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Printer Alignment Guide

Updated 07/23/2020
Tips for dealing with printer/label alignment issues

Want the perfect print every time? This guide is designed to help you eliminate misaligned prints. Use the tools below to get better aligned labels without the headache.

Design with Printer Movement in Mind

Incorrect paper stacking before printing Stack your labels correctly before printing

The first thing to note about most home printers is that the sheets move during printing. These shifts inside the printer can cause your designs to print over the edge of your labels. To work around this issue, stack your sheets neatly and evenly in the printer tray. You should also try to keep text and images at least 3.175mm away from the edge of your label.

Give your Designs Bleed

Incorrect bleed on a label design Correct bleed on a label design

If you're a frequent labeler, chances are you've heard the term "bleed" tossed around. What exactly is it? Adding a bleed to your art means that you are adding a border to your design that extends over the edge of your label. This is another way to adjust for paper-shifting – with a bleed, you're less likely to be left with unprinted edges when/if the paper shifts. This is primarily important if you have a border, background colour, or image that goes to the edge of your label. If your label allows for it, add at least an extra 3.175mm beyond the border.

Account for Non-Printable Margins

Non-printable margins on a label design

Most common household printers cannot print all the way to the edge of a sheet. To find out what your non-printable margins are, use our non-printable margin tool. You'll be able to see your printer's non-printable margin and adjust your label design accordingly. While determining your printer's capabilities, you should also make sure you're printing at 100% zoom and that page scaling turned off (we go into more detail about this in the next section).

Set Up Proper Page Scaling

Some PDF viewers may scale your design to fit a normal piece of paper, not your label. To avoid this, find your program below and follow the specific instructions.

If you're using Maestro Label Designer, you can choose to download your design and open it in a PDF viewer or view it in your browser. We recommend hitting Download & Print, then using Adobe Reader to view it.

Adobe, Recommended

  1. Click File from the top menu. Choose Print.
  2. Adobe options menu
  3. Make sure Actual Size or Custom Scale: 100% is selected under Page Sizing & Handling. You may also see Auto-Rotate and Center. Make sure it is unchecked.
  4. Adobe print dialogue
  5. Your changes will be applied once you hit Print.


  1. Open the menu in the top right corner. Choose Options.
  2. Firefox options menu
  3. Open Applications.
  4. Applications menu in Firefox
  5. Select Portable Document Format (PDF).
  6. PDF options in Firefox
  7. In the drop-down, select the PDF viewer you wish to use.
  8. Choosing Adobe Reader as the default PDF viewer in Firefox
  9. Your changes will be made when you close the dialogue box.


  1. Click File, Print.
  2. Adjusting Margins on Mac, File Menu
  3. Set Scale to 100%.
  4. Adjusting Margins on Mac, Print Menu

Microsoft Word

  1. Select the Page Layout tab in the top menu.
  2. Adjusting Margins in Microsoft Word, Page Setup
  3. Click on the Margins box.
  4. Adjusting Margins in Microsoft Word, Margins Menu
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the list and choose Custom Margins.
  6. Adjusting Margins in Microsoft Word, Custom Margins Menu
  7. Change these settings based on what you need.
  8. Adjusting Margins in Microsoft Word, Custom Margins Dialog Box
  9. Click OK.

Every printer is different, even among the exact same model. If your problem persists, try using a different printer if you have access to one. Experimenting will help you get a feel for non-printable margins and paper-shifting. If you still need help getting your printer aligned, creating your label in Maestro Label Designer may help. Need additional help? Call customer service at 0203 051 9664.

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