front Of Text” wrap option, which will give you much finer control over the positioning of your images than the default “In Line With Text”.

Next week on Template Tuesday: Designing A Label Template – Tops Tips For Combining Text & Images In Word

Designing A Label Template – Tackling Text-Only Templates

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

This week on Template Tuesday, we’re looking at ways to create text-only templates more efficiently. While text-only templates are perhaps the simplest kind of label design, there are still plenty of ways that you can create highly decorative and imaginative label designs.

It all comes down to “TYPOGRAPHY”; the art and technique of arranging type to make written language more legible, readable, and attractive in appearance.

The most drastic change you can make to text is to select a different font or “typeface” (e.g. Calibri, Tahoma, Arial, Times New Roman etc); alternatively, you can make smaller formatting changes to that typeface, such as changing the size, colour, or style (e.g. bold, italic etc). You can also emphasise particular sections of text by using upper and/or lower case letters, using contrasting colours for the text and its background, or playing around with how the characters are distributed in a line of text and how that line is aligned. Some software will also offer design tools such as preset “text effects” that you can use to further enhance the appearance of your text.

CREATING TEXT-ONLY TEMPLATES IN WORD
Word is an example of Word Processing software; it is specifically designed for creating and editing text, which means that it offers plenty of design options when it comes to getting creative with a text-only template. Most of the design options relating to text and fonts are listed under the “Home” tab at the top of the page within the sections “Font”, “Paragraph”, and “Styles”.

The font section contains design options relating to the typeface and font settings, the paragraph section contains options relating to the alignment of text (also known as “justification”), line spacing, and options for adding a border and coloured background to a section of text. Finally, the styles section contains a number of preset style options that you can use to assign a particular appearance and layout to a section of text.

To change any of the font settings for a section of text, you simply need to select the text you want to change and then left click on the option for the font setting you want to change. As a top tip, you can left click on the small diagonal arrow in the bottom right corner of a section to bring up a pop up box that contains all of the font options available(see above); this is particularly useful for the “Font” section as the pop up box contains a small preview section that allows you to see what the font options you are choosing will look like before you make your selection.

Obviously, we can’t discuss Word and text without mentioning WordArt – beloved by pupils and students across the country for the endless hours you can spend perfecting the title of your latest piece of homework (while conveniently putting off working on any actual content).

While WordArt still exists, you can use pretty much all of the same design tools for standard text as you can for text that you add via the WordArt tool. The key benefits of using WordArt (or a text box) are that you have a few more design choices for the text and the border around/background behind that text AND that it places your text within one object that you can move around, reposition, and resize as you wish (making it easier to position different bits of text relative to one another and any other items that you want to include in your design).

To add WordArt or a text box, you simply need to click on the “Insert” tab at the top of the page and select “WordArt” or “Text Box”; to add one of these items, you need to select from one of the preset options – don’t worry if you aren’t sure which one to pick or if you don’t like any of the options available as you can change the formatting of the item after you have added it to your template.

The design tools for WordArt and Text Boxes are the same and are called “Drawing Tools ”; to view these tools you need to select the item by left clicking on it once – this will bring up a “Drawing Tools Format” tab at the top of the page that contains all of the tools that you can use to change the appearance of your WordArt or Text Box. The design tools that change the appearance of the border and background of the WordArt/Text Box are listed in the “Shape Styles” section and those that change the appearance of the text itself are listed in the “WordArt Styles” section.

TOP TIP
It might sound obvious but to change the font settings for a particular bit of text you must first SELECT the text you want to change. This could mean highlighting a particular section of text (position your cursor at the start of the text, then click and hold down your left button as you move your cursor to the end of the text, and release the button) or selecting a piece of WordArt or a text box (left click on the item once).

When working with label templates you can save yourself some time by selecting an entire label (position your cursor in the bottom left corner of the cell and quickly triple click the left button on your mouse) or the entire template (left click once on the four headed arrow that appears at the top left corner of the template) before changing your font settings; this will apply any settings you choose to any text that you add to that label or the entire template.

If you want to use different font settings for different sections of text within your label design, you should set up your label design in the top left label and then use copy and paste to transfer your design into the rest of the template – remember to select the entire label and not just the content within the label, so that when you press copy you will copy both the content AND the formatting settings you have selected (position your cursor in the bottom left corner of the cell and quickly triple click the left button on your mouse).

Next week on Template Tuesday: Designing A Label Template – Getting Inventive With Image-Only Templates

Designing A Label Template – Choosing Suitable Shapes & Logical Layouts

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

This week’s Template Tuesday gives a few tips about how to choose the right shape and layout for your label design to help make the process of designing (and printing) your own labels a lot easier, quicker, and a lot more accurate.

Obviously, labels come in all shapes and sizes; here at Label Planet, we supply rectangular labels, circular labels, oval labels, and square labels. When creating a label design, you need to make sure that your design accounts for ANY shaping on your labels as well as how accurate your software and/or printer is when it comes to aligning the shape of your label design with the shape of your labels.

If you want to create a label design that follows the shape of your labels (for example, if you have chosen circular labels and your design features a circular border), you need to consider the fact that this kind of design makes even the slightest misalignment all the more obvious. While you should be able to create a decent set of labels using standard software and hardware, most software and printers are limited in the accuracy they can produce (to around 1-2mm), which means that you won’t be able to print your label template with pinpoint accuracy and so you may need to utilise a few design tricks to help mitigate any slight difference in alignment.

Centralise Your Label Design (If Possible)
As we discussed in last week’s Template Tuesday, centralising your design is a quick and simple way to help improve the accuracy of your alignment when you print. By instructing your template to position your design in the centre of each label, you are far less likely to encounter problems with parts of your design being cut off around the edges of your labels.

It may also be useful to divide your label up into sections and to allocate specific parts of your design to a specific space within your label – this can help to prevent problems with layered designs that can end up looking cluttered and can be tricky to set up accurately in your software. For example, if you want to add a logo, a company name, and an address, you could determine that the address should occupy the bottom half of each label, with the logo in the top left corner, and the company name in the top right corner.

Take Care With Label Designs That Occupy The Edges Of Your Labels
If you are creating a label design that uses the outer edges of your labels (for example, by adding a coloured background, border, or full size image) you will need to put some thought into how you arrange your label design to avoid problems with white edging. White edging occurs when your software and/or hardware isn’t quite accurate enough to position your design perfectly on every single label, which leads to small areas around the edges of your labels being left blank (this problem is called “white” edging because most labels are made with white materials – making “blank edging” a more accurate description if your labels are another colour or transparent).

You can easily overcome this issue by oversizing your design so that it very slightly overlaps each label (e.g. by slightly increasing the size of your image/coloured background/border).

This solution, however, does depend on the layout of your labels; if your labels “butt up” against one another (for example, if there is no gap between the rows and/or columns on a sheet of labels), you may not be able to simply oversize your design – especially if the colouring isn’t consistent all the way around the label. For example, if your label design features a coloured background that starts out red at the top of the label but changes to purple at the bottom of the label and your labels don’t have gaps between the rows of labels, if you try to oversize this background you may end up with the purple at the bottom of one label running over onto the top of the label below it. In this case, you would need to amend your design to give the edges of your labels a consistent colour to avoid white edging AND overlapping colours.

You may also need to put some thought into adapting your design to suit the software and/or hardware you are using. For example, our square labels and our rounded corner rectangle labels have radius corners (the corners are curved rather than forming sharp points); while our PDF templates show the radius corners (allowing you to make sure your design conforms to this extra shaping), Word templates are basically tables made up of straight lines only. While there are some tools in Word that allow you to create shapes with radius corners, you will not have the accuracy offered by graphics software, and so you will have to consider how your design prints out at the corners of each label.

Additionally, if you are printing sheets of labels that use a layout where the labels themselves go right up to the edge of the sheet, you will need to adapt your label design to account for the printable and unprintable areas on the sheet (created by your printer). Standard desktop printers cannot print all the way to the edge of an A4 sheet; the area around the edges of the sheet that a printer cannot print is described as the “unprintable” area. If you try to print a label design that uses the full area of each label, you will end up with a blank strip along the edges of the labels that sit at the edges of the sheet. This means that you will need to either reduce the size of your label design in those particular labels OR (perhaps more simply) amend your label design to make it small enough to be printed in full on every single label.

TOP TIPS
Essentially, there are FOUR tops tips that can help to make sure that your label design is suitably shaped and logically laid out.

  1. If you are creating a design that extends all the way to the edges of your labels (i.e. if it contains a full sized image, a coloured background, or a border), you will need to overlap your design slightly to avoid problems with white edging.
  2. Use a centralised design if possible; this helps to avoid parts of your design getting cut off when you print your labels.
  3. Make the most of the shape AND size of your labels; give the different elements in your design their own space so that your design doesn’t rely on multiple elements being layered one on top of another and your labels don’t end up looking cluttered and messy.
  4. If your labels go all the way to the edge of your A4 sheets, make sure your label design doesn’t fall into the unprintable area created by your printer.

Next week on Template Tuesday: Designing A Label Template – Tackling Text-Only Templates