Posts Tagged ‘Customer FAQ’

FAQs – Which Label Adhesive Should I Choose?

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Visitors to our website may have noticed that we offer a range of label adhesives to suit a range of label applications; while this should provide our customers with the perfect label for their unique requirements, it can be a bit tricky to make sure you’ve chosen the right one – particularly if you don’t really know very much about adhesives.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a flowchart to help guide you in the right direction when it comes to choosing the right adhesive for you. Simply follow the arrows and answer TWO easy questions to find out what kind of label adhesive is best suited to your needs.

The one exception to the first question is short term label applications that involve temporarily applying labels onto clothing (e.g. name badges worn for a networking event). In this case, we would recommend using a standard permanent adhesive; fabrics have very unusual surfaces that removable adhesives will struggle to bond with properly, while permanent adhesives will have enough strength to hold your labels in place but won’t form a solid and even bond – allowing them to be safely removed from clothing.

Remember, if you’re still not sure, you can always Request A Sample to try a few different products for yourself to make absolutely sure that they’ll do the job that you need them to do. Simply fill in our online Sample Request Form or get in touch with our Customer Service Team.

You can find out more about all of our label adhesives (and place an order for the ones you need) by visiting our LIST OF LABEL ADHESIVES page.

Make Sure Your Stickers Stick By Choosing A Permanent Adhesive

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

At Label Planet, we supply a wide range of labels, which can broadly be divided into two categories: Permanent Labels and Removable Labels – which, you will undoubtedly not be surprised to learn, are made with permanent adhesives and removable adhesives respectively. This post takes a closer look at the labels that fall into the first category (Permanent Labels) and the adhesives used to make them stick.

PERMANENT ADHESIVES
Generally speaking, a permanent adhesive is any adhesive that is designed to create a strong adhesive bond that is difficult to break. This does NOT mean that permanent adhesives are 100% permanent; any label held in place with a permanent adhesive can be removed if an individual is determined enough to do so – permanent adhesives are simply designed to make the removal of a label as difficult as possible (which means that they will usually leave behind adhesive residue and may damage the surface that they were applied to when they are removed).

Permanent adhesives typically offer good initial tack (this is the strength of the adhesive bond that is created at the moment an adhesive is applied to a surface) and good ultimate tack (this is the strength of the adhesive bond that is formed once the adhesive has completely strengthened and set).

SELF-ADHESIVE PERMANENT ADHESIVES
At Label Planet, all of our labels are “self-adhesive”/“pressure sensitive” labels (made with self-adhesive or pressure sensitive adhesives); this simply means that these labels require only the pressure of a finger or hand to adhere to a surface. Other adhesives may require the presence of another substance or specific conditions to form an adhesive bond (e.g. water sensitive adhesives require the presence of water to initiate a chemical reaction that leads to the formation of an adhesive bond, while holt melt adhesives must be melted and allowed to cool back into a solid to create an adhesive bond). Pressure sensitive adhesives, however, are tacky (sticky) in their dry form at room temperature and are applied using only the pressure of a finger or hand.

DIFFERENT STRENGTHS OF SELF-ADHESIVE PERMANENT ADHESIVES
Permanent adhesives are available in a range of adhesive strengths; standard permanent adhesives, for example, will be able to form a good adhesive bond between a general range of surface types and materials, while stronger permanent adhesives (sometimes called High Tack Adhesives) will be able to form a strong adhesive bond between a wide range of surface types and materials – including curved surfaces and unusual materials such as wood, plastics, and metals.

Permanent adhesives may also be designed to provide better adhesive strength under more challenging or unusual environmental conditions, such as Marine Adhesives (designed to create a permanent adhesive bond that can survive exposure to or immersion in water) and Freezer Adhesives (designed to create a permanent adhesive bond that can survive in freezing conditions).

LABEL PLANET’S DIFFERENT STRENGTHS OF SELF-ADHESIVE PERMANENT ADHESIVES
At Label Planet, we try to offer our customers a range of permanent adhesive options so that they can find a label that is suitable for the particular requirements of their individual label application. Our range of permanent adhesives includes:

Standard Permanent Adhesive
Designed To: create a good adhesive bond on a general range of surfaces and materials
Available On: STA, GW, GWPQ, SG, MPQ, C, FC, LG, LS, BRK, GCP, GTP, MTP, GWP, SMP, SVP, TEV

Marine Permanent Adhesive
Designed To: create a strong adhesive bond that can survive exposure to or immersion in water
Available On: MWP, MWPE, MWPO

Freezer Permanent Adhesive
Designed To: create a strong adhesive bond that can survive exposure to freezing temperatures
Available On: DF

Opaque Permanent Adhesive
Designed To: create a good adhesive bond while also blocking out any existing print work beneath the label
Available On: OPQ

Wash Off Permanent Adhesive
Designed To: create a good adhesive bond that can be broken down by exposing the adhesive to water (in order to allow these permanent labels to be removed without damaging the item that they were used to label)
Available On: WW

High Tack Permanent Adhesive
Designed To: create a strong adhesive bond on a wide variety of surfaces and materials
Available On: HT

Super Tack Permanent Adhesive
Designed To: create an extremely strong adhesive bond on a wide variety of surfaces and materials
Available On: ST

To find out more about any of our permanent labels – or to place an order today – visit our List Of Labels With Permanent Adhesives page.

Ester, Ethylene, Or Olefin: Which Poly Will Make You Jolly (Happy With Your Label Purchase)?

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

If you’ve taken a look at our range of waterproof labels, you may have noticed that we offer THREE different types of Marine Labels; MWP, MWPE, and MWPO.

You may also have noticed that all of these labels are waterproof labels that are extremely tough and durable, and suitable for a whole range of label applications – including both indoor and outdoor uses.

All of which may have left you confused as to which of these waterproof labels would be the best for you – this post aims to give you a quick fire guide to the differences between these three materials to help you make up your mind.

THE MATERIALS
The principle difference between these three label products is the face material used to make the labels; MWP is made with polyester, MWPE is made with polyethylene, and MWPO is made with polyolefin. All three are similar synthetic materials but have slightly different properties that give each label certain advantages (or disadvantages) over the others depending on the application you have in mind.

The key differences are as follows:
MWP: this material is white in colour, less flexible, and thinner than the other two materials (it also offers slightly better chemical resistance than MWPE and MWPO, although all three offer excellent resistance to most common chemicals).
MWPE: this material is slightly off-white in colour, is the most flexible, and the thickest of the three materials.
MWPO: this material is white in colour, is more flexible than MWP but less flexible than MWPE, and is thicker than MWP but thinner than MWPE.

THE ADHESIVE
All three of these labels are made with a marine adhesive, which conforms to the BS5609 part 2 standard for marine immersion – this standard is awarded to adhesives that are suitable for use in marine conditions and is also considered a marker for high quality adhesives that are tough, durable, and suitable for a variety of applications and environments.

Due to the flexibility of each material type, however, under certain circumstances the adhesive strength of these labels does differ slightly – making MWPE the stickiest of the three, followed by MWPO, and then MWP. This is because MWPE and MWPO have the flexibility to allow these labels to conform better to different surface types – including rough, curved, or unusual surfaces – while the rigidity of the MWP can cause it to struggle slightly on certain surfaces. Therefore, while you would see very little difference between the three if you were to apply them all to a clean, flat metal surface, you may get different results on a curved metal surface.

THE PRINTING EXPERIENCE
While MWPE and MWPO can both be printed on inkjet printers or laser printers, MWP can only be printed using a laser printer. The MWP labels are the easiest to print, however, because the thickness of MWPE and MWPO requires a little more care when printing (with some smaller printers being unable to process materials of this thickness at all).

THE PRICE
If you are looking at smaller quantities (i.e. less than 500 sheets), there is absolutely no difference between these three product ranges so the label you choose will entirely depend on the characteristics and properties you want your labels to possess. Once you move into bulk boxes of 500 sheets, there is some slight variation in price with MWPO being the most cost-effective choice and MWP being the most expensive choice.

If you’re still confused, we’ve put together a simple table to show the differences between our marine labels (with 1 being the best option for that particular feature).

Feature

MWP  (Polyester)

MWPE  (Polyethylene)

MWPO (Polyolefin)

How Well Do They Stick?

3

1

2

How Thin Is The Material?

1

3

2

How Flexible Is The Material?

3

1

2

How Well Do They Resist Exposure To Chemicals?

1

2

2

How Easy Are They To Print?

1

3

2

How Much Do They Cost?

3

2

1

You can find all of our Marine Labels on the Waterproof Labels page or you can take a look at our List of All Labels page to find out more about all of the different self adhesive labels available from Label Planet.

If you’re still not sure which marine label is the best one for you, remember, you can always request a sample to give each one a try before you buy!

Why Try Before You Buy? Request A Sample To Make Sure You Can Apply And Rely On The Labels We Supply!

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Here at Label Planet, we firmly believe in doing all we can to help our customers find the perfect label for their particular needs and a big part of this is our sample request service.

Allowing our customers to request a sample means they can buy labels from us knowing that they are the right labels for the job.

Whether you need to check if a material or adhesive is the right one for your application, you want to look at a few different colours or finishes to pick the best one for your project, or you want to practice printing your own labels, requesting a sample is a quick and easy (and free) way to make sure you pick the perfect label.

To request a sample you can get in touch with our Customer Service Team OR you can use our online Sample Request Form.

We ask that you give as much detail as you can about your application and preferences so that we can send the best options for your requirements. We also recommend that when you print and/or test your labels you replicate the actual application as closely possible to make sure that those labels will work for you.

All of our samples are sent out in C4 envelopes with your samples packed into plastic bags printed with a few of our top tips for trouble free label printing. We recommend that you read these tips to make sure that you get the most out of your sample labels.

You can find free templates for all of our label sizes (in Word and PDF formats) on our website, along with a Help Section that contains Step By Step Guides To Designing & Printing Labels, more Top Tips, and a Troubleshooting Guide – just in case you run into any issues.

Remember, you can always get in touch with our Customer Service Team if you need any help and advice on choosing, ordering, and printing your perfect labels; alternatively, you can simply visit our website now to request your free sample or to access our help and advice pages (including our Template Section).

High Tack Vs Super Tack: Which Sticky Label Has The Stickiest Stick For Sticky Situations?

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

One of our newest label products is our range of SUPER TACK labels, which form one half of our “Very Sticky” group of labels (along with our HIGH TACK labels). Both of these ranges feature paper labels (suitable for printing with inkjet and laser printers or for handwriting) with very strong permanent adhesives that are designed to stay firmly in place on a variety of surfaces.

Our High Tack labels and Super Tack labels were designed to be suitable for applications that require labels that are extremely difficult to remove, that can sustain an adhesive bond over a long period of time, that can adhere to materials and/or surfaces that standard permanent adhesives fail to bond with properly, or for applications that may involve (temporary) exposure to lower temperatures.

So what’s the difference between High Tack and Super Tack?
The only difference between our High Tack and Super Tack labels is the adhesive; both are made with very strong permanent adhesives but the adhesive on our super tack labels has been specially formulated and manufactured to maximise its initial tack and ultimate tack.

What’s “initial tack” and “ultimate tack”?
Our labels are all made with “pressure sensitive adhesives” – i.e. adhesives that only require the pressure of a finger or hand to create an adhesive bond. Pressure sensitive adhesives have two stages of adhesion – the initial tack and the ultimate tack. The initial tack describes the strength of the adhesive bond that is created at the moment of contact between the adhesive and a surface, while the ultimate tack describes the strength of the adhesive bond once it has fully strengthened and set.

Therefore, if a standard permanent adhesive has “good” initial tack and “good” ultimate tack, our high tack labels offer “very good” initial tack and “very good” ultimate tack, while our super tack labels offer “excellent” initial tack and “excellent” ultimate tack.

So why choose High Tack Labels or Super Tack Labels?
The strength of the adhesives used to make these labels makes them an ideal choice if you want your labels to remain firmly in place for a long time – even if the label application will involve exposure to lower temperatures. They’re also perfect if you find that standard permanent adhesives struggle to bond with the surface or material that you are trying to label; for example, standard labels may struggle to adhere to curved containers (such as bottles and jars) and fabric or plastic items (such as material swatches and samples or plastic bags and boxes).

Our HIGH TACK LABELS are available in fourteen stocked sizes (available for same day despatch in packs of 25 sheets) and thirty made to order sizes (available to order in boxes of 500 sheets), while our SUPER TACK LABELS are available in eleven stocked sizes and thirty-three made to order sizes.

Remember, you can always use our free sample request service to request a sample of our high tack labels and/or super tack labels to find out which of our sticky labels have enough stick for your sticky situation!

FAQs – What’s The Difference Between “LASER LABELS” & “INKJET LABELS”

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

You may have noticed that our label products are categorised with one of THREE printer compatibility types; laser labels, inkjet labels, or laser and inkjet labels.

All this means is that the labels have been made using materials that are either well-suited to the laser printing process, the inkjet printing process, or that are suitable for use with either printing process.

So why do different printing methods need labels made of different materials?
Laser printers and inkjet printers work in two very different ways, which means that – to get the best possible print results – you need to print onto materials that suit the particular printing method in use.

LASER PRINTERS bond toner (a dry powder) onto a surface using heat and pressure; this means that laser labels are made with materials that have a consistently smooth surface and that are heat resistant (paper laser labels, for example, often have a higher moisture content to ensure they survive the heat used during laser printing).

INKJET PRINTERS disperse inks (usually water-based) onto a surface where they dry and form the final printed image; this means that inkjet labels are made with materials that are slightly porous – allowing them to absorb some of the ink, which means that the ink dries in place much more efficiently and accurately.

At Label Planet, our label products are made with materials that naturally possess properties that make them well-suited to a particular printing method or that have been treated in a particular way (for example, having a special coating or finish applied) to make them better suited to a particular printing method.

So what label products do you supply for laser printers and for inkjet printers (and for both)?

Matt White Paper Labels Laser & Inkjet Printers Freezer Paper Labels Laser Printers
Wash Off Paper Labels Laser & Inkjet Printers Gloss White Paper Labels Laser Printers
Removable Paper Labels Laser & Inkjet Printers Semi-Gloss Paper Labels Laser Printers
Super Removable Paper Labels Laser & Inkjet Printers Gloss Transparent Labels Laser Printers
High Tack Paper Labels Laser & Inkjet Printers Removable Gloss Transparent Labels Laser Printers
Super Tack Paper Labels Laser & Inkjet Printers Matt Transparent Labels Laser Printers
Gloss Photo Quality Paper Labels Laser & Inkjet Printers Gloss White Waterproof Labels Laser Printers
Premium Quality Paper Labels Laser & Inkjet Printers Matt White Waterproof Labels Laser Printers
Opaque Paper Labels Laser & Inkjet Printers Removable Matt White Waterproof Labels Laser Printers
Matt White Polyethylene Labels Laser & Inkjet Printers Silver Metallic Waterproof Labels Laser Printers
Coloured Paper Labels Laser & Inkjet Printers Matt White Polyolefin Labels Laser Printers
Removable Coloured Paper Labels Laser & Inkjet Printers Silver Void Labels Laser Printers
Kraft Paper Labels Laser & Inkjet Printers Tamper Evident Vinyl Labels Laser Printers
Fluorescent Paper Labels Laser Printers
Gloss Clear Labels Inkjet Printers Gold & Silver Paper Labels Laser Printers

And what happens if I use the wrong labels with the wrong printer?
At best, you’ll end up with a batch of very poor quality printed labels – at worse, you could end up damaging your printer. Whether you print laser labels with an inkjet printer or print inkjet labels with a laser printer, the print you apply to your labels won’t be able to fix or set in place properly, which will result in your print flaking away or smudging and smearing. You may also damage the labels themselves, which could result in those labels (and your toner/inks) doing damage to the internal components of your printer.

This is why you should ALWAYS make sure that your labels are compatible with your printer BEFORE you start printing. To help you out, all of our label products will have their printer compatibility type listed on the range page, product page, and packaging for that particular item.

For more hints and tips you can take a look at our HELP section or have a browse through our FAQ blog posts.

The Language Of Labels – A Quickfire Guide To Our Label Categories

Monday, January 30th, 2017

At Label Planet, we often group our labels into categories based on specific qualities and many of our product ranges take their names from the qualities that those labels possess. If you’re new to the world of labels, however, it can be a bit confusing if you aren’t sure what some (or all) of these terms mean – or at least what they mean in the specific world of labels and labelling. This short guide should help to make it clear what we mean when we use the following terms to describe our labels:

Permanent:
We use the word permanent to refer to labels that are made with a permanent adhesive; permanent adhesives are designed to create a strong bond between a label and an object that is difficult to break. It does NOT mean that these labels are impossible to remove; if someone is determined enough to remove a permanent label they will be able to do so (albeit with a serious amount of intent and effort and the likely result that both the label itself and the labelled item will be damaged in the process).

High Tack:
This refers to labels that are made with extremely strong, permanent adhesives; “tack” refers to the property of materials that allows them to adhere to a surface immediately upon contact – in other words, it describes how “sticky” a material is in a fluid or semi-fluid state. High tack labels, therefore, are highly sticky labels!

Removable:
We use the term removable to refer to labels that are made with a removable adhesive; removable adhesives are designed to create a bond between a label and an object so that the label can be removed cleanly and easily (without doing any damage or leaving behind any adhesive residue) when it is no longer needed. For this reason, removable labels may also be called “Temporary Labels”.

Finish:
This term refers to the qualities and properties of a material’s surface, including its appearance and texture. We supply three types of finish:

  • Gloss: gloss surfaces are generally very smooth and are highly efficient at reflecting light, which produces a decorative bright and shiny appearance.
  • Matt: matt surfaces are very poor at reflecting light, which creates a dull and non-shiny appearance.
  • Semi-Gloss: as a compromise between gloss and matt, semi-gloss surfaces do reflect light (but less efficiently than full gloss surfaces), which creates a more subtle shine.

Opaque:
Opaque materials do not transmit light; light cannot travel through these materials, which means that opaque materials cannot be seen through. Opaque materials are used to create “Blockout” labels that will prevent any existing print or design work from showing through a label, even if it is applied to a highly decorative surface. They are ideal for covering up existing print, recycling packaging, covering up errors, or simply to create a completely blank background onto which a new design or print can be added.

Transparent:
Transparent materials are extremely efficient at transmitting light; light travels through these materials, which means that you can see through transparent materials. Our transparent labels are not 100% transparent because they use an adhesive, which means that they may trap small air bubbles or particles of dust during application. Please note that we also use the term “clear” to refer to transparent materials.
If a material only transmits some light, then it will not be completely transparent – these labels are usually known as Transluscent or Frosted labels.

Waterproof:
Waterproof materials can survive exposure to or immersion in water – which means our waterproof labels are the best option to choose if you need labels for an application that may involve water, for example outdoor labels or labels for use on items that will be stored and used in kitchens or bathrooms.

Splashproof:
This is a term that we use to describe our GW (gloss laser labels) and SG (semi-gloss laser labels); both of these products are paper labels, which means that they are not waterproof BUT the coatings applied to these labels to give them their gloss and semi-gloss finishes do provide limited protection if the labels are lightly splashed with water or get slightly dirty (hence splashproof). These labels provide a compromise between using standard paper labels (with no protection against water damage) and our synthetic labels (which are completely waterproof) – especially if you need to work within a limited budget.

Compatible:
Essentially, when we describe one of our labels as being “compatible” with a label product from a different company, we mean that the label size and layout (but not the materials used to make the labels) are the same for our labels as they are for the other product. For example, many of our label products are described as “Avery Compatible” and we provide “Compatible Avery Template Codes” for customers to use when printing their labels. All this means is that the label size and layout of our labels is the same as those of Avery labels and you can therefore use the same template to print both our labels and Avery labels.

Special Use:
Also known as “Media Labels”, these labels are a group of products that were each originally created to suit a specific purpose but can also be used for a wider range of label applications. They tend to be sizes that were designed for use on storage devices and folders, such as CDs and DVDs, box files and lever arch files, or videos and data cartridges.

Plastic:
Plastic is a general term that can be used to describe any synthetic material made from a wide range of organic polymers. We have three plastic materials; polyester, polyethylene, and vinyl (our Tamper Evident Vinyl). When we use the term “Plastic labels”, we are referring to our polyester and polyethylene (and vinyl) labels.

Tamper Evident:
A type of security label; security labels are labels with special features that are designed to improve the security of the items they are used to label. Tamper evident labels have features that allow them to provide visual evidence that someone has tampered with an item. We have TWO tamper evident labels; our Silver Void Labels leave the message “VOID” behind when they are removed from an item, while our Tamper Evident Vinyl Labels will disintegrate into tiny pieces if someone attempts to remove them.

You can find even more label terms (along with their definitions) in our online Glossary. If you have any questions or queries about what a particular term means or if you need any assistance choosing the right label for your specific label application, you can get in touch with our Customer Service Team by phone or email to find out more.

FAQ – What Does “Compatible With Avery” Mean?

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

You may have noticed that a number of our label products are described as being “compatible with Avery labels” or “Avery compatible”. Simply put, this means that the label size and layout of our Label Planet labels is the same as the label size and layout of Avery labels.

This means that you can print Label Planet labels with an Avery template; we include compatible Avery codes for our products (where possible) because we know that some of our customers need to use an existing Avery template to print their labels. For example, if you are printing labels from specialist software for producing barcode labels, shipping labels, or product labels, the only templates built in to your software may be Avery templates – if we have a compatible label size, you will be able to buy labels from us and print them using the existing templates in your software.

While you might be perfectly happy using Avery labels, you may have found that we offer a particular label size in a different material or adhesive option that isn’t provided by Avery, that the materials used by Avery aren’t suitable for your application, that you struggle to source Avery labels in the quantities that you need, or you may simply want the freedom to shop around as you please.

If any of these are true, you can buy labels from Label Planet safe in the knowledge that they are the same as the Avery labels that you have used before/are the same as the Avery template that you want or need to use to print your labels. We also offer a free sample request service so you can try out our labels for yourself and see if they are suitable for the task at hand.

You can find a full list of Label Planet labels that have compatible Avery templates on our website here; alternatively, if you have a specific Avery code in mind, you can use our Search By Avery Code page to see if we have a label size that is compatible with your Avery code.

Q) Does It Matter What Sort Of Printer I Use To Print My Labels? A) YES!

Monday, January 9th, 2017

You might be surprised at just HOW important it is to use the right printer (and print settings) when you are printing your own labels. Your choice of printer determines a number of factors that can have a big influence on the quality of print that you can achieve when printing labels (that is, if you can print labels at all).

Type Of Printer:
All of our labels are supplied on A4 sheets and are designed specifically for use with standard desktop inkjet printers and laser printers. You may have noticed that all of our label products are marked with a particular printer compatibility – Laser Only, Inkjet Only, or Laser & Inkjet.

This is because the two types of printers use two different printing methods and our labels are generally made with materials that suit one of these print methods. Laser printers use heat and pressure to bond a dry powder called toner into place, which means that laser labels are made using materials that have a smooth, consistent surface and that are heat resistant (paper laser labels, for example, will have a much higher moisture content than standard sheets of paper). Inkjet printers, however, will disperse inks (usually water-based) onto a surface where they will dry in place to form the final printed image or design. Inkjet labels, therefore, may have a slightly porous surface to absorb some of the ink and allow it to dry in place much more accurately.

If you try to print laser labels with an inkjet printer or inkjet labels with a laser printer, the best you can hope for is extremely low quality print – at worst you could damage your labels and your printer so you MUST make sure that the labels you buy are compatible with your printer.

You may also find that certain label products are only available for ONE type of printer. For example, all of our Waterproof Labels are laser labels – this is because laser printers create waterproof print, whereas inkjet printers tend to use water-based inks that will run or smudge if they get wet (or even if they’re simply handled a lot).

Model Of Printer:
The next factor is the exact model of printer that you intend to use. Some models of printer will have limitations that make them entirely unsuitable for printing labels, while others will have features specifically designed to produce high quality print on labels.

As a general rule, if you want to print labels you will need to use a general purpose printer – not an All-In-One Printer or a printer that is designed for a specific purpose other than printing labels (e.g. Photo Printers). All-in-one printers are designed to do a lot of different tasks to a reasonable standard (rather than doing one specific task to an exceptional standard), which means they are often too limited in their specifications to print labels properly (if at all). General purpose printers will usually include a range of hardware and software features that are designed specifically for use when printing labels – to improve the print quality and alignment accuracy that you can achieve.

Some printers will also be limited in the types and thicknesses of materials that they can accept and process properly; labels are made from a variety of materials and are naturally thicker than paper because they are made up of several layers (there are at least three: face material, adhesive, and backing sheet, with some labels having extra layers such as special coatings).

The best thing to do is to check the manufacturer’s manual for the following:

  • Specifications: there should be a section that lists the hardware features and specifications of your printer, including whether or not it has a media bypass tray, along with the types and weights of materials that it can accept.
  • Recommended guidelines: if your printer does have features for printing labels then the manual may also include recommended guidelines for how to print labels (including any specific print settings you should use).

While we don’t recommend any specific models of printer (you do, after all, need to buy one that is suitable for your unique set of printing requirements and budget), we do recommend the OKI and HP brands, as we have found that their printers tend to be able to handle large volumes and thicker materials very efficiently.

Printer Hardware Features
As we mentioned above, you should make sure that your printer has a media bypass tray; this is a secondary tray, usually located just above or below the paper tray, that is designed to accept thicker media (such as labels and envelopes) and to bypass at least one set of rollers within the printer, which produces a straighter path through the machine and reduces the chances of your label sheets rotating slightly as they are printed (improving the accuracy of alignment that you get).

You may also want to check if your printer offers the following features:
Wide Edge Feed (Long Edge Feed) AND Narrow Edge Feed (Short Edge Feed); most printers will have trays that use narrow edge feed, which means that your sheets feed into your printer narrow edge leading (portrait). If your printer offers both types of feed you must make sure that you only use the narrow edge option (and check that your print settings are also set to this option). All of our labels are made with layouts that are designed to feed narrow edge leading, while our paper labels also have a grain (like wood) that goes in this direction. If you feed your labels into your printer wide edge leading (against the grain), you may find that they start to separate from the backing sheet, which can cause your label sheets to jam in your printer.
Edge-To-Edge Printing; also known as “borderless” printing, this feature will allow you to print all the way to the edge of an A4 sheet. Most standard desktop printers cannot do this, which means there will be a border around the edge of your label sheets that your printer simply cannot print – if any part of any of your labels fall into this unprintable area, you will need to adapt your design to make sure that these areas of your template are left blank.

Printer Software Features (aka Print Settings)
Finally, you need to make sure your printer offers suitable print settings for printing labels – AND that you have actually selected these settings when you print. Before printing, check your Printer’s Properties for the following:

  • Page Size: this must be A4 (you should always check this as some printers will sometimes default to American Letter).
  • Media Type/Weight: choose a specific “Labels” print setting if one is available; if not, choose a “Heavy Paper” setting to get the best possible print quality on your labels.
  • Scaling: make sure that no scaling options are applied (for example, a percentage or any “Fit To Page” options).
  • “Ignore Printer Settings”//”Use Driver Settings”: these options will cause your printer to ignore any specific settings that you have selected to use when printing your labels and will use a default set installed in your printer’s driver (software) instead.

Visit our Help Pages for more tips and advice on printing your own labels or visit our List Of All Materials page to view all of the label products available from Label Planet along with their printer compatibility.

How To Print Christmas Labels Using Word’s Mail Merge Tool

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Yes, it is that time of year once again, where we revisit Word’s Mail Merge Tool to help guide you through the process of creating Christmas labels using a Word template and a database (e.g. an Excel Spreadsheet). If you’ve got a list of addresses or a product database that you’d like to turn into Christmas Address Labels or Christmas Product Labels but aren’t sure how to go about setting up a mail merge, this is the blog post for you!

We recommend using the built in “Step By Step Mail Merge Wizard” and so this blog will describe how to complete a mail merge using the Wizard; if you wish, you can choose to do the steps manually.

Things you will need before you start:

  • A saved database, such as an Excel spreadsheet, that contains the information you want to include on your labels (e.g. addresses or product details)
  • The Avery template code that matches your labels, the measurements of your labels, OR a saved copy of a Word template that matches your labels (e.g. one that you have downloaded from our template section!)

GETTING STARTED – Enter the “Step By Step Mail Merge Wizard”
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Open Word and create a blank document. Click on the “Mailings” tab at the top of the page, then click on “Start Mail Merge”, and select “Step By Step Mail Merge Wizard”. This adds a Mail Merge pane to the right hand side of your screen, which will guide you through the SIX steps involved in completing a mail merge. Simply follow the instructions at the top of the pane before clicking on the “Next” link at the bottom of the pane to move on to the next step.

STEP ONE: Select document type.
Easy peasy! Select “Labels” and then click “Next: Starting document”.

STEP TWO: Select starting document.
If you are printing labels that are the same as Avery labels, you should use the built in Avery template.
For example, our LP21/63 label size is the same as Avery’s L7160 label size – as shown below.
label-planet-mail-merge-select-avery-template
Leave the top option as “Change document layout” and click on “Label options”. Make sure that the Label Vendor is set to Avery A4/A5 (or Avery Zweckform) and then click OK. This will bring up the template that you will use to design your labels.
If you cannot see the outline of the template, you have Table Gridlines turned off; click on the Table Tools “Layout” tab at the top of the page, and click “View Gridlines”.

If you do NOT have a compatible Avery code then you will either need to use the “New Label” button in the “Label Options” box to enter the measurements of your label sheets to create your own template OR you will need to use the “Start from existing document” option in the Mail Merge pane. Click “Open” to find and select your saved template file. Then click “Next: Select Recipients” in the Mail Merge pane.

STEP THREE: Select Recipients
Leave the top option as “Use existing list” and click on “Browse” to find and select your database. If your database is made up of multiple sets of data – for example, if you have an Excel spreadsheet with multiple sheets – you may be presented with a “Select Table” box; simply select the sheet that contains the information that you want to print and select OK.

If you need to make adjustments to your list, you can use the “Mail Merge Recipients” box to sort, filter, remove, or validate addresses in your list. Once you are happy with your list, or if you don’t need to make any amends, click on the OK button.
label-planet-mail-merge-select-recipients

You should now see a <<Next Record>> rule in each of your labels APART from the top left label. If you aren’t using an Avery template (or a template you set up using the “New Label” button in “Label Options”) your template will be blank. You need to manually add the <<Next Record>> rule to your labels by left clicking once inside one of your labels (NOT the top left one), clicking on “Rules” in the Mailings tab, and selecting the Next Record option from the list. You don’t have to repeat this for each label; you can simply copy the first <<Next Record>> and paste it into the rest of the labels (NOT the top left one).
Then click on “Next: Arrange Your Labels” in the Mail Merge pane.

STEP FOUR: Arrange your labels
This is the part where you design your labels! You CAN just add your information as a block of text OR you can put in some extra design features, such as a company logo or a friendly picture to personalise your labels.

The easiest way to add information from your database is to use the built in options in the Mail Merge pane (Address block or Greeting line), but you can also use the “More items…” option in the Mail Merge pane or the “Insert Merge Field” option in the Mailings tab to add a placeholder for any bit of information from your database anywhere within your label design. A placeholder takes the form of <<Information Name>> where “Information Name” is the column header from your database; once you complete your merge, each placeholder will be replaced with the relevant piece of information from your database.

You must make sure that the <<Next Record>> rule always comes BEFORE the first bit of information that is pulled from your database in each label.

Mail merge is really designed to create a set of labels that share the same basic design but are each printed with information from a different record in your database (e.g. address labels with the same design but a different address on each label); to design your labels, set up your design in the top left label and then use “Update all labels” in the Mail Merge pane to instantly add your design to the rest of your labels. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can ignore the “Update all labels” option and add different designs to your labels manually.

If you are not using an Avery template or a template you have set up using the “New Label” button in “Label Options”, the “Update all labels” option is NOT available and you will need to set up each label individually – although you can still add your design to the top left label and then use copy and paste to transfer it into the other labels.

If you are using the Address block or Greeting line options, you may need to use the “Match Fields” function to tell Word which column in your database correlates to each element of the built in option. For example, if your spreadsheet doesn’t use the exact same column headings as the different elements in Word’s built in Address block, you can use the “Match Fields” function to tell Word that you want it to use the information from your column “Customer Surname” to fill in the “Last Name” element in the Address block (and so on). This also means you can use the Address block function even if you aren’t creating address labels. Use the “Preview” box to check through a few records to make sure you’re happy with how the information will be displayed.

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When you are happy with your design, click on “Next: Preview Your Labels” in the Mail Merge pane.

STEP FIVE: Preview your labels
This step shows you what your labels look like once the placeholders have been replaced with the information from your database. We recommend using the “Preview another label” or “Find a recipient” options to check through a few different records to make sure that your design and layout works for each one. For example, you have may have one or two entries that are much longer than others, which could throw out the positioning of your design (perhaps even pushing some of your design off the edges of your label). If you need to, use the “Previous: Arrange your labels” option at the bottom of the Mail Merge pane to go back and correct any problems that you’ve found.

STEP SIX: Complete the merge
At this stage you can save your mail merged template, print your completed labels, or make some final amends/add personalised finishing touches using the “Edit individual labels” option. When you come to print your labels, we STRONGLY recommend that you do a test print FIRST either by selecting the “From…To” option and selecting the first few records from your database to print ONE page of labels or by setting the Page range option in the “Print” box to “Pages: 1” (see below). You should also click on the “Properties” button to check that all of your printer settings are correct; for example, make sure that the page size is set to A4, select a specific “Labels” or “Heavy Paper” setting, make sure that no scaling options (e.g. Fit To Page) are selected, and that no options such as Ignore Printer Settings or Use Driver Settings are selected.

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Test print the first page of your mail merged template onto blank paper so that you can confirm that the alignment of your template is correct (and amend it if it isn’t) BEFORE you print your labels. For example, if your labels are all printing too high, you can go back and increase the top page margin to move all of your designs into the correct position.

The “Edit individual labels” option creates a new document which contains enough pages to display each of your merged labels (where the original mail merge document shows only one page with the first few entries from your database added).

We hope this guide has helped to demystify the process of completing a mail merge a little, so you can get busy creating your own seasonal labels this Christmas. If you have any queries or encounter a particular problem that isn’t explained by this guide, please take a look through our Printing Advice pages or get in touch with our Customer Service Team and we’ll do our best to help!