Labels Missing or Shifted on Large Print Jobs – Printer Problem

Target Audience: Basic User, Advanced User, IT Manager
Article #: 13272

Summary

After running a long print job, the user finds that some labels are missing or shifted. Checking the print job confirms that the labels were included. The missing labels were simply skipped. This is a different issue than that caused by a gap error on the printer.

For their part, the shifted labels are not properly aligned on the label stock. These problems appear – individually or jointly – when the print job includes several dozen individual labels. However, this problem can also arise when it is multiple copies of a single label design. Regardless of whether the job is many different labels or a single, the common factor is when print quantities are around or over 50 labels. It is easiest to notice the missing labels when they serialized or numbered and there are gaps in the numbering.

Situation and Symptoms

  • Some labels are missing from the total number of labels printed.
  • Some other labels are printed off-center from the label stock.

Explanation

The issue appears to be that the large print file is interrupted as it is being sent from the print spooler to the printer. There are a few potential causes for this:

  • The size of the print file is larger than the printer’s memory can handle.
  • Network traffic interference.
  • Protocol issues between the printer and print spooler. This is typically an issue with Windows.

Solution

Regardless of which of the above issues may be the cause, the simplest solution to resolve the problem is to print fewer labels at one time. However, this is not always the convenient solution.

Fortunately, there are other methods that should resolve the issue.

Change the label fonts to internal printer fonts. The printer has fonts loaded into its internal memory. Using them reduces the amount of data in the print file. Installing the proper printer driver should add those internal fonts to the list of available fonts in your labeling software. Simply choose these fonts when building your label template.

Use the printer’s internal barcode font. Like the text fonts, the printer should have its own internal barcode fonts. Again, using your printer’s internal fonts reduces the size of the printer file because the font data is already in the printer.

Use the printer’s internal counter. Using the computer’s internal counter when printing multiple copies of a single label means that each copy is considered a unique label. And, of course, the number of these individual labels creates a large print spool file. This would be the equivalent of pressing Print on a label job 50 times, as opposed to setting the quantity dialog to 50 copies and pressing Print once. By using the printer’s internal counter, the printer is able to re-run the small, single print file as many times as requested.

By taking one or more these steps, you should be able to greatly reduce the print file size. This will make it more likely to transmit without interruption. In one test with over 500 labels, we were able to reduce the print file from 40MB to a mere 15kB.

To Check the File Size of Your Large Print Job:
  1. Open Printers & Scanners in Windows
  2. Locate your printer and click Open Print Queue.
  3. On the menu, click Printer.
  4. Select Pause Printing.
  1. Run the label print job.
  2. In File Explorer, navigate to C:\Windows\System32\Spool\Printers to see the file’s size.

Additional Comments

Issue found with: Windows 11 and Zebra ZT420 printer.

If you need further assistance, please contact us.

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