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Topic: Size of DC label

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Subject: Size of DC label
Date Posted: 2/5/2009 7:57 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2006
Posts: 29,856
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I took 3 book packges to the PO today and the clerk got very upset because her scanner would not pick up the bar code for her computer.  She had to hand enter the code and she told me that happened because my DC labels are too small.  I explained that it is the same size label I have always used and she asked if my packages were being delivered.  I actually knew the answer because I have been wondering about some packages I have mailed recently.   I told her that I have 6 outstanding right now (since 1-27) and 5 of them show only acceptance at the PO but nothing more.  She told me that is because the employees have to hand enter the DC code in order to process the package when it will not scan.  She said they will be set aside and only processed when "there is  time".  She warned me that my media mail packages could take weeks to process as a result.   Has anyone else had this problem or been told that the DC label is too small?  Another question- is there a way to make the labels larger?


Date Posted: 2/5/2009 8:31 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Unless you are reducing the size of the label with your settings in your PDF reader, there should not be a problem.  And even then, you'd have to be shrinking them down quite a ways before they became unreadable to a laser scanner.

More likely is that the paper you're using is allowing the ink to bleed a little, giving that nice, sharp barcode a fuzzy edge that makes it difficult for the scanner to detect.  Try changing brands of paper to some that is coated or treated to prevent bleeding.  I use dedicated half sheet self-adhesive labels myself, which seem to work fine, but if you don't want to do that then look for a paper made specifially for printers (not just copy paper or "multiuse").

Also, if you use "store brand" or other non-OEM ink in your printer it could be affecting the quality.  Some inks bleed more than others.  OEM types are expensive, but there are a lot of different non-OEM formulas out there, so switching to a different supplier might help.

One other thought... don't put tape over the barcode when attaching the label.  Some adhesives, and some plastics, refract the laser light, scattering it and making it impossible to read the barcode.  If you feel you have to tape over the barcode because your ink smears (either by itself or if rain hits it) then that's just one more sign you need to change ink suppliers.


Last Edited on: 2/7/09 1:45 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/5/2009 8:39 PM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,719
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The size of the font is determined by USPS regulations. Members have complained about it for awhile but it is the regulation size for printable DC and Printable Postage. It has been mentioned in the News Wired a few times, I couldnt find it when I went to look though. Here is the section of the Help Center:


Can I make the font bigger on the printed wrapper?

  • No, unfortunately.  USPS guidelines govern the exact appearance of the printed wrapper and we cannot change anything, including the font size.

And the part about taping over the barcode:

Can I tape over the printed postage?  How about over the DC barcode?

  • Yes, you can apply tape over the printed postage square.  Obviously it should be clear (transparent) tape.
  • The DC barcode will be scannable with a single layer of transparent tape over it.  Wrinkles in the wrapper much more commonly interfere with the barcode scannability--tape is not usually a problem.
Date Posted: 2/5/2009 8:48 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2006
Posts: 29,856
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Bernhard - thanks I think the paper is the issue.  I starting using a different brand of paper about 10 days ago and that is about when the problems started.  I will change back to the brand of paper I use to have and see if that is the solution.  I knew about not taping over the bar code but when it can't be helped it never caused a problem in the past. 

Edited to add this after thought - I found out the hard way when I first started using DC that you can't use colored paper for printing the DC labels.  The PO made me take them home and redo them on white paper.

Last Edited on: 2/5/09 8:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/6/2009 1:10 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I've heard complaints about the DC barcodes not scanning.   I have a HP inkjet printer and use HP multiuse paper. I use very clear packing tape, and tape over the barcode and address.  I've sent alot, and they scan and arrive without incident.

I recently received a book on which the label had been very wet.  Even tho parts of it had been taped over, it had been wet enough to run the printer ink on DC and address.  The DC was unusable and had never been scanned into USPS.  The address was barely readable.  Given the condition of the label I felt fortunate the book actually arrived.  Fortunately the sender had used a plastic underwrap, and the book itself was in excellent condition.

I'm not a techie person, but could your printer settings have gotten changed?  If the printer was set for say 75% instead of 100%, would that change the label size?  Good luck, hope a change of paper cures the problem. 

Last Edited on: 2/6/09 1:11 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/6/2009 6:27 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Yes, settings on the printer, or printer driver, can and do affect the size of the label.

Date Posted: 2/7/2009 12:35 AM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2006
Posts: 29,856
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I asked a different PO clerk today about the size of the label and he told me that it is the font size that is too small, not the actual overall size of the label that is causing the issues.

Thanks for all the tips.  I am going to have to check my printer settings and see if that is the problem.  I had some computer problems in Jan and had to recover my system and maybe the settings got messed up at that time.  I am now convinced that it is some setting in my system that I need to fix.  I will get one of my techy grandkids to see what they can find out for me.

Date Posted: 2/7/2009 12:54 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2008
Posts: 9
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Ink bleed is definitely an issue.  I always print my DC labels using "Fast Draft" mode on the printer, it spits out a lot less ink (which means I can print more labels!) and the edges of the lines in the barcode are a lot less blurred.

So in addition to checking your paper, check your printer settings for more than just "size".

Last Edited on: 2/7/09 12:54 AM ET - Total times edited: 1