30 Replies Latest reply on Jun 23, 2016 5:40 AM by tdcarp

    Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form

    tdcarp

      Have some handouts intended for business card prints.  Started with Word, but couldn't get the print to match the form.  Turned to ID, manually creating the layout with a layer of positioned rectangles use to snap placing the content.

       

      I ran into two issues: print sent from within ID never got to the printer (no error message or other indicator), and print from an exported file (i.e. .tif and .pdf) didn't align to the form.

       

      Since neither Word or ID exports aligned, I went through a very detailed check on positioning of print areas, and made sure all the choices in the process from design to print were appropriate.  For example, print drivers can offer options like "fit to page" or "use actual size" could make a difference.

       

      I use AI for the individual business card content.  There I became aware of the need to save the entire canvas for my data, not just the content.

       

      Any other thoughts about where in the process from an IA canvas, saved as a .tif, placed in ID (inside positioned rectangles), exported to PDF, and printed causes the print to not match the form?

       

      Also, any thoughts on why sending to print from ID doesn't seem to actually print anything?

        • 1. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
          BarbBinder Adobe Community Professional

          I print to Avery labels regularly and go through this process as I set up the template:

          • I wouldn't be able to use Word to set up the cards either—I don't have the skills. I would turn to either InDesign or Illustrator (no need to include both—pick one).
          • Get out a ruler and measure the size and position of the first card.
          • Test print on paper, hold to light with label and confirm that is it right before duplicating across and down.
          • Adjust as necessary
          • Test print on paper, hold to light with label, and hold up to a window to check alignment.
          • Adjust again, if necessary.

           

          My approach is manual, but it accounts for the paper position in the printer and it does work.

           

          I can't speak to why you can't print directly from InDesign, other than to wonder if the document required more memory to print than the printer has available. Using font subsets in the Print dialog can help. When you save as a pdf, and print through Reader or Acrobat, remember that both default to Fit and you do need to choose Actual Size, as you mentioned.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
            tdcarp Level 1

            Thank you very much!  I like your manual approach because it doesn't require the knowledge to figure out things like scaling or whether a Word template has a header or footer.

             

            I do have to continue to look for an answer I can pass along to others.  The intent is to create the form layout and content, convert it to a pdf, and pass it on to others.  In other words, I'm creating something others can use to print.

            • 3. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

              In addition to Barb's advice, don't presume that if the test page matches that the subsequent pages will. Desktop printers have a large tolerance for paper position due to the paper feed technique, and you can expect drift of up to +/- 1/8" (3mm) on any axis over a print run, and it may make a difference what type of stock you use, and the tray you choose, and it's like to be worse if the printer has some age.

               

              Design your cards so that the shift will not be a problem.

              • 4. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                tdcarp Level 1

                Thanks Peter,

                 

                These comments have made me add physical printer tests to the instructions (when I publish the document with full-form layout).  Although more expensive, it might be a good idea to make the individual card content available and let others place it in professional printing forms (e.g. Staples, Office Depot, Costco).

                 

                My AI design for individual cards is laid out with a 1/8" buffer beyond the card cut lines.  In other words, it's 3.75" x 2.25".  Along with a little "slop" to account for the physical printer, it allows for bleed if I ever need it.  I also use guides that are 1/8" inside the cut size to limit main content.

                 

                What I'm experiencing is both misalignment to the form cut points, but an increase in that misalignment from top card to bottom card.  This is why I've spent so much time making sure the frames are positioned exactly where they ought to be.  The method I ended up using eliminates a lot of the math.  Once I have the frames sized, all alignment uses the center point of the frame.

                • 5. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                  tdcarp wrote:

                   

                  Thanks Peter,

                  ...

                  What I'm experiencing is both misalignment to the form cut points, but an increase in that misalignment from top card to bottom card. This is why I've spent so much time making sure the frames are positioned exactly where they ought to be. The method I ended up using eliminates a lot of the math. Once I have the frames sized, all alignment uses the center point of the frame.

                  This is exactly the drift I'm talking about, and it the run is long enough, you'll probably see it drift back. It's the nature of roller-fed printers (and commercial copiers like those used at Staples or Costco. Allowing more empty area around the important info on the cards will help disguise the shift. I occasionally print business cards here to save some money (on a Xerox Phaser 7800, which is fairly consistent on card stock, but still drifts a bit), and I like to leave a quarter-inch margin on the card layout. I use a guillotine cutter rather than Avery cards, but the principle is the same.

                  • 6. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                    tdcarp Level 1

                    Your comments on using card stock vs. forms is interesting.  I have a roller cutter, so might just try that.  Sure would eliminate all the positioning.

                     

                    Now that I think about it, it's probably much wiser to let people have something they can print on any paper they like, then allow them to figure out how to cut.  I'll adjust the approach.

                     

                    I must admit, I'm still set on figuring out whether everything I'm seeing is caused by my printer rollers.  The next test I'm going to run includes changes that came about from web searches I did.  Although rollers were part of those ideas, getting zooming and other settings right in the overall process was mentioned.  Because of the drift, it's also possible I have the frame locations wrong.  I may use Barb's approach and force the positioning rather than use calculations.  If things don't improve, the printer becomes the suspect.

                     

                    BTW, I use a Lexmark C543 PS laser at home.  It's a few years old.

                    • 7. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                      It really shouldn't matter if your template is supposed to match the Avery perfed cards or not if you want to print on plain card stock. Just add some cut marks on the edges, outside the live card area and shift allowance.

                       

                      I print non-bleed cards 10-up, 8-up with a gutter for bleed, which leaves just enough room for marks with a 1/8 offset to show a little bit before the non-imaging area wipes them out on the page edge.

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                        Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                        I would always export to PDF and print from there. Check, if in your print dialog is no fit to printing area, have a look, if you see any other scale factor than 100% in the printing dialog AND in the printer properties dialog.

                        When you export, take care that you don't add bleed.

                        When you print, take care that the page is centered.

                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                          tdcarp Level 1

                          Peter

                           

                          Perfect, thanks.  I'd like people to have the capability of printing on both sides of the "cards" so I'll need a symmetric, reversible design.  I'm using Avery form 5881 print-to-edge 8-up business cards as the layout.  It's 3/4" top and bottom, with 1/2" between cards, and 1/2" left and right, with 1/2" between cards.  It should work, giving me bleed-space to deal with printer drift.

                           

                          The latest print test I ran uses Word>Mailings>Avery 5881.  It's very close.  I'll comment in a reply to another post.

                          • 10. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                            tdcarp Level 1

                            Willi, thanks

                             

                            I actually got a good print test this morning using Word laid out for Avery 5881 forms.  Everything I've been working on lately is exactly what you've suggested.

                             

                            Would you expand on why going to PDF first?  I plan on producing PDFs for distribution, but is there something about that conversion that's important to layout?

                             

                            I've had situations where exported PDFs are not aligned to the same data directly from Word.  We were working with a somewhat complex document in the sense it had connected text boxes.  We printed both directly from Word and from the PDF but things laid out differently.

                             

                            Just curious.

                            • 11. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                              Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                              Printing is NOT InDesign's strength. You will always get better results from printing out of Acrobat.

                              1 person found this helpful
                              • 12. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                tdcarp Level 1

                                Interesting.  I had some issues when I printed directly from ID, but I also had some situations where the pdf didn't exactly maintain positioning.

                                 

                                All the learning I've had on things like zoom and other things that can effect the printed page, I'll try again to export to a pdf.

                                 

                                It's a better way to give the forms to others to use, since many probably don't have access to ID or AI.

                                • 13. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                  Migintosh Level 4

                                  There is a setting in Acrobat (and probably most PDF printing apps) to scale the document to the page size of the paper in the printer. Even if your PDF is 8.5x11 and you are printing to 8.5x11, this setting will scale the output. This is usually the default, so if you plan to distribute PDFs to other people to print, or if you want to go to a Kinkos-style print provider, make sure you or they don't scale when printing.

                                   

                                  ss1.png

                                  ss2.png

                                  1 person found this helpful
                                  • 14. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                    tdcarp Level 1

                                    I've learned about the zoom issue, so appreciate the advice.

                                     

                                    For my project, I think the best approach is to produce a PDF of the 8-up form and suggest people either print at home or take it to a print shop if they want specific paper (e.g. card stock).

                                     

                                    For the project, I've abandoned the objective to fit to a perforated form (e.g. Avery 5881), although I do admit I'm still working to figure all that out just to understand.

                                     

                                    I still have to retrofit into ID.  I've been working in Word simply because it has a way to create the specific form layout (i.e. via Mailings>).

                                     

                                    Getting the ID layout "right" is all that's left.

                                     

                                    I'm assuming placing the AI image inside the frames means that any changes to the AI image will automatically be used in the ID form.  From there, I assume its just to PDF.

                                    • 15. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                      Migintosh Level 4

                                      I've only done the Avery 30-up mailing labels, but what I found was that if I create an empty frame with a half-point stroke and distribute 30 of them across the page, I can print that onto plain paper, and then (as Barb has advised) hold the printed sheet against the Avery sheet. If it doesn't line up, I adjust the ID file and try again. Once I have it in the ballpark, I print to an actual Avery sheet. There is some amount of bumping the whole page down or over a few nudges at a time to get it right, but if you build in enough white space around the edges, it won't look too bad if you get a little drift.

                                      1 person found this helpful
                                      • 16. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                        tdcarp Level 1

                                        Thanks

                                         

                                        This approach sounds good.  I admit I'm still in a bit of shock that this can't be done by using math to determine frame placement.  It will be a big ah-ha if my experience is explained by drift.

                                        • 17. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                          tdcarp Level 1

                                          Turns out the physical Avery form I'm using has different left/right widths.  Instead of perforations at 1/2", 3.5", 1/2", 3.5", and 1/2" (i.e. 8.5"), the outside left and right perforations are 7/16" and 9/16".

                                           

                                          Just fyi

                                          • 18. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                            Cutter drift at the manufacturer. And there's probably an even-money chance all the sheets are not the same.

                                            1 person found this helpful
                                            • 19. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                              joet082964 Level 3

                                              I apologize if I have missed a comment addressing this, but did you try using the Avery INDD template?

                                               

                                              • 20. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                                Migintosh Level 4

                                                tdcarp wrote:

                                                 

                                                I admit I'm still in a bit of shock that this can't be done by using math to determine frame placement.

                                                That's not really what I was saying. I start by measuring the sticker sheet and place my frames according to math, but when I check the first sheet through the printer, I usually have to nudge everything together over or up/down to get it in the ballpark. That mostly has to do with how the rollers pull the sheet through the printer, and there will be some difference from sheet-to-sheet, but usually not a great difference.

                                                1 person found this helpful
                                                • 21. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                                  tdcarp Level 1

                                                  This has been quite an education.  Drrift and differences in perforation for purchased forms makes the idea of ever being able to use purchased forms too risky.

                                                  • 22. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                                    tdcarp Level 1

                                                    This still means that the idea of using Word or ID templates somewhat meaningless.

                                                    • 23. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                                      tdcarp Level 1

                                                      No, you didn't miss anything.  I ended up working in Word when I couldn't get ID to align.  My intent is to go back to ID once I get through the learning.

                                                       

                                                      What I'm wrestling with is how imperfect the templates are, whether Word or ID.

                                                       

                                                      I trust the advice given on drift and the approach that Barb, et. al. recommended (i.e. print and align).  I'm just a bit surprised at how unreliable the templates are, even given drift.

                                                      • 24. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                                        Migintosh Level 4

                                                        tdcarp wrote:

                                                         

                                                        This still means that the idea of using Word or ID templates somewhat meaningless.

                                                        The one I set up 5 years ago still works as well as it always did. As long as you allow for enough white space around the image to account for drift, you shouldn't have a problem. I'm not sure you are imagining the amount of drift that is common to expect from a printer. We aren't talking about 1/4" swings from one sheet to the next. But if you design right up to the edge, you may see part of a letter cut off.

                                                        1 person found this helpful
                                                        • 25. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                                          tdcarp Level 1

                                                          You're right, I was imagining way too much drift.

                                                           

                                                          This is a learning for me (and maybe others), so all the advice has been great.

                                                           

                                                          I've designed the frame contents to have 1/8" padding on each side inside the 2 x 3 1/2" cut line.  Where I'm headed is to add another 1/8" beyond the cut line on each side to handle bleed, if I ever need it.

                                                           

                                                          For now, the background is white and the safe print dimension should handle some slight drift.

                                                           

                                                          But I'm seeing drift by as much as 1/8", and its consistent from page to page.  This means it still may be my way of understanding positioning, now in Word, but eventually in ID.

                                                           

                                                          The last test I did printed on both sides of the page.  The business card sized objects have different information on both sides.  I combined the two pdf files into one, and just set the printer to print both sides.  I have cut marks now on all my pages and they are off vertically by 1/8".  Horizontal is close enough.

                                                           

                                                          I am going to try the ID Avery template to see what positioning it does.

                                                          • 26. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                                            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                            Typical printer tolerance specification for the roller-feed types of printers is +/- 1/16 inch, which allows an overall 1/8 of drift from one extreme to the other before the print is considered out of spec. Couple this with your 1/16 cutter drift on the Avery product, and you should be able to see that you have the potential for as much as a 3/16" misalignment on some sheets (and if you rotate the Avery stock 180 it will change the misalignment).

                                                             

                                                            I'm pretty sure the Avery templates will be based on an assumed correctly cut form and will be symmetrical.

                                                             

                                                            I've made some printer alignment text sheets that I use on occasion. They arfe set up for the various paper sizes and have dead-center horizontal and vertical lines, and rectangles around the edges spaced at about 3 point intervals. They let me print the sheet and see at a glance if the page is skewed by the printer and how much drift there is.

                                                            1 person found this helpful
                                                            • 27. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                                              tdcarp Level 1

                                                              Printer test documents are a good idea.  I'm curious how much my printer is contributing, so I'll do the same.

                                                               

                                                              I'm now working in ID, following the approach to just get frames, cut lines, etc. positioned where they should be mathematically, and then fine tune via print tests.

                                                              • 28. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                                                tdcarp Level 1

                                                                Peter, my most recent attempts are, again, frustrating.  If you don't mind, see if there's a flaw in my process.

                                                                 

                                                                Decided to go to ID (vs. Word).  I've abandoned the objective of getting things aligned to Avery perforated forms.  Instead, it will work if I can create a 8-up document with cut lines so folk can print their own and then crop to business card sized.

                                                                 

                                                                I made this symmetrical, so I could print on both sides if needed.  I started by creating guides snapped to the cut ruler points.  I put cut marks aligned to the guides.

                                                                 

                                                                The horizontal layout is 1/2", 3 1/2", 1/2", 3 1/2", and 1/2" (8 1/2").  The vertical is 3/4", 2", 1/2", 2", 1/2", 2", 1/2", 2", 3/4" (11").  All in all, 8-up with 1/2" on all sides between content frames.

                                                                 

                                                                Horizontally, the cut guides are at: 1/2", +3 1/2", +1/2", +3 1/2" (with 1/2" to the page edge).  Horizontally, the cut guides are at: 3/4", +2", +1/2", +2", +1/2", +2", +1/2", +2" (with 3/4" to the page edge).

                                                                 

                                                                I used the same template to produce three versions with three different content.  One of those version will not (initially) have a back side print.  The other two would be best if they were printed back-to-back.

                                                                 

                                                                I convert all the layouts to PDFs and then, for the back to back, combine the PDFs into one.

                                                                 

                                                                The back to back print test shows a shift of about 1/8" in one direction and about 1/32" in another.

                                                                 

                                                                Unless there's printer drift, and I'm not convinced mine is that far off, the only explanation is that the cut marks are in the wrong place.

                                                                 

                                                                I've learned here about zoom and fit to page issues, but I think all those have been eliminated.

                                                                 

                                                                Do you see something I'm missing?

                                                                • 29. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                                                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                                  Your workflow seems fine to me. I think the entire problem comes down to printer drift. It's not at all unusual to see that kind of extreme shift with two-sided printing -- a small amount of drift can be doubled with the page flip, or the automatic duplex can introduce a second shift. Roller-fed printers simply are not the precision machines that we might like to think they are. For perfect page to page and side to side alignment you need a gripper-feed device like a printing press or some very high-end digital copiers with registration tables.

                                                                   

                                                                  When designing two-sided cards for digital printing I ALWAYS increase the margin allowance on the back side to allow for and help disguise the drift.

                                                                   

                                                                  Try printing first on one side, then flip the paper and reinsert into the tray and print the other side. It might be better, it might not

                                                                  1 person found this helpful
                                                                  • 30. Re: Trouble doing ID layout that matches Avery form
                                                                    tdcarp Level 1

                                                                    Thanks for the workflow feedback.

                                                                     

                                                                    I need to print today for a meeting tonight, so unless there's a breakthrough this morning, I'll just give people the 8-up pages and let them decide whether to print back to back.  In spite of the drift, the full page documents look good, and the cut marks, padding, and bleed areas seem right.

                                                                     

                                                                    I will test doing a manual page flip just to see if the duplex is making things worse.  If I simply overlay the three different 8-up content pages and hold them up to the light, the cut marks all line up.  This would support your thinking that the drift is from the printer, caused by duplex.

                                                                     

                                                                    However, if I reverse one of the pages, the cut marks don't line up.  Although I'm confident the cut mark guides are positioned properly, I'll check once again to be sure.

                                                                     

                                                                    I'm now curious about my home laser printer drift, and will put together a test page to see what happens.