There are many different elements that come into play when printing labels; you cannot assume that you’ll get perfect print simply by filling in a template, dumping some labels in your printer, and pressing print. At Label Planet, we recommend taking some time to make perfectly sure that your template is set up to work efficiently for you – and by “you” we mean your software, your hardware, and your labels.
All of these elements involve factors that can cause problems with your print positioning:
- LABELS: all label products are manufactured to a tolerance (an allowed deviation from the measurements specified for a product), which means that every batch of labels may have very subtle variations in their sizing and layout that you’ll need to adjust for if you want to create the perfect template.
- SOFTWARE: all software is designed for a particular kind of task, which means that the software you are using may be limited in its capacity to create a precise template. This means it’s up to you to find the appropriate tools to use and then use them correctly (which may also mean checking for default settings that might not be the best options for your purposes).
- HARDWARE: all printers vary very slightly in their specifications and accuracy, which means you should make sure that you’re using both the best possible combination of print settings and taking advantage of any additional features (such as the bypass tray) instead of relying on default settings that are usually designed to produce decent print positioning on paper.
Here’s a quick-fire list of things you can do to help prevent problems with your print positioning:
- Centralise Your Design: centralising your template and working from the inside out is a simple way to control how well your print is positioned, especially if you’re working with shapes that are a little more unusual (such as circles and ovals).
- Check Your Format & Style Options: if you find that different objects within your design aren’t quite sitting where they’re supposed to or just don’t quite look right (even when you try to adjust them), it’s well worth looking through the format and style options applied to your objects to see if one of those default options is correcting your design in a manner that you don’t want it to.
- Check Your Template For “Auto Corrects”: this one is especially important if you’re relying on copy and paste to add in separate elements that will make up your final design; some software detects what you are doing and then “helpfully” makes adjustments based on what it assumes you are trying to achieve. When you’re adding content, however, one of these “helpful” automatic corrections may be to move parts of your design around or to increase your template sizing and/or margins to make everything fit – which will obviously destroy the alignment of your template.
- Make The Most Of Your Margins: if you’ve got your template all set up but find that your print is positioned in the wrong place (i.e. it’s all sitting too high/low/left/right), you might think that the only way to fix this is to move all of your design elements one by one to the correct position. A far better method is to adjust the page margins of your document; this will force your printer into moving all of the elements in your design for you and means you don’t have to worry about making sure that you’ve moved every single element in the exact same way.
- Always Use Your Media Bypass Tray: the main tray in most printers is the “Paper Tray” and, as the name suggests, is designed specifically for the efficient processing of sheets of standard paper. Labels, however, differ in several ways from standard paper, which means that you should use the “Media Bypass Tray” instead. The Media Bypass tray is designed for thicker materials, which means that it will be able to pick up different materials much more efficiently. This tray also usually offers a more direct route through the printer (involving fewer sets of rollers), which improves your print positioning because there is a much lower chance that a sheet will rotate as it passes through all of the rollers.
- ALWAYS Do A Test Print: while this might not give you a definitive answer as to WHAT is going wrong, it will give you a quick and easy way to check if your labels are going to print correctly or incorrectly. You can then take a closer look at your template, software, and printer settings to try to root out the cause of the problem and fix it before you use your actual sheets of labels.
For more tips and advice, please visit our Help section.