Welcome to a special FAQ post – one all about templates!
Templates can be a tricky thing to master, and there are a few queries that crop up more than others. So we thought we’d round up the most common questions and put them all in one place, along with our answers!
1. Why doesn’t this template show circles/ovals?
Microsoft Word is, essentially, a “word processor”, meaning that it isn’t the most technically advanced piece of software when it comes to working with images. The ideal template would be a set grid of circles or ovals that you can fill in, but Word simply isn’t sophisticated enough to do this. Our solution is a grid of squares or rectangles; the circle or oval labels will fit inside the square or rectangle shapes in the grid and touch the four sides at the label’s widest point(s).
It IS possible to insert individual circle or oval shapes, but it can be quite difficult to add text or images over the top of this while keeping the correct alignment. We have found that the simplest solution is to work with a grid of squares or rectangles – bearing in mind that you should always test the layout and alignment by printing onto blank paper first and that printing circles and ovals will always involve a little bit of trial and error to get the very best print results.
2. Why do I have to check that my printer settings and page layout are set to A4?
One of the most common problems that customers encounter when printing templates is that the alignment gets progressively worse down/across the page. This is caused by a printer setting or page layout setting being set to something other than A4 – in other words, the printer is trying to print your design onto a sheet that is larger or smaller than A4. Usually, this size turns out to be “US Letter”, which is the default size used in the US. Many computers and printers are setup with US defaults, so if a printer or document does revert to a default setting it will be the American default of “US Letter” rather than A4. Of course, sometimes it may simply be that the last document printed on your printer was a different size – such as A5 or postcard – and the printer settings simply haven’t been set back to A4.
3. Will I have to make adjustments to a Label Planet template?
The short answer is: most likely yes.
While we do have some lucky customers who simply fill in one of our templates and get printing straight away, the majority of our customers will need to make some small adjustments to get the best alignment for their labels. Hopefully the biggest change you will need to make is a slight adjustment of the margins to move the grid left, right, up, or down slightly to get the best alignment when you print. Remember, we are always happy to advise customers on their template issues, including problems with alignment.
4. Why does my template print differently when I use another printer?
Simply put, all printers are slightly different. Some printers are able to print the entire surface of an A4 sheet, while others will have an unprintable strip around the outside of the sheet. There will also be a difference in the print alignment – usually this will be no more than 1-2mm, but when you’re printing onto labels this can become quite a problem.
We ran our own investigation into this at Label Planet. We asked a graphics designer to set up a template using exact measurements taken directly from a sheet of our labels. When we printed the template from different printers, we found that the alignment shifted EVERY SINGLE TIME – meaning you should always check to make sure that the alignment of the template will suit your printer (and, of course, the quickest and easiest way to do this is to just print onto a blank sheet of paper first).
5. Why doesn’t my template print out exactly as it looks on my screen?
Most operating systems, user interfaces, and computer programs are designed with the principle of WYSIWYG in mind. WYSIWYG stands for “What You See Is What You Get” and means that what a user sees on their screen should be as accurate a representation of the finished product (such as a printout, a slide in a presentation, or a web page) as possible. However, while the display will be as close to the final product as possible, it is not 100% accurate. Therefore, even if you set up a template using the measurements taken from a sheet and then print directly onto that sheet, it is likely that, in some way, the alignment will be off slightly. This is why you will always have to make adjustments to compensate for the difference between what is displayed on your screen and what your printer produces.
For more template tips, you can take a look through our blog (click on the “Templates” tag to narrow down the results), or try our Help & Advice page for tips on designing and printing your labels.