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We can tell you how to print your envelopes perfectly, but perhaps the most important lesson is to always test on a piece of plain paper cut to the envelope’s size first. Be sure to draw a flap on your test envelope so you know how to feed a real one into your printer. Once you’ve mastered your printer, test on one envelope first before printing a batch of them.


top-feed printer



bottom-feed printer

The second lesson is to get to know your printer a bit better. There are many different printers available today, and they have some very key differences that affect how you will print your envelopes. Once you get to know your printer and determine which settings to use, you’ll find that printing envelopes is a snap.

We recommend you do a few test prints to determine exactly which settings are correct for your printer, and then you’ll be ready to print perfect envelopes with ease.

First, determine if your printer is a top-feed where you place your paper in an upright position above the printer, like Epson, Canon or Lexmark printers, or a bottom-feed where your paper is laying in a tray below your printer, like an HP.

Top-feed printers
When you look at your top-feed printer, you’ll see that there are adjustable guides within the input tray. These hold smaller pieces of paper straight as they’re being fed into the printer. You’ll notice
that one of the guides can move to adjust to different paper and envelope sizes, whereas the other guide remains stationary. On most top-feed printers,the left guide is movable and the paper is aligned to the right guide, so they need the Paper Alignment setting in the Print window set to Right. When printing in landscape mode they need the Landscape Rotation set to Left.

 


movable guide


portrait
(flap facing away)

If the envelope width (measured holding envelope with the flap on top) is less than 8.5" wide, you can choose Portrait in the Print window and feed the envelope with the flap closed, placing the top edge of the envelope into the printer first. To print the address, have the flap facing away from you. For the return address, have the flap facing towards you.

If you have PrintingPress Platinum, you are able to print both the address and the return address on the back in one pass as long as the envelope is less than 8.5” wide. To do so, open the envelope flap and feed with the bottom of the envelope first, making sure that the front of the envelope is facing you. Choose Print Front and Back in One Pass in the Print window.


one-pass

landscape
(flap facing away)
If the envelope is wider than 8.5" as with a #10 envelope or an outer envelope for a wedding invitation, you need to print in landscape mode. First choose Landscape in the Print window. Then be sure to feed the envelope with the flap closed, placing the left edge of the envelope into the printer first so that the envelope’s flap is behind the envelope on the left side. Remember to set the Landscape Rotation setting in the Print window.

 

Bottom-feed printers
It’s more difficult to access the movable paper guides on your bottom-feed printer, but once you find them you’ll see that the movable guide is on the left and the paper is aligned to the right side of the printer. Even though this is the same as a top-feed printer, because the paper is coming from below, bottom-feed ink jets usually need Paper Alignment set to Right and Landscape Rotation set to Right.

 

 


movable guide


"top" is left


"top" is right

Because of the ‘bent’ paper path, envelopes (especially smaller ones) tend to feed better and have fewer smudges when printed in landscape mode. Generally, bottom-feed printers are fed with the side you want to print on face down. Please note that most laser printers require the paper to be fed face up.

Feeding envelopes in the landscape mode varies from printer to printer. Some bottom-feed printers require the envelope flap to be on the left and some require it to be on the right. Test your printer to see which side is the “top” in landscape mode.

To print addresses, feed the envelopes with the flap facing you and on the side you determined as the “top” , Remember to set the Landscape Rotation setting in the Print window. To print the return address, feed the envelopes with the flap facing down.

If you have PrintingPress Platinum, you are able to print both the address and the return address on the back in one pass as long as the envelope is less than 8.5” wide. The envelopes should be printed in portrait mode with the bottom of the envelope fed first, the flap open and face down. Choose Portrait and Print Front and Back in One Pass in the Print window.


one-pass

 

General Tips for All Printers

  • Keep it tall and wide
    When printing on smaller pieces of paper and envelopes, the rollers that grip the paper work better when the paper is taller than it is wide. For this reason, even with top-feed printers it is best to feed smaller envelopes in landscape mode.
  • Do it in one pass
    To avoid the print heads getting caught on the envelope flaps while printing return addresses in landscape mode, print the front and back in one pass. Upgrade to PrintingPress Platinum to use this feature. You can also try printing the envelope in portrait mode.
  • Know your load
    Different printers have different bulk capacities, so be careful not to exceed yours. If you stack too many envelopes into the feed tray, your printer may have difficulty grabbing a single envelope and may feed several at a time. Bottom-feed printers tend to work better with at least five envelopes in the tray at a time. To avoid mis-feeds, keep it loaded.
  • Open up
    Lined envelopes are thicker than unlined envelopes and will feed better if they are opened. For easy, one-pass printing, upgrade to PrintingPress Platinum.
  • Through thick or thin
    Many printers have a “thickness” or “envelope” switch that will allow thicker papers and envelopes to feed better. You may want to try playing with this switch to learn what works best for your printer. Older printers have a manual switch on the printer itself. Newer printers allow you to specify a paper type in the printer’s Properties dialog.
  • Quality Counts
    Experiment with the print quality settings in your printer’s Properties dialog. You usually want a high quality, but sometimes it will put too much ink onto the paper and cause the letters to bleed.
  • Vellum caveat
    Only vellum specifically designed for an inkjet printer will yield positive printouts. Otherwise, a laser printer works best with vellum.

 

 

 
     
 

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