Printing Labels From a Drop File that Contains Both Common Values and Unique Values With Data Presented in an Array – SENTINEL Problem

Target Audience: Advanced User
Article #: 9882


Some drop files present the label data in a simple way. Others present it in a more complex manner. For drop files that trigger label jobs with both common and unique values, the SENTINEL administrator must create a Map file that can correctly interpret the different types of data. If segregated in the drop file (i.e. the unique values stored in an array), the SENTINEL Map file requires a unique setup.

Situation and Symptoms

  • Drop file using XML format
  • The drop file contains label data common to all labels in the print jobs (e.g. product number, product description, ingredients, etc.)
  • In addition to the common label data, the drop file includes unique values that must be allocated to each label (e.g. non-sequential serial number)
  • The unique values are stored in a an array format (i.e. all grouped together…SN#1, SN#2, SN#3, etc.)
Sample Drop File with Common and Unique Values (Array Format)


Typically the drop files that trigger a SENTINEL organize the label data in a linear form. You first see the data for label #1, then the data for label #2, then label #3, and so on until the last label.

Sometimes, the data is presented as one label that needs to be replicated with the same data. For example, label #1 printed 100 times. If using a sequential serial number, you can even send the ‘one label data’ with instructions to the printer to create a serial number and increment it as it repeats that label over and over.

Sometimes the user needs to take label data with some common values that SENTINEL must print on all labels and some unique values that SENTINEL must allocate to individual labels. In this case, the drop file usually holds those unique values in an array format. For example, “SN#12345, SN#5431, SN#5555, SN#4444, SN#3333”. Thus the SENTINEL Map must tell SENTINEL to print the label #1 with common values plus SN#12345. Next, label #2, with common values plus SN#54321. Continuing until it finishes creating a label for each number in the array.


The SENTINEL administrator, when creating the MAP file, must use the Break option in a SENTINEL Block. When configuring the Bock definition, they will need to use the XML Path to identify the XML tags that represent the unique values.

SENTINEL Block definition screen using XML Path

Only after configuring the Break to point to the unique values, should the SENTINEL administrator attempt to configure the rest of the MAP. Setting the Break value establishes the ‘starting position’ for the SENTINEL Map. After this, all the other values set in the MAP must use a relative path to correctly identify the XML tags.

Additional Comments

Issue Found: SENTINEL v2018

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