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Trouble with a label layout, even using fixed page margins  FMP7

Question asked by JanWalker on Aug 31, 2009
Latest reply on Sep 1, 2009 by JanWalker


Trouble with a label layout, even using fixed page margins  FMP7 & FMP10


I am trying to make a set of labels with fixed content.  E.g. little id labels to go on the backs of cards.


This is endlessly frustrating because there are aspects of the layout arithmetic that are invisible and not reflected correctly in the Object Info or in the layout window.  So the job of designing something that fits is just eventually just random because you can change specs a teeny bit and get a huge change in the print copy or vice versa.  Also, it seems that the adjustment guessing game has to be played differently for the horizontal and vertical adjustments.


Here's the requirements.  I want three lines on each label; I plan to use 9 point Times New Roman and it will print easily in the amount of vertical space I have.  I will adjust the wording to make it fit horizontally. There are four columns of 20 labels on my sheets.  There is no space between the labels vertically.


I use Create New Layout and choose Labels as the type of layout.  My labels paper (Avery 8167) is not in the supported collection so I choose Custom.  It takes the dimensions for the distance from the left edge of one label to the left edge of the next, similarly for the top of one to the top of the next.  For these labels, it is something like 2.06 inches wide and 0.5 inches high.  (Actually, the printable width of each label is only 1.75 inches but I figured that wouldn't matter if the left edges were correctly spaced.)


I use "Fixed Printer Margins" because the printer drivers are a little different on my two (Mac) machines and it isn't clear how default printer margins would combine with the ones needed by the layout.  I am making the assumption that "fixed margins" are to be measured from the edges of the physical sheet of paper.  I'm pretty sure this is right.  The margins I spec are 0.5 inches top and bottom, 0.25 inches left and right.  These are as measured on the label sheets themselves.  


The layout creator prompts for which fields are going into the labels so I move in all three of my Line fields.  Then I insert plain ol' carriage returns between to make the fields print on 3 lines.


Then I make the 80 records, put the text into the lines, and print.


The labels do not fit on the page.  They creep both left and down.  I have tinkered for hours and hours trying to guess just the right increments of inches to fudge by.  But I'm not successful.  I could get away with fudging if there were 3x10 labels per sheet (and I've done that in past filemaker versions).  Now, with four columns and 20 rows, the arithmetic errors accumulate such that the printing just doesn't fit.


I am suspecting that the issue really has to do with the newline height and space width in the font and perhaps even different font specs being used by Filemaker and the printer driver.  In fact, unless the printer has been specified ahead of time, you can't really be sure exactly what size the text is going to be.


It would help to know exactly what the components of the width and height are.  And to be able to specify them directly and/or specify the desired results directly.  Actually, it supposedly does let me give the label sizes exactly but that doesn't work.  I would like Filemaker to either make it work or tell me what I can change to make it work.


Problems with the fudging:  

 - when you try to specify custom line spacing in the text format for the label, the options don't include points - just inches, cm, and pixels (which are not relevant to print sizing).  I'm using a "9 point" font but can't specify its characteristics in terms of spacing.  Is it 9/11 or 9/10?

 - in order to adjust the size of the label itself, you have to create another new labels layout.  At least, I can't find a place to adjust it after the layout has been created.


 The Autoresize part of the Object Info looks potentially relevant but I couldn't figure out from its documentation how it related to the other specs.


 I think that Filemaker should take responsibility for doing the fudging within some limits.  After all, it has access to the relevant typographic info and can even prompt me for which printer I plan to use.  This current kludgy approach with magic number specifications is just too fragile.


AND if anyone actually knows how to make this work cleanly, given my constraints ('way back at the beginning), please do tell.


Thank you.

Jan Walker