If you've been looking at designing and printing your own self adhesive labels, you've probably seen the word "compatible" being thrown around with alarming regularity - with regards to inkjet labels and laser labels, label templates, and software.
This week, we'll talk you through what "compatible" actually means (in the context of designing and printing label templates) and why it is so important to printing A4 labels.
Compatible - A DefinitionWhen two (different) items are compatible, they can be used together without the need to adapt or modify one or both of those items.
In the context of label templates and blank labels, in order to create a set of perfectly printed sticky labels you need to use a label template that is compatible with your label size, a label template that is compatible with your software, and printer labels that are compatible with your printer.
Compatible - Label Sizes & Label TemplatesTo print your required design onto your blank labels in the correct position, you need to use a label template that is compatible with your label size - that is, your label template needs to use the same label size AND layout as your sheet labels.
It is important to remember that, while some manufacturers and suppliers supply the SAME LABEL SIZES, they may use DIFFERENT LABEL LAYOUTS (so the same size of label is laid out differently on each A4 sheet - meaning that they may use different page margins and/or different gaps between the blank labels).
All of our label templates have been set up using measurements taken from the cutters used to make our self adhesive labels to ensure that the label size and layout in each template exactly matches those of the relevant sheet of blank labels. Where we list "compatible" Avery templates, we have checked the Avery measurements to ensure that they match the label size and layout of our adhesive label products.
Compatible - Label Templates & SoftwareIf you are using a standalone label template (i.e. an individual file or document that you open using a software application on your computer), you must make sure that the FILE FORMAT of your label template is compatible with your software - in other words, that your software can both READ and EDIT your label template.
"File format" simply refers to the way that information in a file is encoded; your software will be able to read and/or edit specific file formats - but not others. This is why it is important to make sure that the label template you download uses a file format that your software can both read* and write* - otherwise you will not be able to add your required design to your label template.
*READ: your software can open and display the contents of a file.
*EDIT: your software can open, display, and change the contents of a file.
See next week's Template Tuesday for a more detailed guide to file formats.
At Label Planet, we supply Word templates (with a .docx file format) and PDF templates (with a .pdf file format).
Compatible - Laser Labels & Laser Printers / Inkjet Labels & Inkjet PrintersFinally, you need to make sure that you are using printer labels that are compatible with your printer; this means that the materials used to make your sticky labels are suitable for the printing process used by your printer.
Laser printers use a dry printing process (applying heat and pressure) to bond a dry powder (toner) onto surfaces; this means that laser labels are made with materials that offer a smooth surface and resistance to (short term) exposure to high temperatures.
Inkjet printers, however, direct droplets of ink onto surfaces where they dry in place to form a final printed image; this means that inkjet labels are made with materials that are slightly porous in order to allow printing inks to dry more quickly and effectively in the correct position.
At Label Planet, we list the printer compatibility of all of our adhesive labels on range pages, product pages, and product packaging.
Next Week On Template Tuesday – How To? – How To Find Out If A Label Template Is Compatible With Your Software