Currently tracking 1,100,000 samples

Printing Label PDFs

Getting your labels to line up can be difficult. This is how to do it.


Sparkle can print labels for all your samples. Each label has a barcode which makes checking in and checking out much faster. Whether or not you use the barcodes, you'll still want to print the labels and stick them to your samples.

To print a collection's labels, go to the collection's Manage Samples page and click the Print Labels link in the top right corner.

Print labels menu

When you do that, Sparkle generates a PDF so all the labels will line up correctly.

However when you actually print that PDF, you might find the ink doesn't fit properly on your labels.

Why don't the labels line up?

The problem is that some printers cannot print over the full extent of the paper: they cannot print all the way out to the edges. So they always scale down what they are printing, to ensure it fits within the area they can print.

Sparkle's label PDFs are full-size -- it's the best (and only) way to ensure the labels line up. So if the printer scales them down, it will ruin the alignment.

If you have a photo printer, sometimes known as a "borderless" or "full bleed" printer, it should be able to print over all the paper. But most office printers can't do this.

How can I get my labels to line up?

There are two steps:

  1. Force your printer to use the full extent of the paper.
  2. Print the PDF at 100%, with no scaling.

Step 1 depends on your printer. If you are lucky enough to have a photo printer, just choose a borderless paper size. My printer is not a photo printer so I had to define a custom paper size with no non-printable area.

On the print dialog, I first looked to see whether I had a borderless A4 paper size option; I didn't.

Printer dialog

So I defined a custom paper size, with no non-printable area, like this:

Custom paper size

Then in the print dialog I set the paper size to my new custom size.

For step 2 you need to set the scale to 100% / no page scaling. Or of our customers reported success with the scale at 99%. You might have to experiment a little.

And that all should work. If you still have trouble, let me know and we'll find a solution one way or another.

What if the label size I want isn't in Sparkle?

Email me and I'll add it for you.

There are gazillions of different labels out there so instead of spending weeks setting them all up in Sparkle when most of them wouldn't be used, I set them up as and when people ask for them.

Next article →

Export to Excel

← Previous article

German Press Days SS12

All articles

See all articles