5 Replies Latest reply on Jan 13, 2010 7:11 PM by JackBoyd

    Making Labels


      I am using Illustrator CS2 and making labels for my business. I am using XP on Windows and it has worked well for a long time. However, I have a question and hate to admit that I don't know the answer to something basic like this but I am stumped.


      I first make up one of the labels. They are standard Avery 5160 size, 1" x 2 5/8" white address labels. I put an image on them and put the text and save them. Then I start up my template for the sheet of labels. I open the individual label and place it on the template. I highlight the top of the left hand label column and the individual label and align them. The label shoots to the top of the sheet.


      Then I highlight the label again and copy it and line up the copy of the label with the last template label in that row. Now I have a copy of the final label on top and bottom. I then copy one of the final labels 8 times roughly in a line, highlight the top aligned label and the rest of them. I align the labels to the left, then align them in terms of middle to middle and I have the first row of labels. I highlight all of the labels and group them.


      Then I copy the highlighted row and paste it twice. I line up the rows with the template rows. The last step is to hide the template black outlines of the labels, save and print out.




      But here are my questions:


      1) There are times when I want to change something on the label. For instance, if there was an error or I have just moved and need a new address on the label. I can't figure out how I can bring up the individual label, change the information I have on that one and the saved sheet of labels has been changed, too. I have done it before but I don't know how I did it. There is some box I have checked or not or is there a trick to saving?


      2) It was be great if I could change all of the saved label sheets, but I doubt I can do that. There are over 300 and I have been doing them for over 3.5 years. But it's worth asking about.


      3) In InDesign there is a step-and-repeat function, is there something like that in Illustrator CS2 as well?


      4) Finally, I am having no luck with automating the above way of making up a sheet of labels from one label in Illustrator CS2. I have gotten pretty good at doing that in Photoshop but Illustrator doesn't want to respond. Am I asking it to do things which cannot be made into actions? It doesn't seem that way but I thought I would ask. Perhaps I have some corruption in the program and need to reinstall but...I don't know.


      Thanks for plowing through this long post full of questions. I appreciate any answers you can give me.

        • 1. Re: Making Labels
          Jesseham Level 4

          For changing existing labels: look at Edit -> find and replace... 


          Screen shot 2010-01-11 at 1.51.00 PM.jpg


          For creating new labels that might be easier for you: look at effect -> transform -> distort and transform.


          Create and place your top left label, Group it all together if you have more than one object or text object, then apply the effect to that group.  You'll have to apply the effect twice, once for horizontal and once for vertical.  Move X inches and make X copies.


          Once the effects are applied, they will be live and modifiable via the appearance panel. Open it up and with the group selected, you should see them in there.  Click (double-click in CS2?) on them there to get back into the transform dialog.


          This will allow you to make changes to your label once and have them apply to all the labels on the sheet.


          Holler back if you have questions - I've been gone a while and appear to have forgotten how to answer questions clearly. ;-)

          • 2. Re: Making Labels
            JETalmage Level 6

            An alternate method is to make multiple text fields dynamic, but bound to the same variable. (See Variables in online Help.)


            For example, this allows you to have differently-formatted text objects automatically contain the same text.

            It can also prevent your having to have 300 different label sheets as 300 separate documents. One document could contain 300 datasets as mere data (including references to the different imported images).


            Best way depends on the specific requirements of your project.



            • 3. Re: Making Labels
              Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

              Variables are a good way as you only need one for as many variations of the same label. if you say ii out s a variable library and open that in Illustrator you will be able to create new data set just be enter the text and you should be able to do so with the images as well l though placing it directly in the ai document is no big deal.


              But what you can do to make all the fields one data set is to either place them as symbols or better yet use an Effect.

              The effect I have in mind is Effect>Distort and Transform>Transform and do a horizontal transform and the do a vertical transform of the so that there really is only one object that is copied as a live effect and occupies all the labels so unless you only ant to change say one abel and make the others different then you change one label and they all change instantly if they are data sets then chnging the data set should also populate all the labels with the new text and picture.

              • 4. Re: Making Labels
                Fabe Level 1

                Thank you very much for your answers. I have a lot to practice now, never having used the tools you were talking about for

                making lables. First, the find and replace...that was a thought of simple genius. I should have thought of that and it does work very well, as long as the original label was not linked to the sheet of labels. That was indeed one of my problems. I had linked some and embedded others. From reading your replies and fiddling with the controls I now understand the difference.


                Second, I have tried the transform effect and transform and distort. With a small amount of practice that trick has saved me hours of patient unremunerated toil. Thank you!


                Now, I need to practice making up a template and changing out the elements and text in it. I am sure it's not rocket science but I am sure I will need to practice that as I have had to practice so many other things with Illustrator.


                I have used Illustrator for years and would never have guessed how to do the transform task, somehow the names of the events do not do them justice. Thank you so much for your helpful answers. I am going to practice now and if I have any other questions, I hope I can ask here. Again, thanks from a formerly frustrated user.

                • 5. Re: Making Labels

                  I don't mean to divert the thread but...

                  How do you get your 5160 label template to accurately line up with the physical label sheet. I've downloaded Avery's label template as well as templates from various label maker websites. They are always off by a certain degree. I find the print margins also interfere with printing accurately.