Archive for March, 2015

Getting Tied Up In Knots With Your Word Template? Detangle Yourself With The Ribbon!

Monday, March 30th, 2015

It’s an inescapable truth: Word isn’t perfect when it comes to templates.
In fact, sometimes it’s downright unruly, uncooperative, obstinate, disobedient, stubborn, and quite frankly unmanageable. Like many of our customers, we’ve had the delightful experience of running into a Word template that simply won’t work; nothing sits where it’s supposed to, things jump around the page, and all in all it simply looks awful.

So, why haven’t we thrown our hands up in despair and done away with Word templates altogether?

  • Microsoft Office is simply something that nearly everyone has access to and is familiar with.
  • While it might not provide the precision and sheer variety of tools offered by graphics software, Word is perfectly capable of turning out simple and effective templates.

 So, how do we tackle the trouble of Word templates?
As usual, the Devil is in the details. Or, more precisely, in the “Format Tools” options.

While Word is first and foremost a Word Processor, it does have a limited number of tools for working with graphics; every single kind of object you can add to a Word document has a variety of formatting options for you to choose from. It is the formatting tools that give you the greatest amount of control and precision when designing a template – you just need to know where to find them.

So, what are they and where do you find them?
Word is designed to keep things neat and simple, and one way it achieves this is the use of the “ribbon” at the top of the page. All of the actions/options you can use have been grouped together into sets of related actions/options. These sets are then grouped again into related sections, which are then displayed under one (or more) of the tabs contained in the ribbon.

To keep things simple, the ribbon will only display one tab at a time, so you need to select the tab that is relevant to the action you want to take or the settings that you want to change and then find the specific action/option you want from one of the sets displayed under that particular tab.

For example, to take any action or choose any option related to adding an object to your Word template, you will need to use the “INSERT” tab. This tab contains 10 sections: Pages, Tables, Illustrations, Apps, Media, Links, Comments, Header & Footer, Text, and Symbols. Each of these sections contains specific actions/options related to that section. For example, the “Pages” section contains three actions/options; Inserting A Cover Page, Inserting A Blank Page, and Inserting a Page Break.

At this point, you might have noticed that none of the tabs you can see in the ribbon appear to relate specifically to the objects you might wish to include in a template. Helpfully, Word has also grouped the Tabs that appear in the ribbon so that you have “Main Tabs”, which are always visible, and “Tool Tabs”, which only become visible when you select the item that the actions within that tab relate to.

Currently, Word provides Tool Tabs for: SmartArt, Chart, Drawing, Picture, Table, Header & Footer, Equation, and Ink. [Previous versions also included specific Tool Tabs for: Text Box, WordArt, Diagram, and Organisation Chart.]

So, to alter the formatting applied to your Word template, and any objects that you add to it, you need to select an object to make the related Tools Tab appear, find the section of that tab that relates to the action/option you want to choose, and then select the tool to perform that action or change an option.

Here’s a list of the KEY TOOLS that you will want to find and use to get the very best out of your Word template:

DRAWING TOOLS TAB:

  • You’ll need this tab if you insert either a Shape, WordArt, or a Text Box.
  • Sections include Insert Shape, Shape Styles, WordArt Styles, Text, Arrange, and Size.
  • If you’re having problems with the positioning of your objects, then the “Arrange” section will give you some more control over this. Specifically, check the “Position”, “Wrap Text”, and “Align” options and, if you’re layering objects over one another, try using the “Bring Forward”, “Send Backward”, and “Group” options. You can also use the “Size” section to resize your object to a particular measurement.

PICTURE TOOLS TAB:

  • You’ll need this tab if you insert an image (or “Picture”).
  • Sections include Adjust, Picture Styles, Arrange, and Size.
  • Again, the most important section here is likely to be the “Arrange” section, with the “Position”, “Wrap Text”, and “Align” section allowing you to choose options that give you finer, more precise control over where your images sit in the template. You can also use the “Bring Forward”, “Send Backward”, and “Group” options to layer images (and other objects), and use the Size section for more precise resizing of your images.

TABLE TOOLS TAB:

  • You can use this tab to apply settings to the entire table.
  • Unlike the other Tools Tabs, this option gives you TWO tabs to choose from: Design and Layout.
  • The Design tab allows you to change the look of the table itself (meaning you could use it to add borders or a coloured background – but you need to take care that your borders don’t alter the alignment of your labels).
  • The Layout tab allows you to alter the number and size of the rows and columns in the table but MOST IMPORTANTLY it allows you to set the text alignment and direction of ALL of the text in ALL of the cells in the table.

All of our templates (including Word and PDF options) are available to download from our Template Page.

Easter 2015: Extended Easter Holiday For Label Planet

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

A quick blog post to let our customers know that we will be taking our usual Extended Easter Holiday this year from Friday 3rd April to Sunday 12th April.

Our offices will be open to accept and process orders until 5pm on Thursday 2nd April (with orders being accepted until 4:30pm).

Any orders placed after this time and through the extended break will be processed upon our return on Monday 13th April.

FAQ – What Do Your Codes Mean?

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Like any other shop or supplier, all of our products have product codes, which – at first glance – might seem a bit tricky to remember and understand.

However, as we might have mentioned once or twice before, one of our primary goals is to make our services and products as easy to use as possible – and this extends to our codes.

We’ve never changed the codes that we’ve used in the ten years that we’ve been running – and they’re all based on an easy to follow formula that actually comes in quite handy when it comes to finding the labels that you need.

So how do they work?
The formula to follow is this:

LP + [No. of labels per sheet] + [Label width/diameter] + [Shape code, if any] + [Material code, if any]

  • LP
    Every product code begins with “LP”; this simply stands for Label Planet and indicates that the product code is one of ours. In the world of labelling, there are a LOT of different codes; for example, each manufacturer and supplier will have their own product codes, and there are additional codes for templates and printers, which makes it very easy to become buried under a mountain of codes – that don’t mean a great deal to you.
  • No. of labels per sheet
    The next part of the code is simply the number of labels a particular product has on each sheet.
  • Label Width/Diameter
    Next we add the width or diameter of the labels. All of our measurements are given in millimetres and we have rounded off any measurements with decimal points. For our circular products this part of the code is taken from the diameter of each circular label, while our oval products use the measurement across the widest points of each oval on the sheet.
  • Shape Code
    This part of the code is only added for our shaped label products; circles, ovals, and squares. The shape codes we use are as follows: R for round or circular labels, OV for oval labels, and SQ for square labels.
  • Material Code
    This part is added to all of our products (EXCEPT for our standard white paper labels with a permanent adhesive) and is used to indicate the particular materials used to make that range of products. These codes are as follows:
Coloured Paper: C (specific colour codes: R, B, G, Y, CR, PK) Fluorescent Paper: FC (specific colour codes: FR, FG, FY, FO, FM)
Laser Silver Paper: LS Laser Gold Paper: LG (Deep Freeze) Freezer Adhesive (Paper): DF High Tack: HT
Removable Adhesive (Paper): REM Super (Glass) Removable Adhesive (Paper): GREM Gloss White Photo Quality Paper (Inkjet): GWPQ Gloss White Paper (Laser): GW
Semi-Gloss Paper: SG Matt White Premium Quality Paper: MPQ Gloss Clear Polyester (Inkjet): GCP Gloss Transparent Polyester (Laser): GTP
Gloss Transparent Polyester with Removable Adhesive: GTR Matt Transparent Polyester: MTP Gloss White Polyester: GWP Matt White Polyester: MWP
Matt White Polyester with Removable Adhesive: MWR Silver Matt Metallic Polyester: SMP Matt White Polyethylene: MWPE

And that’s all there is to it!

The Problems With Precision

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

We specialise in supplying blank labels on A4 sheets so that our customers can print their labels themselves. There are so many benefits to printing your own labels; you have complete control over what you print and when, there’s no need to pay someone else to do it for you, and you don’t have to meet someone else’s requirements for minimum quantities or design specifications.

However, DIY printing means you have to accept the limitations of the equipment you have available to use – and this means you may have to compromise on the precision and accuracy of the print you can produce.

It’s true that DIY printing CAN produce labels of excellent quality and precision – it simply depends on the equipment you have available (and the time you have to get it just right).

Things to think about: Hardware
You need to keep in mind that your printer will have its own set of limitations in terms of the quality and accuracy of the print that it can produce. Different printers are designed for different purposes and they have the specifications to match; for example, some printers (such as all-in-one printers) are designed to do a variety of tasks to a reasonable standard, while others (such as photo quality printers) are designed to do a single task to a very high standard. These printers will differ in the accuracy and quality of print that they offer.

If you have a detailed design that requires a high level of precision and/or a mix of colours, you should check that your printer is capable of the print quality and resolution required to produce this image. Some printers may struggle with designs that require a multitude of colours in close proximity or that have extremely fine levels of detail and embellishment.

Before printing labels, you should check that your printer is able to accept and process thicker and heavier materials (as labels are made up of a number of layers, unlike a single sheet of paper), and to take a look through the settings offered by your printer to see if there are any that are designed specifically for printing labels, to improve print quality, or to improve print resolution.

Default settings are usually designed to get a decent result when printing onto standard paper – so it’s always worth taking a stroll through your printer’s settings to see if there are things that can be improved.

You should also bear in mind that printers tend to be accurate to within 1-2mm, that the accuracy and alignment of each printer is slightly different, and that most standard printers are limited in the area of an A4 sheet that they can print (with the outside edge often falling within the “unprintable area”).

Things to think about: Software
Like your printer, the software you use to design your template will have its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Inevitably, the type of software you use will determine how much control you have over the finished design. While some will have access to design software such as graphics packages, others will simply use whatever software they have available.

If you do have software intended for designing templates, you should find that this software offers you specific features and tools for creating complex and detailed templates with a high level of fine control over even the smallest of details. If you are adapting more generic software to your purposes, then you will find that you need to compromise on the level of detail and accuracy that you can achieve.

However, you don’t need to rush out and buy the most expensive design package you can find; simply bear in mind the limitations of the software you do have and try to keep your design clean and simple – you’ll find that you are perfectly able to create an accurate and attractive design with the most basic of tools if you simply take some time and care with your template.

Things to think about: Label Product
It’s something that often doesn’t occur to people but you also need to take care when selecting a label product for your particular application. The materials and the size and shape of label you choose will have their own properties that can create a variety of benefits and problems when it comes to getting accurate print results.

Make sure the material you are using is compatible with the print method you are using AND that it isn’t too thick or heavy for the model of printer you have.

  • Check that the layout of the labels is suitable for your intended design. For example, if you have a coloured background, you need to make sure that your printer can print the ENTIRE area of all of the labels on your sheet – you should avoid square cut labels with no selvedge if your printer doesn’t have “edge-to-edge printing” which would allow you to print the ENTIRE A4 sheet.
  • Take care with the shape of the labels if you are wanting to add shaped decorative features such as borders and boxes; ensure that the shape is easy to replicate and try to opt for labels with gaps between them so that you can oversize your borders to avoid any white edging.
  • Using coloured labels means you don’t need to add the colour yourself, which reduces the amount of ink/toner your design needs AND avoids potential issues with white edges or inconsistencies in print quality.

In short, doing it yourself is an excellent way to save time and money and to give yourself greater control over your printed items BUT if precision and quality are of vital importance to you then you MUST take the time to set things up just right for the unique combination of hardware, software, and label product that you want to use. For more tips and advice, please visit our Help & Advice pages or take a read through our Blog.

I Need Really, Really Big/Small Labels But I Can’t Find Any On Your Website

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

We get requests for labels of all shapes and sizes and a number of these happen to be for labels that are either really, really big or really, really small.

Here at Label Planet, we pride ourselves on the range of sizes that we are able to supply, HOWEVER, even we have to admit that it simply isn’t possible to offer EVERY possible size of label. We have chosen to specialise in A4 sheets of labels for laser and inkjet printers, which means that there are a few practical reasons that we don’t offer really, really big labels or really, really small labels.

Big Labels
As we’ve mentioned, we specialise in A4 sheets of labels, which means that the largest possible size we can offer is, inevitably, that of an A4 sheet – 210mm wide by 297mm wide. The rest of our BIG labels are all determined by the sizes that are created when an A4 sheet is divided into a specific number of labels.

So why can’t we do other big sizes?
WASTE: Big labels mean that only a few labels will fit onto each sheet and non-standard sizes will often result in a lot of “waste”; this refers to the material around and between the actual labels on a sheet that will NEVER be used and is therefore “wasted”. Manufacturers are keen to avoid waste as much as possible, which means that only those sizes with minimal waste will be manufactured as “standard” label products.

COST: Each label size (and layout) requires a die to be made and each product takes time to manufacture so the sizes that are most in demand will be made more regularly and in larger quantities.

Sizes that are non-standard ARE available; HOWEVER, they would need to be made as a bespoke item – meaning they would carry the cost of a new die AND the lead time of having both the die and the labels themselves made.

Here at Label Planet, we aim to supply the best possible range of sizes without compromising on the prices and efficient despatch and delivery service that we provide to customers – so while we specialise in providing the biggest possible range of STANDARD label sizes, we do NOT offer a bespoke service.

SPACE: There is also the unavoidable issue of space; while our lovely offices give us plenty of space, there simply isn’t room to hold stock of bigger label sizes that only a few people may eventually actually order.

Label Planet’s BIGGEST labels are:
Rectangle: 210mm x 297mm (LP1/210)
Round: 144mm diameter (LP2/144R)
Oval: 195mm x 139mm (LP2/195OV)
Square: 95mm x 95mm (LP6/95SQ)

Small Labels
Small labels share the same practical considerations of big labels – and they introduce a problem all of their own. At Label Planet, we avoid labels with measurements of less than 10mm and for one very good reason.

The majority of our labels will be printed – by customers, by design/printing companies on behalf of clients, or (indeed) by helpful friends or colleagues – and this means they have to be suitable for use in standard desktop printers.

So why does this cause problems for small labels?
Any material put through a printer travels by means of a number of sets of rollers, which it is pulled both through and around. Labels have the distinction of being multi-layered, which means there is the possibility of separation.

Labels are made up of a face material with a layer of adhesive and a backing sheet that “carries” the labels until they are removed in order to be applied. Ideally, the labels will stay on the backing sheet until they are removed – but there are certain circumstances that can prevent this from happening.

One such situation occurs when labels are pulled through (and, most critically, around) the rollers in a printer, which have a narrow diameter and therefore force the material to conform to a very pronounced curve.

All materials have a “memory”; when they are manipulated into a shape that differs from their original state, they will try to return to that original state. A sheet of paper, for example, when rolled up will try to uncurl when it is released.

The strength of this memory differs from material to material but, usually, it isn’t strong enough to cause problems. When a sheet of labels is manipulated around the rollers in a printer, however, if the memory of the face material overcomes all of the other forces acting on that sheet, the labels may separate from the backing sheet.

With larger labels, the surface area between the face material and the backing sheet generates enough attraction to hold the labels in place. With smaller labels, however, the memory of the face material is strong enough to overcome this contact attraction, which causes the labels to separate.

Label Planet’s smallest labels are:
Rectangle: 17.8mm x 10mm (LP270/18)
Round: 13mm diameter (LP216/13R)
Oval: 35mm x 16mm (LP65/35OV)
Square: 25mm x 25mm (LP70/25SQ)

FAQ Special – Ordering Labels From Label Planet

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

How do I place an order with Label Planet?
You can place an order online (www.labelplanet.co.uk) or by phone (01270 668076).

We can also accept requests for proforma invoices by fax, email, and post.

What payment methods do you accept?
We accept payment via:

  • Paypal (online only)
  • Credit/Debit Card (online/phone; please note we do not accept American Express)
  • Cheque/Postal Order (request proforma by email/phone/fax/post)
  • BACS Transfer (request proforma by email/phone/fax/post)

Can I have a credit account?
We do not run credit accounts; as an online based company, we operate on a payment with order system.

However, if you don’t have a credit/debit card or Paypal account, or if you have a Finance Department that requires payment to go through them, you can get in touch with us to request a proforma invoice; you can then make payment by BACS, cheque, postal order, or credit/debit card.

I work for [organisation type], can you send me an invoice?
We will issue 30 day invoices to Local Education Authority schools ONLY.

These schools must send (by email or fax) an official purchase order or the details of their order on the school’s letterhead with the signature of the individual responsible for payment. We will then despatch/process the order and send out a 30 day invoice by post.

For other organisations (and particularly those that need to submit orders via their Finance Department), we cannot offer invoices but you may request a proforma invoice against which you can make payment.

I’ve ordered the wrong thing, what do I do?
Get in touch with us as soon as you can.
If your order has not yet been despatched, we will get the order amended before it is processed.
[We send out an email when we process your order, confirming that your order has been received and is being processed]

If you have already received your order, then please give us a call and we can provide you with a goods return number and arrange for replacements or a refund.

I want to return my items, what do I do?
Get in touch with us as soon as you can.

If you find that you no longer want or need your labels, simply give us a call and we will provide you with a goods return number. Once we receive the items back, you will be issued a refund.

I need labels urgently, can you help?
Despatch and delivery times depend on the items and quantities you are ordering.

If you are ordering smaller quantities (less than 500 sheets) of our stocked items (available in packs of 25 sheets), we offer a next working day delivery service. A next working day delivery option (before 1pm) is offered on the website where available; for larger quantities or if you are unsure of the delivery options available, please give us a call and we can find the best possible solution to get your labels to you as soon as possible.

If you are ordering in bulk or made to order items (anything with 500+ sheets), please get in touch with us first so that we can check stock or lead times for the specific items and quantities you wish to order.

I need printed labels/bespoke labels, can you help?
We do not offer a printing service or bespoke labels.

We do have a sister company (Label Create) who offer a printing service onto the same range of labels supplied by Label Planet.

If you require labels to be manufactured to a specific size or other requirements, you will need to contact a label manufacturer to place a bespoke order.

What are “Splashproof” Labels?

Monday, March 9th, 2015

If you’ve been perusing our website, you may have come across the term “splashproof” and been puzzled by it.

What does “Splashproof” mean?
Splashproof is a term that we use to describe a number of our label products that are NOT fully waterproof but DO offer some resistance if they get slightly wet or dirty.

The term waterproof can only be applied to products that will survive complete exposure to or immersion in water; all of our polyester and polyethylene products are completely waterproof and so can be used for label applications (both indoor and outdoor), where a label might be exposed to or, indeed, fully submerged in water.

Our paper label products are entirely NOT waterproof – as anyone who has ever put paper near even the smallest of water droplets will know.

However, this does leave us with a couple of products that are made of paper (and so are not waterproof) BUT that are able to provide some protection against water and can be wiped dry and clean if necessary – these are the products that we refer to as “splashproof”.

What makes labels “Splashproof”?
These labels are made of paper but have an additional layer on the top, which is known as a “coating”. This coating provides the paper with a light protective layer, which means that water or dirt sits on the coating, rather than the paper underneath.

The coating, however, is only a very thin layer and does not provide a full seal around the label; this means that while you can wipe away small amounts of water or traces of dirt, these labels won’t be protected if they are completely exposed to water.

Which labels are “Splashproof”?
Our gloss white paper labels and semi-gloss paper labels are “splashproof”.

Why do I need to use a laser printer with these labels?
Inkjet inks are predominantly water-based, which means that if they get wet they will smudge or run. Laser printers use a dry printing process to fuse toner onto the labels, which means that the print itself is waterproof. These labels have also been designed specifically for the laser printing process and the materials will be unable to accept inkjet inks properly.

What applications are these labels suitable for?
These labels are ideal for use as product labels due to their attractive and decorative finish; the splashproof coating also makes them well suited for products that are to be used in rooms where they may get damp (e.g. kitchens and bathrooms), or for products that will contain liquids (e.g. food and drink products or cosmetics).

FAQ – Which Avery Code Do I Use?

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

The Never Ending List of Avery* Codes:
If you’ve ever wandered into the list of built in Avery* templates in Word (or similar software) you’ll be familiar with the sinking feeling of scrolling through endless codes not really knowing when – or if – you’ll find the one you need.

The first thing you need to know is that many of these templates are actually the same and that most label sizes and layouts have at least two compatible Avery* codes, while others may have over twenty different Avery* codes that you COULD use to find a compatible template.

The confusion arises because Avery* uses individual codes as both a “Product Code” and a “Software Code” (i.e. the one you use to find a template).

Where a Software Code simply refers to the size and layout of a set of labels (and the template that fits these measurements), a Product Code indicates much, much more, including the material(s) the labels are made of, their printer compatibility, and the “type” of label product they are.

Instead of having one software code that matches all of the different products that share a particular label size and layout, Avery* includes all of the product codes as software codes – which is why there is such a long list of codes to choose from.

For Example:
Take our product LP40/45; this code refers to a product with 40 labels per sheet, each measuring 45.7mm wide by 25.4mm high. You may have noticed that we list SIX Avery* codes that are compatible with this particular product size and layout.

All six of these Avery* codes produce exactly the same template; the difference between them is the materials used to make the labels, their printer compatibility, and the “type” of label they are.

Avery* Code Material Printer Compatibility Label “Type”
J8654* Paper (for inkjet) Inkjet Mailing
L4770* Transparent Laser Mailing
L6140* Triple Bond extra permanent B/W Laser ID
L6145* NoPeel permanent B/W Laser ID
L7654* Paper (for laser) Laser Mailing
L7781* Crystal Clear Laser ID

If you were to purchase any one of these products from Avery*, you would be able to use any one of these codes to create a compatible template; just as you can use ANY of these codes to create a compatible template if you purchase OUR label product LP40/45.

To help our customers avoid confusion, we’ve created a table listing all of the products we supply that DO have compatible Avery* codes, along with those Avery* codes for our customers to use.

FAQ Special – Prices From Label Planet

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

It’s a Frequently Asked Questions Special and this week it’s all about our prices!

How do I find out what your prices are?
All of our prices are listed on our website.
Simply select the type of label product you wish to purchase and select the label size you require to see the prices for that label product. Our prices are the same across each product range so ANY of the label sizes within a specific product range will have the same price list.
If you have any questions or queries about these prices, you can also send us an email or give us a call.

What’s included in your prices?
The prices listed on our website include VAT and standard UK delivery (Royal Mail’s first class service, to UK mainland and UK islands with postcodes).

Will I ever have to pay anything more?
You will only ever be charged extra if you wish to add on a special delivery service.
We do not add on our own costs for special delivery services; you will only ever be charged the amount that the Royal Mail or carrier service charges us. The cost for special delivery is based on the overall quantity of sheets in your order.
For smaller orders that are usually shipped via Royal Mail’s first class service, you will be offered an upgrade to guaranteed next working day delivery in the checkout.
Bulk/made to order items are always sent via next working day carrier services (either from stock or once the items have been made), and orders of between 250-500 sheets of stocked items will also be sent via carrier service.
If you have any doubts about the delivery options available or if you require your order to be delivered as quickly as possible, please give us a call to discuss your options (including special carrier delivery services/before 9am deliveries/Saturday deliveries).

Do you do trade prices?
No.
The prices on our website are the prices we offer to all of our customers.
However, we do offer price breaks as you order more. These price breaks are indicated in the price lists on our website.

Do I have to pay for samples?
No.
Our sample service is completely free of charge, to help you make sure you have chosen the right labels for the job BEFORE you buy.

Do I have to pay for templates?
No.
Our templates are another free service that we provide; simply download the template that you need (selecting from either a Word or a PDF template) to start designing your labels. We also have advice pages to help you along if you get stuck and you can always get in touch if you have any template related questions.

I live in the Republic of Ireland and I’m VAT registered, how do I get non-VAT prices?
All orders that need to be delivered to the Republic of Ireland must be placed by phone so that we can calculate the shipping costs for each individual order.
If you are VAT registered, simply have your VAT number to hand when you place your order and we will remove VAT from the cost of your order.

Do you have any discounts/offers available?
All discounts and offers will be announced to customers either on our blog, Facebook and Twitter pages, or via email to existing customers.
At the moment we are running a mix and match offer on our Coloured and Fluorescent Coloured labels; find out more here.

Can I mix and match items to get a better price?
We can offer better prices on SOME items if:

  • You are ordering items from within ONE range of products.
  • You place your order by phone.

Please note that we CANNOT mix and match items WITHIN a pack or a box (e.g. you cannot order 10 sheets of one label product and 15 sheets of another size).