Posts Tagged ‘Printing Tips’

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.

New Smart Bags From Label Planet! (No, They’re Not Wifi-Connected – But They Do Look Pretty Good)

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

We’ve started a brand new project to help make our packaging as smart as it can possibly be – in as many ways as possible. While our new “smart” bags can’t tell you where your nearest coffee shop is, send a funny message to all of your friends (and quite possibly the rest of the world), or show you pictures of a really cute doggo (like our very own Harvey Dog here) – they can now give you a helping hand when it comes to designing, printing, and re-ordering your labels.

We’ve added some basic tips to our bags to give you a head start in designing and printing your own labels, as well as providing you with all you need to know about your labels and how to re-order those labels in the future.

Take a look at the BACK of your label pack(s) to find:

  • Tips For DESIGNING Labels
    Including information on how to find and download a template for your labels and directions to our Help Section, where you can find step by step guides, tops tips, and a handy troubleshooting guide.
  • Tips For PRINTING Labels
    Including advice on how to set up your printer and your template to make sure you get the best possible alignment when you print your template onto your labels.
  • Tips For STORING Labels
    So you can keep your labels safely stored away so they’re in perfect condition when you next need to print more labels.
  • Tips For GETTING IN TOUCH
    Including all of the ways you can get in touch with us whether you want to order more labels or you need some help and advice for the labels you have already bought.

Take a look at the FRONT of your label pack(s) to find out more about your labels, including:

  • The Product Code
  • The Number Of Sheets/Labels Per Pack
  • The Materials Used To Make Your Labels
  • The Measurements Of Your Label Sheets
  • The Compatible Avery Template Code (where applicable)
  • The Easiest Ways To Re-Order Your Labels
  • The Information You Need To GET IN TOUCH!

So, if you haven’t got time to look up the information you need or you’re getting a bit in a muddle, you can simply take a look at the bag(s) your labels came in for some quickfire help and advice.

Of course, if your bag doesn’t have the answer(s) that you really need, remember you can always visit our website (www.labelplanet.co.uk) or get in touch with our Customer Service Team (by phone or by email) for some one-to-one advice.

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.

December Design Tips & Tricks To Create Wonderful Winter Labels

Monday, December 12th, 2016

If you’ve decided to ward off the winter blues with a Christmas project and have settled on some DIY label designing and printing, you might have found that things are turning out to be a little bit more complicated than you first thought. There are plenty of things that can trip you up when it comes to designing a label template and making sure it prints out properly, which means a small project to create some Christmas address labels or gift tags can quickly turn into a frosty nightmare!

BUT DON’T PANIC! We’ve got plenty of tips and tricks to help turn your Christmas Crisis into a Winter Wonderland!

Avoiding Template Troubles

  • Make Sure You Have The Right Template: you must use a template that matches the size and layout of your labels AND pick a template with a file format that your software is capable of editing. For example, we supply Word Templates and PDF Templates; the Word templates can be edited by word processing software such as Word, Pages, LibreOffice etc, while the PDF templates can be edited by graphics packages such as Photoshop or InDesign.
  • Keep Things Simple: if you try to create a really complicated design you may find that you waste HOURS setting up your template, that it never quite looks exactly how you want it to because your software simply isn’t capable of doing what you want it to do, or that your labels end up looking cluttered and messy. If you are creating a design that is made up of multiple layers or elements, we advise working from the background to the foreground to help you keep your design under control.
  • Don’t Expect Your Software To Do More Than It Is Capable Of Doing: while some people will have access to design packages that offer many more design tools and a much higher level of detail and accuracy, others will need to make do with software that is actually designed for other tasks (but has a few design tools that you can commandeer).
    For example: many people use Word to design labels; as a word processor, Word is designed for adding, editing, and arranging text on a page, so it has limited design tools (and accuracy). It will always prioritise text over anything else and you may need to go through a variety of format settings to get your design elements to follow the layout you want BUT it is perfectly possible to create a decent design for your labels (usually by keeping things simple!) and it does offer a number of tools and templates for labels, such as built in Avery templates and a Mail Merge tool for creating address or product labels from a database.
  • Use Copy & Paste (Carefully) To Save Time: the easiest way to design a full template is to create the top left label first and then copy and paste this into the rest of the labels. You do need to take care when pasting to make sure that your document doesn’t automatically adjust itself to accommodate the content you are adding (for example, by increasing the size of your labels, which will destroy the alignment of your template) and you need to avoid accidentally copying content into the gaps between your labels (where applicable).
  • Take Care With Borders, Backgrounds, & “Full Size” Images: these elements can make any slight misalignment in your printed template much more obvious and can lead to areas of white edging around the outside of your labels. We advise that you avoid adding borders if you can or, if you can’t, use a thick or oversized border where possible. If you want to print a full colour background or a full size image (where a single image takes up the full area of each label) but get white edges when you print, you may want to try oversizing your background/image (if possible) to avoid this issue.

Perfecting Your Print

  • ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS Test Print Your Template Onto Paper BEFORE You Print Onto Your Labels: this will allow you to confirm if your template and printer are set up correctly AND to make adjustments if they are not – without wasting your labels.
  • Check Through Your Printer’s Properties BEFORE You Print ANYTHING: set your printer to an A4 page size, select a specific “Labels” or “Heavy Paper” print setting, make sure no scaling options (e.g. Fit To Page) are applied, and that no options such as “Ignore Printer Settings” or “Use Driver Settings” are selected.
    If possible, you should also consult your printer’s manual to double check if there are any restrictions as to the types of materials it can print and to see if the manufacturer has included any recommended guidelines to follow when printing labels.
  • Print PDF Templates Directly From The PDF Itself: we have had a number of customers reporting that they have seen alignment problems when printing their PDF template through their design software, which has promptly disappeared when they have tried printing the PDF as a standalone file (e.g. through a document viewer such as Adobe Reader).
  • Always Use Your Printer’s Media Bypass Tray & Load Your Labels Correctly: if your printer has a media bypass tray you SHOULD USE IT to print labels – it is designed specifically for thicker media (such as labels) and offers a straighter path through the printer, which improves the accuracy of alignment that you can achieve. You must also make sure that you load your labels into your printer narrow edge leading (portrait); all of our sheet labels are made with layouts that are designed for this feed direction, with our paper labels also having a grain (like wood) that runs in this direction – if you try to feed your labels wide edge leading (and therefore against the grain) you may find that your labels start to separate from their backing sheet, causing your sheets to jam inside your printer.

If you have never designed a template or printed your own labels before, remember you can always visit our Help Section to find tips and advice on how to get started. We’ve written a simple Guide to Designing & Printing Labels that provides basic advice on how to design and print a label template, which is a great place to start if you’d like a general introduction. Alternatively, if you’re having a particular problem, you can take a look at our Troubleshooting Guide to find fixes for the most common issues that arise when designing and printing labels, or you can get in touch with our Customer Service Team who will be happy to help resolve any specific issues that you’re having.

Printing labels involves a lot of moving parts and it is incredibly easy to get frustrated and give up. DON’T! Most template troubles and printing problems are caused by something in your hardware or software being set to the wrong setting or using the wrong format – and all it takes is a few small adjustments to get things sorted; a few changes to default settings, formats and sizes, or page margins can make a BIG difference. Take your time and check things through and if you can’t find a solution – just ask!

Templates for all of our label sizes can be found in our TEMPLATE SECTION, while all of our help and advice articles are gathered in our HELP SECTION; to get in touch with us if you need advice for a specific problem or enquiry, simply visit our Contact Us page.

Need Some Help Printing Labels? Check Out The New & Improved Label Planet HELP Pages!

Monday, November 28th, 2016

At Label Planet, we know EXACTLY how frustrating it can be when you run into a problem designing a template or printing your labels and you just CAN’T figure out what to do – even though you KNOW there’ll be some perfectly simple little trick that you can use to fix things in an instant.

Over the years we’ve dealt with thousands of customers and their tricky templates, which means that we’ve picked up plenty of tips and tricks to help resolve design and print issues – and we’ve created a comprehensive HELP SECTION on our website to make sure that all of our customers have the help and advice that they need ready and waiting if they encounter a problem – or even if they just need a bit of guidance on how to get started.

We’ve recently put our Help Section through a serious revamp to make sure that all of our templates and advice pages are as comprehensive and up to date as possible (see our New & Improved markers below). So, what sort of things can you find in our HELP SECTION? All of this (and much more!):

LABEL PRINTING TEMPLATES
We’ve created Word & PDF templates for ALL of our label sizes, so if you don’t have an existing template you can use (and don’t fancy trying to make your own), you can simply pop over to our Template Section and download the one you need. We’ve created options for portrait and landscape versions of our templates (where possible), as well as a few more specialised options (Text Box, Mirrored Text Box, Bleed) for customers to try.

Each of our label sizes has its own unique template information page, which includes the full set of templates for that size along with detailed measurement and layout information, design and printing tips, and a list of the material options available for that size.

REQUEST LABEL SAMPLES
We know that choosing the right label can be a tricky process, which is why we run a free sample request service so you can take a look at and test a few of our labels to make sure that you pick the one that’s perfect for your particular label application. Requesting a sample is a quick and easy way to make sure that you’ve chosen the right colour/material/finish/adhesive for the job AND it’s a great way to have a practice at getting your print alignment just right before you print onto your actual label sheets.

You can request a free sample using our online form or by contacting our Customer Service Team; please give us as much detail about your label application as possible – this will allow us to make sure that we only send samples that are appropriate for your purpose AND will allow us to make a few recommendations and suggestions if you’re really not sure what kind of label you need.

GUIDE TO DESIGNING AND PRINTING LABELS *Improved
Our very own guide to designing a template and printing your own labels. This basic guide leads you through the various steps involved in designing and printing a label template; Finding & Opening A Template, Designing A Template, and Setting Up Your Printer.

GUIDE TO PRINTING ROUND LABELS / CIRCULAR LABELS / OVAL LABELS *Improved
This guide is an extension of our general guide and provides more specific advice relating to round labels / circular labels and oval labels; these shapes are a little bit trickier to design and print accurately, so this guide aims to provide you with additional pointers to help you get the best possible print result on your labels.

GUIDE TO PRINTING MIRRORED TEXT / IMAGES
If you are printing transparent labels and want to create labels that can be read correctly from the reverse side (e.g. if the labels will be stuck inside a window but need to be read from outside the window), you can use this guide to find out how to reverse or “mirror” your text and images in a Word template.

TOP TIPS *Improved
A shortlist of quick Dos & Don’ts that can help prevent the majority of issues that arise when printing labels.

TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE *New
A new addition to our Help Section, this page collects together the most common problems that can occur when designing a template and printing labels, along with a simple explanation of how you can (hopefully) resolve each one.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS *Improved
Of course, no website is complete without a FAQs page and this is ours! This page features answers to all of those questions that we are most regularly asked, so if you have a quick question or query this is a good place to start!

AVERY CODES WITH COMPATIBLE LABEL PLANET CODES *Improved
You can use this page if you are already using Avery labels and/or templates and you want to see if we supply any labels that are the same size. This way you can order labels from Label Planet (in any of our material options) but continue to use your existing templates.

LABEL PLANET CODES WITH COMPATIBLE AVERY CODES *Improved
If you want/need to use a built in Avery template to print your labels, you can use this page to find out which of our products have compatible Avery template codes and/or find out which Avery code you need to use to bring up a template that is the same size and layout as your Label Planet labels.

Our HELP SECTION is completely free for ANYONE to use; we also offer support to customers by phone and email if they find that they have a question, query, or persistent problem that isn’t answered by these resources.

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”
label-planet-mail-merge-wizard
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.

label-planet-mail-merge-arrange-your-labels

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.

label-planet-mail-merge-test-print

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!

FAQ – How Do I Find The Right Template To Print My Labels?

Monday, October 24th, 2016

When it comes to printing your own labels, it’s really important to get hold of the right template to help make the whole process go a whole lot smoother. Templates come a variety of formats and it can get a bit confusing if you’re new to the world of DIY labels – hopefully this blog post should help to make things clearer!

Finding A Template
There are THREE ways to get a label template:

  1. Use a BUILT IN template; some software has a selection of templates built in, which you can use to design and print labels.
  2. DOWNLOAD a template; we have created free templates for ALL of our label sizes so that you can download the one you need from our website.
  3. MAKE your own template; some software will allow you to create a template simply by entering the measurements of your labels. We have created a template information page for all of our label sizes, which includes detailed size and layout measurements that you can use as a starting point if you wish to make your own label template.

Built-In Templates
If your software has label templates built in, all you need to do is select the template that is compatible with (the same as) the labels you want to print. Avery templates are the most commonly used example and a number of our label sizes are the same as Avery sizes, which means you can use a built in Avery template to print labels that you have bought from us.

All of our label sizes that have compatible Avery codes will have the relevant Avery codes listed along with their Label Planet codes – on the product page, product packaging, and template information page. Alternatively, you can visit our List of Label Planet Sizes With Compatible Avery Codes page to see if your Label Planet labels have any compatible Avery codes.

If you have an Avery code in mind and want to see if we supply labels that are the same size, you can use our List of Avery Codes With Compatible Label Planet Sizes page to look up your Avery code and see if we do supply that label size.

If you want to use a built in Avery template, you may need to first select Avery A4/A5 (or Avery Zweckform) as the label vendor/manufacturer to view the Avery templates (as your software may include templates for a variety of brands).

Downloading A Template – Choosing A File Format
Digital files can be created in a variety of formats, which can then be read and edited by specific kinds of software. Our templates, for example, are available in TWO file formats:
.docx Word Templates – the .docx file format is used for Word documents but can be read and edited by other types of Word Processing software (such as Pages or LibreOffice).
.pdf PDF Templates – the .pdf file format is a more generic format that can be read and edited by a variety of graphics packages (such as InDesign or Photoshop).

You need to choose a template with a file format that can be edited by the software that you have access to for the purpose of designing your labels. Please note that some software may be able to read a file format but NOT edit it (for example: the standard version of Adobe Reader can read but not edit the .pdf file format – so you can open PDF templates in Adobe Reader but you can’t make any changes).

Downloading A Template – Choosing A Format
Here at Label Planet, we offer the following formats:
Portrait & Landscape: while the majority of label designs will work best in portrait format, there are some occasions where it is easier to work in landscape – so we provide our customers with options for both!
Text Box & Mirrored: if you only want to add text you can use our Text Box Word templates, while if you are printing transparent labels and want the text to be readable when viewed from the reverse side (e.g. if you are sticking labels on the inside of a window but want them to be legible from the outside) you can use our Mirrored Text Box Word templates.
Bleed: these templates allow you to add oversized coloured backgrounds and images to your labels to prevent any white edging around the outsides of your labels.

Downloading A Template – Top Tips
If you are given the option to “Save” or “Open” your template, select “Save”. Next open the software you want to use to design your labels and use that software to open your saved template (File > Open); this will allow your software to confirm that it can read and edit the file properly (and make any necessary conversions if it can’t) – before you add your design.

If you can’t edit your template at all, it has probably been temporarily locked for security reasons; look for a (yellow) banner going across the top of the page and click on the “Enable Editing” button to unlock the file. If you are using a Word template and cannot see the outlines of your labels, Table Gridlines are turned off. To turn them on, left click once somewhere in the middle of the page, select the Table Tools “Layout” tab at the top of the page, and click “View Gridlines” (Word 2007 onwards, Word For Mac 2016); alternatively, select the “Table Layout” tab, and click “Gridlines” (Word For Mac 2011).

If you are using a Word template to print round labels or oval labels, don’t panic if you can’t see a grid of circles or ovals; Word isn’t capable of creating such a template and so a compromise of squares and rectangles is used instead, so that each square or rectangle represents one of the round or oval labels (with the outermost points of the circle or oval touching the four sides of the square or rectangle).

Downloading A Template – From Label Planet’s Website
There are TWO ways to find the template you need on our website:

  1. Navigate to the product page of the labels you have bought from us and click on the “Label Templates And Printing Information” link to view ALL of the available templates for that label size.
  2. Visit our Template Section; select your label shape from the options provided and then select your labels from the table at the top of the page.

You can find more help and advice on designing and printing your own labels in our Help Section, which includes our Guide to Designing & Printing Labels, Top Tips, and our FAQs page. If you find that you encounter a particular problem that you can’t resolve or have a quick question about label printing, remember you can always get in touch with our Customer Service Team who will do their best to provide a solution.

5 Ways That Your Printer Can Make Your Labels Better (& 1 Way That They Can’t)

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

When it comes to printing your own labels, the accuracy of your template is undoubtedly one of the most important factors in determining how well they turn out. Another major factor, however, is the printer that you use AND how efficiently you use it; some printers offer specific features that can vastly improve the print quality and accuracy of alignment that you can achieve when printing your own labels and ALL printers can turn the process of printing your own labels into a nightmare if you don’t set them up correctly.

This blog post lists a few of the ways that your printer can help (and hinder) the process of printing your own labels.

  1. THE MEDIA BYPASS TRAY
    The media bypass tray is a secondary tray, usually found just above or below your main paper tray; the media bypass tray is designed specifically to process media made using thicker materials than standard sheets of paper (like labels!) and offers a straighter path through your printer by bypassing at least one set of rollers – this improves the accuracy of your printer’s alignment by reducing the chances of your label sheets rotating slightly as they go through each set of rollers.
  1. THE START PRINT POSITION & THE UNPRINTABLE AREA
    Ever printer has its own level of print accuracy and starting print position (i.e. the place on the A4 sheet that your printer starts printing from); if you bear these two factors in mind, you can adjust your template to suit your printer specifically, which will allow you to design around these factors and create the best possible (and most accurate) template for your particular printer.
    Similarly, most desktop printers are unable to print the full area of an A4 sheet (which produces a kind of border around the edge of your label sheets called the “unprintable area”), which means that if you are aware of where your printer can and cannot print, you can tailor your design to make sure it all falls within the “printable area” of your particular printer.
  1. THE PRINT SETTINGS
    Most printers offer a variety of print settings and properties to choose from, which means that you may well be able to improve the print quality and accuracy of alignment that you can get simply by making sure you use the best possible combination of settings available to you.
    The key settings to check are any that relate to the Media Type or Media Weight; these settings will automatically adjust the way your printer prints to suit a particular medium type and/or weight – with some printers including a specific “Labels” setting that should be ideal (as an alternative, we recommend choosing “Heavy Paper”).
    There are a few other settings that may not improve the print you get BUT will absolutely destroy the alignment of your template if they are wrong. You should therefore always check the following as well:

    • Check that the Page/Media Size/Layout is set to A4.
    • Check that no scaling options (such as a percentage or “Fit To Page”) are selected.
    • Check that no options such as “Ignore Printer Settings” or “Use Driver Settings” are selected.
  1. THE PRINTING METHOD
    Desktop printers tend to be either laser printers or inkjet printers; some label products are tailored to suit ONE of these printing processes only, which means that to get the best out of your labels you should make sure that you choose labels that are compatible with your type of printer.
    All of our label products will have their label compatibility listed on their range page, product page, and product packaging. You should NOT ignore this compatibility listing; if you print laser labels with an inkjet printer or inkjet labels with a laser printer the best you can hope for is poor quality print that smears or flakes away – at worst you may end up damaging your printer.
  1. THE SPECIFICATION
    Every single model of printer will have its own unique set of specifications, which reflect the type and level of printing that a specific model is capable of and designed for. For example, more basic models of printer will be limited in the types and weights of materials that they can print onto successfully. Generally speaking, the more expensive the model, the higher the specification should be; a cheaper “All-In-One” model is designed to do a number of tasks to a reasonable standard and will be limited in the types of materials that it can process, while dedicated printers will be designed to do one task (printing) to a very high standard and will be able to perform that task across a range of material types and weights.
    Ideally, if you are printing labels, you should try to use a printer that has label-specific specifications, such as the presence of a media bypass tray, a specific “Labels” print setting (or settings), and the ability to process a variety of materials and thicknesses. You can find ALL of this information about any model of printer by checking the manufacturer’s manual (usually available from the manufacturer’s website).

AND ONE THING THAT YOUR PRINTER CANNOT IMPROVE:
Even if you’ve chosen the perfect printer, set it up properly, and carefully selected the perfect combination of print settings, your labels are never going to print out properly if you don’t take your time setting up your template.

This is why we always recommend doing a test print onto blank paper first; you can confirm that your printer is correctly set up AND double check that your template is correctly aligned before you start printing onto your actual label sheets.

For more tips & advice take a look through our Help Section and our Blog; you can find Word & PDF Templates (along with more detailed label size information and printing advice) for all of our label sizes in our Template Section.

FAQ – I Can’t See The Outlines On My Word Template, What Should I Do?

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

If you’re using a Word template to design your labels, you may find yourself in the unfortunate position of opening your Word template only to find that you can’t really see anything that resembles a template.

For example, you may have tried to open one of the built in Avery templates in Word, only to find that you are presented with a blank page OR you may have downloaded one of our Word templates and opened it to find that you’ve got a screen that is filled with a Label Planet product code and nothing else.

Don’t Panic!

If this has happened to you, it’s a simple thing to fix! All you need to do is to turn on gridlines and you’ll be able to see the outlines of your labels, so you can start adding your design to your template.

Word templates are usually made by creating a table whereby the cells in the table represent the position of the labels on a sheet (along with any gaps between or around the labels); this means that you need to turn on TABLE GRIDLINES to be able to see the template layout (confusingly, Word also has PAGE GRIDLINES, which will add gridlines to the background of your template document but WON’T help you see the outline of the table). The way to do this will depend on the version of Word that you are using; simply locate your version of Word from the options below and follow the guidelines provided:

Word 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007

  1. Left click once somewhere inside the table you want to format (aiming for the centre of the page is a good bet!)
    This will cause new tabs to appear in the ribbon at the top of the page.
  1. Beneath “Table Tools”, click on the “Layout” tab, find the group called “Table” (usually on the left hand side), and click “View Gridlines”.

Word 2003

  1. Click on the “Table Menu” tab at the top of the page, and click “Show Gridlines”.

Word for Mac 2016

  1. Click once somewhere inside the table you want to format.
  2. Select the “Layout” tab (next to the “Table Design” tab), and click “View Gridlines”.

Word for Mac 2011

  1. Click once somewhere inside the table you want to format.
  2. Select the “Table Layout” tab, find the group called “Settings”, and click “Gridlines”.

Once you have enabled gridlines, you simply need to add your design to the spaces provided; remember that we strongly advise that you test print your template onto blank paper BEFORE you put your labels in your printer so that you can verify that the alignment is correct (and make any necessary adjustments if it isn’t).

NB: if you have downloaded a Word template from our website but find that you are unable to make any changes to your template at all, it is likely that your document has been temporarily locked; there should be a yellow banner across the top of the page, along with a button that says “Enable Editing” – simply click this button and the template will be unlocked so that you can start editing!

To download a template from our website, simply visit our Template Section; you can also find out if your Label Planet labels have a compatible Avery template code by visiting our Label Planet Products With Avery Codes page, or you can take a look through our Help Section and Blog posts to find more helpful tips and advice for designing and printing your own labels.

FAQ – What’s The Difference Between Laser Labels & Inkjet Labels?

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

If you’ve been looking through our website, you may have noticed that some of our labels are listed as being “Laser Labels” and some are listed as “Inkjet Labels” – meaning they can ONLY be printed with a laser printer OR with an inkjet printer.

This is because these labels are made with materials that have been chosen because they work more effectively with one of the printing methods – laser printing or inkjet printing. Laser printers and inkjet printers work in two very different ways and one way to improve the quality of print that they can achieve is to make sure that you use materials that are compatible with one of those printing methods.

Laser Printers – Heat & Pressure + Toner
Laser printers work by using heat and pressure to bond toner (a dry powder) onto the surface being printed. This means that the materials used to make laser labels will be chosen because they can withstand exposure to high temperatures (without being damaged or deformed by the printing process) and offer a smooth surface that the toner can bond with more efficiently. Paper laser labels will also have a higher moisture content to prevent the paper from drying out and cracking during the printing process.
Our label products designed specifically for use with LASER printers are: Freezer Paper, Gloss White Paper, Gloss Transparent Polyester, Removable Gloss Transparent Polyester, Matt Transparent Polyester, Gloss White Polyester, Matt White Polyester, Removable Matt White Polyester, Silver Polyester, Silver VOID Polyester, Tamper Evident Vinyl, Fluorescent Paper, and Gold & Silver Paper.

Inkjet Printer – Dispersal Of Ink
Inkjet printers deposit ink onto the surface being printed, where the ink dries in place with some or all of the ink being absorbed by the material being printed. This means that inkjet labels tend to be made with materials that have a porous surface, which will help to absorb the inks and allow them to dry in place more efficiently (creating a higher quality of print).
Our label products designed specifically for use with INKJET printers are: Gloss Clear Polyester.

We also have a range of label products that can be printed with EITHER a laser printer OR an inkjet printer:
Permanent Matt White Paper, Removable Matt White Paper, Super Removable Matt White Paper, High Tack Paper, Gloss White Photo Quality Paper, Premium Quality Paper, Opaque Paper, Matt White Polyethylene, Coloured Paper, Removable Coloured Paper, and Kraft Paper.

These days, both inkjet and laser printers are capable of producing high quality, high resolution print, which means there isn’t a great deal of difference between the two. Some prefer to use inkjet printers if they are producing high resolution prints of photographs or graphic designs, while laser printers will ALWAYS be the better option if you need to produce WATERPROOF print (inkjet inks tend to be water-based, which means they will run or smudge if they are exposed to water or handled a lot).

You should always make sure that you use a laser printer to print laser labels and an inkjet printer to print inkjet labels; if your labels are NOT compatible with your printer you will find that AT BEST your print will be of poor quality (and likely to smudge or flake away) while AT WORST you could actually damage both your labels AND your printer.

If you aren’t sure what sort of materials your printer can process, it’s always worth checking your printer’s manual because the manufacturer will have created a specification list that indicates the materials that your printer can (and cannot) process; you may also want to take advantage of our free sample request service so you can test your printer to see how well it handles different materials before you make an order.

All of our label products are listed along with their printer compatibility on our List Of All Label Materials page; click on the “View Products” links to find out more about each label range (including the sizes available) or to place an order. For more printing tips and advice, take a look through our Help Section and our Blog Posts.