Printing Envelopes and Labels (with Labels & Addresses)

Here we collected some useful tips that will help you achieve better results when printing envelopes and labels. Mostly, these tips are specific to Labels & Addresses, and only cover the printing aspect of the program.

For other questions regarding working with Labels & Addresses (design, address management, etc.) refer to Online Help.

Have your labels lined up properly

When you print out your labels, the labels may not line up correctly on the paper stock. There are several reasons for this — thick or glossy paper stock which causes the printer not to pull it through perfectly, or specifics of particular printer's mechanism. Printer calibration can solve most of the alignment issues. To calibrate your printer, choose the Calibrate Printer... command from File menu in Labels & Addresses, and follow instructions in the Printer Calibration dialog. After calibration, print one label first. If it looks all right, print the rest of the sheet (choose "Start from label 2" in the Print dialog).

Tip: When designing your labels, if possible, don't position text and graphics too close to the edges of the labels.

Printing on partially used sheets

Labels & Addresses lets you specify the position on the page to start printing labels from. This means you don't need to waste a whole sheet of label paper if you need to print just one label. You can specify the start position and the number of labels to print in Labels & Addresses Print dialog (menu File->Print...).
However, keep in mind that laser printers can jam a sheet of paper if some of the labels have been peeled off. Also, the paper usually gets dirtier each time you run the same sheet through the printer. Therefore, it's better to use an inkjet printer for this purpose.

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Labels & Addresses
Design and Print Labels and Envelopes
Mac tool that helps with mass mailings by printing addresses on envelopes and labels for personal and commercial use.
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Use paper stock compatible with your printer

Not all paper is compatible with both inkjet and laser printers. Certain types of paper — for instance, some coated paper — don't work with inkjet printers, ink gets blurred on such paper. Glossy paper is often not compatible with laser printers, because they have a heating element that makes that paper warp from heat. The manufacturers normally indicate on the packaging which printer types the paper is compatible with.

Use big labels where possible

Post offices nowadays use optical character recognition equipment that can sort mail much faster than a human. However, recognition may fail if a too small font size is used. Therefore, avoid printing delivery addresses on small labels or with small type (under 8 points). Besides, don't use non-standard, decorative fonts. United States Postal Service recommends using Arial or Geneva fonts with the font size between 11–14 points. This should be true for other countries' postal services too. For return addresses, there are no strict rules.

Avoid background filling and background images under recipient's address.

Background filling and images can cause trouble while automatic address recognition. Therefore avoid placing images under text fields and address panels. If you use background color filling make sure that text is in contrast with it.

Handling labels

Did you know that Labels & Addresses comes with over 100 pictures for handling labels (such as "Fragile", "Do Not Bend", "Handle With Care", etc.)? You may print them on label paper of the needed size and use with your packages. You can find the handling label images in the Design window. Click on the Handling tab and use the pulldown menu to select the category.

Printing multiple addresses

Labels & Addresses allows you to specify a list of addresses to batch-print on your label or envelope design. There are some things your should keep in mind when printing addresses from a list:

  1. Addresses may be of different length and have a different number of lines. To ensure that all of the addresses fit, position the address block at some distance from the edges of your label or envelope.
  2. When printing, Labels & Addresses automatically downsizes the font in the address panel if it doesn't fit on the label or envelope.
  3. By default, Labels & Addresses formats addresses with respect to the country — for instance, if the country in the address is France, it will be formatted according to the French addressing standards. This feature can be turned off in the Preferences.
  4. If a field in the address is empty, it won't be printed, and the address will be reformatted to close the gap.

Print List is the source of addresses for merge printing. Before you start printing multiple addresses, you should create one or more print lists. You can do it beforehand using access to the Print List database via Contacts window (Print List tab) or just before printing from Print window (Edit List option in drop-list). When your print list is ready select it in drop-list of Print dialog.

Envelope printing

Printing envelopes has its own specifics. That mostly concerns envelope orientation and feeding, which may differ from printer to printer.

Don't forget about the printer margins

Some printers are unable to print on areas close to the edges of the paper sheet or envelope. For instance, many HP printers cannot print on the last 3/4's of an inch and that often cuts the return address. To resolve this problem, you can either move the address block further from the edge, or use the rotate buttons in the Print dialog — the mailing address and barcode are normally not so close to the edge, so if the envelope is rotated around it can solve the problem.

Automatic and manual settings

Almost all printers have built-in support for most popular envelope sizes. Some even have special envelope trays for feeding envelopes. Labels & Addresses allows you to choose between automatic and manual modes of printing envelopes. By default, it works in the manual mode — that is, you can control how to feed and position the envelope. If your printer has an envelope tray and you want to feed envelopes from it, using the automated settings — enable the "Load from envelope tray" option in the Print dialog.

Window envelopes

Some envelopes may have a clear window. In this case, there's no delivery address on the envelopes, only the return address. Labels & Addresses supports window envelopes. The window position is preset for some of the envelopes, and you can always customize it. Labels & Addresses doesn't print over the window area, so it's convenient to use the window together with backgrounds — the printer won't print over the window.

Note: Avoid printing window envelopes on a laser printer, because they go through a heating element that can melt the window pellicle and damage the printer.

Last reviewed: February 2009