Printer Periodically Creates a Blank Label – Thermal Printer Problem

Target Audience: Basic User
Article #: 10148


Frequently, we see a problem where a label printer, during a print job, forwards past a label leaving it blank. This problem occurs among all major thermal printer manufacturers and can be fixed by most commonly used software applications.

Situation and symptoms

  • A blank label emerges periodically
  • No labels missing from the print job
  • The printer skips a blank label typically at a regular interval (every other label, every two labels, every three labels, etc.)
  • Other elements of label quality seem unaffected


There can be several causes to a blank label appearing in a print job. The most common problem we see arises from not using the label alignment features built into the printer. These alignment features typically use a sensor built into the printer that will tell the printer where one label begins and one ends.

The three most popular alignment features (images adapted from the EIM website, see link below):

  • Label Gap – sensor looks for gaps between labelsThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Labels-Gaps.png
  • Black Mark – sensor looks for a small black mark on the back of the label waxy substrate on one side of the label roll between each labelThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Labels-Black-mark.png
  • Notch – sensor looks for a small notch on one side of the label waxy substrate  of the label roll between each labelThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Labels-Notch.png

EIM provide a good summary of the differences:

Without using that feature, the printer does not know exactly where the label stock ends relative to the label image printed. Thus it will often print several labels, one after another without checking. At some point (perhaps a default number of inches stored in the printer or a ‘page size’ set by the software) it will forward to the next label using a sensor. It is that forward to the next label where the user sees a ‘skipped’ label.


In some cases, the sensor in the printer failed and needs repair or replacement. However, in most cases, the printer driver simply requires the ‘Gap Sensor’ or ‘Mark Sensor’ to be set and saved.

Label Stock settings in an Intermec PM43 print driver

This feature is available for most thermal printers and can be found in the ‘Printing Preferences’ or ‘Printer Settings’ of the driver.

Additional comments

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