The majority of our customers are buying labels to print themselves using their own printer (or photocopier) at home or at work. DIY labels can be highly beneficial; you get to choose what gets printed onto your labels, how many labels get printed, and when your labels get printed – and you might even save some money along the way.
However, printing your own labels also means that you are responsible for setting up a template and a printer, and it is up to you to make sure that everything prints out properly (it’s also your toner/ink and time that you’ll waste if you get things wrong).
So, we’ve put together some top tips to help you make sure your DIY labels are perfectly printed (and not a DIY nightmare):
ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS DO A TEST PRINT FIRST
Test printing allows you to check that your template and printer are set up to produce the perfect print BEFORE you use any of your actual sheets of labels. There are multiple factors that can influence how well your labels print out and a test print can help to identify issues before you start printing.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR PRINTER’S SPECIFICATIONS
Labels are a completely different medium to paper and most printers offer features and settings that are designed specifically for use when printing onto labels. We recommend:
- Using the media bypass tray (where available)
This tray is designed specifically for materials that are thicker than standard paper and provides a straighter path through the printer, which reduces the chances of your sheet rotating as it is pulled through and around the rollers.
- Checking your printer’s manual for guidance/recommendations
Your manual will include important information about the specifications of your printer (including details about the materials that it can and – more importantly – cannot process, such as maximum weights/thicknesses) and may also offer guidance on achieving the best possible print on specific media, such as labels.
- Using the specialist facilities offered by your printer
Some printers offer specific categories of print settings that will automatically adjust all of your printer’s settings to suit a particular medium – such as labels. Laser printers, for example, often include a specific “Labels” setting that increases the heat applied during printing and slows your printer down to ensure that the toner bonds firmly in place on your labels.
And by “all”, we mean all.
You have to check the settings of ALL of the elements involved in printing your labels – your template, your software, and your hardware (printer). If there is an issue in any one of the settings in any one of these elements, you may find that your print simply isn’t right and your labels are ruined.
You should bear in mind that, because both hardware and software are involved in printing, it is possible for one of these elements to overrule the others, which is why it’s best to make sure that ALL of these elements are set up in the same way. Look out for:
- Page Size Settings
Make sure that your page size is set to A4 and that NO “scaling” settings have been applied. If your template, software, or printer is set to a page size other than A4 (e.g. if it defaults to “American Letter”) or has any scaling applied (e.g. “Fit To page” options), your printer will try to print your template onto a page size that is larger or smaller than A4 and will distort the alignment accordingly.
- Print Type Settings
Some software and hardware provides “print types” for you to choose from; selecting one of these types will automatically adjust your software or hardware settings to suit the characteristics of a particular medium, such as labels, to improve the quality of print that you can achieve.
- Material Weight Settings
Similar to “print types”, you may also be able to select a weight setting that will adjust the printing process to suit a particular weight/thickness of material, which is particularly useful when printing labels because they are constructed from multiple layers of materials and so are naturally heavier or thicker than other media (such as sheets of paper).
- Ignore Printer Settings
Last but not least, you should take into account the presence of any settings that could override the print settings you have chosen – settings such as “Use Driver Settings” or “Ignore Printer Settings” may cause your system to ignore the settings that you have so carefully chosen and use another (default) set in their place.
Visit our "HELP" pages for more tips and advice and/or to download a template to start designing your labels.