Here is some key label printing tips come from the industry experience.
DO – Read the printer manufacturer’s manual, there may be specific settings or instructions which you need to follow for printing labels on your particular printer.
DO – Set the printer software to the “Labels” or “Heavy Paper”setting. The default setting for laser printers is for 80gsm paper, labels need a bit more energy to bond the toner. You will find the setting by clicking on “properties” on the screen that comes up just before you print. You will notice that the printer slows down and that the labels are hotter.
DO – Feed the labels into the media bypass slot (above the paper tray ) if you have one. Typically desktop printers have a positional accuracy of (plus or minus) 1mm to 2mm. Using the bypass slot eliminates at least one set of rollers and improves the accuracy by reducing page rotation.
DO – Keep unprinted labels in the wrapping. Laser labels have moisture in them to help the toner to bond, this will dry out if they are left open to the air. Without the moisture the toner rubs off.
DO – Patient. Even when you use the correct template, the print and the labels do not usually line up exactly when you first print them and fine adjustments are often needed. This is because every printer is slightly different, and reacts differently to the software in use.
DON’T – Feed labels through a laser printer twice. First time through the moisture content is reduced so on the second pass the toner will not bond properly. If you have an inkjet then print on the trailing labels first this helps to prevent labels separating on the second pass.
DON’T – Put laser labels through an inkjet printer. Metallic, fluorescent and some polyester labels have a finish that is for laser toner only, so the inkjet ink will not dry.
DON’T – Use an inkjet printer for labels that will be handled or come into contact with water. Inkjet ink is water based and so will come off if wet. Laser toner is waterproof.
DON’T – Expect your printer to perform outside of its duty cycle. If you are using a cheaper lower volume machine then you will not get the same results and reliability you will get from a better built printer. Printer duty cycles should be in the printer manual. Some cheaper printers have expensive consumables and so it can be false economy buying them.
Find out the Model Code on the package, and download the print template by search “Model Code” at the Search Field on the menu.
A4 Or US Letter Size?
ISO standard page size is A4 (210mm x 297mm), while the US standard page size is American Letter (8.5 inches x 11 inches or 215.9mm x 279.4mm), which means that the label sizes and layouts that can be created on these pages are different.
You can find the sheet size on the package, and make sure the printer options are set to the correct paper size!
Design Hints And Tips
Laser and inkjet printers have an accuracy of approximately plus or minus 1mm in the vertical and in the horizontal, and the paper can also rotate slightly as it goes through the printer. You need to take this into account when you design your labels. If possible, avoid designing labels with a border around them because any inaccuracy will be visible.
Laser and inkjet printers do not print right up to the edge of the A4 sheet, so if you have labels with no side border remember that you need to allow 3mm (depending on the printer) as a border.
For simple labels designs with text and graphics you can use the MS word print template.
We suggest working on the top left hand label only and then copying this as a cell into the rest of the template when you have got this label right. The finished document can be named and filed as any other word document.
For more complex labels (Barcode, QR code, Variable Data From Excel or Database) then a design software may be needed, there are simple label design software (search for “Label Design Software”) at relatively low cost. The professional full blown design tool cost considerably more and take several weeks to learn well. You can also contact Mr-Label for help.
First time print
First print onto plain white paper then hold up to the light against a sheet of labels to check that your design is roughly aligned. Adjust your printer and design if necessary.