Resolving label quality issues may be a matter of simply changing a few settings on your printer. In most cases, ShipStation receives labels and other documents in a PDF format. The quality of the final printed product is going to be determined by the printer settings or preferences that interpret the PDF data it receives.
The following options will guide you to the types of adjustments you can make to improve print quality.
- Make sure the DPI set in Settings > Printing > Printing Setup > Document Options matches the DPI configured in either CUPS (Mac) or Printer Preferences (Windows).
- For alignment issues… Calibrate your printer!
- Zebra printers will require calibrating periodically, and different models will have slightly different procedures. Look up “your Zebra model + calibrate” on YouTube for instructions specific to your model, or visit the Zebra support site.
- DYMO printers are self-calibrating... just be sure to use official DYMO labels.
Printer Preferences (Windows users)
- Check your printer preferences and ensure the media size matches your thermal printer's label size (A6, 100mm x 150mm, 4" x 6", etc).
- Remove any margin values.
- Disable Use printer settings in the Advanced Setup tab.
- Increase the darkness option (this can be a trial & error process).
- Adjust dithering settings (this can be a trial & error process).
- Slow down printer speed (if labels print only partially, this could be the culprit!)
- If using a Zebra printer, check out our PC setup guide to ensure your settings are optimal.
Printer Defaults (Mac Users)
- For any model printer adjust the following in CUPS (this can be a trial & error process):
- Media size (must match your printer's paper size: A6, 100mm x 150mm, 4" x 6", etc.)
- Printer rate (slower rate means higher print quality... Additionally, labels printing only partially could mean your rate is too fast!)
- If using a Zebra Printer, check out our Mac setup guide to ensure your settings are optimal.
For Zebra Printer Users on either Mac or Windows
Zebra printers have the option to receive a document format called ZPL, instead of the default PDF. ZPL labels will have a much crisper printed image than PDF, but requires some configuration on ShipStation’s side and comes with a few limitations.
ZPL formatted labels…
- Cannot be viewed prior to being printed (in other words, no PDF preview)
- Cannot be customized (no store logos, no label messages)
- Are not supported by certain carriers and services
If you’d like to use ZPL formatted labels and you use a Zebra printer, contact ShipStation support and we will configure your ShipStation account to accept ZPL labels.
Keep in mind, all labels on your account will be ZPL going forward. They cannot be customized per store or per carrier. Once ShipStation has made the change on your account, you’ll need to change your selected driver on your system. For Mac users, this can be done in CUPS. For Windows users, you’ll need to install a new Zebra driver.