Keep your Christmas cheer intact with these top tips to avoid last minute template troubles.
We’ve spent years working with templates and helping customers deal with template-related crises, which is why we know only too well that when templates go wrong, they go wrong in the most nightmarish of ways – especially if you’ve got a lot of labels to print and only a short amount of time to get them printed. At this time of year, there are hundreds and thousands of people trying to get all kinds of Christmas projects done in time for the holidays, which means that it’s the least convenient (and therefore most likely) time for your template to go wrong.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a short list of our Top Tips for avoiding template troubles:
DESIGNING YOUR TEMPLATE
- Plan ahead and take your time – rushing things will get you nowhere.
- Design the top left label first. Once you’re happy with your design, use copy and paste to recreate it in the other labels – this will mean they’re all exactly the same and you won’t have to spend time setting each one up individually.
- Keep an eye on the measurements/dimensions of your template AND the content you are adding; some software will “helpfully” adjust your template and/or your content to make it all fit – usually destroying the alignment of your template in the process.
- When designing round or oval labels AVOID adding a border (which emphasises any misalignment issues) and consider oversizing your design if you need to add a coloured background (to avoid white edging around your labels).
[Please note: while PDF templates will show you the round or oval shape of your labels, Word templates are not sophisticated enough to do this and so the labels will be represented by a square or rectangle whereby the outermost points of the label touch the edges of the square or rectangle.]
- Keep things simple. Adding too many elements to your labels will both make your template even more difficult to get right and might make your labels look messy and cluttered.
- If you want to add multiple elements to your design (coloured background, text, and/or images), think carefully about how you can layer those different elements and try to work from the “back” layer to the “front”.
- Use Word’s Mail Merge tool to create a set of labels printed with information from a database (e.g. addresses or product details); we suggest using Word’s “Step By Step Mail Merge Wizard” to guide you through the process.
- If an object that you’ve added to your template (e.g. an image, shape, or text box) just isn’t working properly, take a look through the format settings that have been applied to that object and see if there is an alternative that will give you greater control over the look and/or positioning of that object.
- If you’re using a Word template, remember that Word is a Word Processor and will therefore prioritise TEXT over everything else – if you’re adding images or other objects, keep an eye on the format settings to make sure that you have better control over where your objects sit within your template.
PRINTING YOUR TEMPLATE
- ALWAYS do a test print onto paper first.
- Make sure that your printer is set to a Page/Media Size/Layout of A4 and that no scaling options have been applied.
- If you’re printing from a PDF, print directly from the PDF itself (rather than through your editing software).
- Use the media bypass tray (if your printer has one).
- Use a specific “Labels” or “Heavy Paper” setting to get the best possible print.
If things go wrong: DON’T PANIC and DON’T ASSUME THAT FIXING THINGS IS IMPOSSIBLE, THE SKY IS FALLING, AND THE WORLD IS ABOUT TO END.
All software and hardware varies slightly and the most common cause for template troubles is a default setting that’s doing something to your template that is not as helpful as your software/hardware thinks it is. In most cases, it’s likely that all you need to do is make some small adjustments to get things sorted; a few changes to default settings, formats and sizes, or those pesky page margins can make a BIG difference.
And, of course, remember to BREATHE!!! – it’s only a template after all! If you need one-to-one advice for the specific troubles your template is causing you, you can always get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to sort things out!