When it comes to printing sheet labels, the last thing you want is for the design to be off.

This not only wastes time but also supplies you’ve spent money buying. 

Sometimes labels look good on your computer screen but the design prints wrong.

Alignment error can occur for a number of reasons.

If this is an issue you’re experiencing, don’t stress. This list of quick fix solutions will help you print labels correctly every time.   

We’re taking a look at:

  • Margin Cutoffs
  • Uniform Misalignment
  • Scaling

Margin Cutoffs

What happens with margin cutoffs?

This means the design of your label is getting cut off because it’s too close to the edge. 

Why did your labels print like this? 

Unfortunately, most printers have a fixed, maximum area they can reach when printing. Anything outside of this area is where the print head cannot reach, called “non-printable margins,” meaning the printer cannot print on every part of the sheet.

Your label design might be inside the non-printable margin.

Solution

First test your printer’s non-printable margins before beginning. The limit for most printers is 0.25”. 

Once you have this information, you can modify your label design to accommodate the space. This helps make non-printable margins less noticeable.

Consider adjusting your design by doing one of the following:

  1. Remove background colors – By removing any background colors, you eliminate the chance of any cutoffs when printing.
  2. Shrink your design – Create a blank border around each label by slightly shrinking your design. This gives some flexibility and makes labels look identical regardless of the printable area.

Uniform Misalignment

What is uniform misalignment?

This means labels are consistently off across the page in the same way. The entire print is shifting in the same direction, and the design is either too high or low, or too far left or right.

Why did your labels print like this?

A uniform misalignment issue likely results from your printer registration, not the label template. 

Your sheet labels are feeding into the printer in a way that’s impacting where the printhead begins. This can mean your labels are printing: 

  • Too fast or slow
  • Too high or low
  • Too far right or too far left

Solution

The easiest solution is to fix your margins.

Go to the “Page Setup” settings in your desired program and make adjustments accordingly. 

For programs like Microsoft Word, use a ruler to measure how far off your design is in each direction. Then add or subtract these measurements in the “Left” and “Top” boxes. 

You’ll want to add or subtract measurements depending on where your design sits. 

For Adobe programs, like Photoshop or Illustrator, you’ll use guides to make adjustments. 

After you’ve made the adjustments, try printing your labels again. This may be a trial and error process until you figure out the correct margins

Solution

If fixing your margins doesn’t work, you will need to make a Manual Image Adjustment.

For Adobe programs, manually adjust the image to account for any misalignment.

For Microsoft Word, go to “Insert” and add the image into the template. 

Once inserted, you will see that the image cannot be moved outside of the template’s parameters; trying to extend the image only keeps it within the grid lines. 

Go to “Picture Format” tab and click on “Wrap Text.”

Then click “Behind Text.” 

You will now be able to move the image outside of the template.

Manually adjust the image to account for any misalignment with your printer. 

You will need to do this with each individual image.

Scaling

What does scaling mean?

Scaling is similar to uniform misalignment. In this case, labels near the edge of the sheet begin to shift in different directions. 

For example, labels in the bottom right corner of the sheet will shift upwards and to the left.

Labels closer to the center of your sheet look correct.

Why did your labels print like this? 

Your browser or PDF program is the culprit here. When you go to print, it’s shrinking the label file to fit the printer’s margins.

Solution

You’ll want to fix the “Print Settings” in the program you are using.

Click the option that allows you to print at 100% scale or actual size.

If you are using a PDF program (Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign), review your settings so the program doesn’t make adjustments to your label template.

If this option isn’t available on your browser, you will need to download Adobe Acrobat to print.

In Need of Sheet Labels?

In need of sheet labels for your laser or inkjet printer?

We offer a wide variety of sheet labels in different sizes, materials, colors, shapes, adhesives, and more.

Visit Smithcorona.com or call us at 1-800-875-7000 to order your labels.