The Label Overlay feature enables you to add your own information on a carrier label. This could be information such as an extra barcode, internal routing code, order number, and logo. Instead of adding information to the carrier label, you create an overlay that is printed on top of the original label. This ensures that the original label can still be updated when you run a carrier update, and you can even use the overlay feature with labels retrieved from a carrier's webservice.
Content of this article
- Creating the overlay file
- Activating the overlay file
- Using multiple overlay files
- Using white space for additional content
- Technical notes
Important: It is always your responsibility to get approval from the carrier if you add your own information to a label. Failing to get approval may cause extra shipping costs and you risk the shipment being rejected.
Creating the overlay file
In the following example, we will show you how to create an overlay with a message to receiver. Many carriers do not have this field included on their label as standard, so if you wish to be able to write a message to your end customer, this can be added using an overlay. Note that not all carrier labels have room available for additional content.
- Open the Consignor Document Editor. It can be found in the Consignor folder, usually located at C:\Program Files (x86)\Consignor. Double-click the ConsignorDocEditor icon to open the application.
- Go to File > New and select Overlay Document. It is important that the paper size and orientation matches the label. Most labels have the "Short" size. Click OK.
- You will now see a blank document with the size of a label. This is the canvas where you can add text, lines, barcodes etc. We will add a variable to show the content from the field Message to Receiver in nShift On-premises.
- Click on Text in the Toolbox and drag and drop it to the empty canvas. Place it in an area where you know there will be empty space on the original label. The overlay in this example will be used together with the carrier LGT Logistics' label.
- Go to the Properties for the empty text element. Make sure the Data Type is set to Variable. Click the "..." next to Variable to define which variable to use.
- Select the desired variable and click OK. You can enter a search word to filter the list. We will use the R_MSG variable.
- The overlay is now ready to be saved. Go to File > Save as. Name your file and click OK to save the file on your computer.
Activating the overlay file
After you have created the overlay file, you need to activate it in nShift On-premises so it is used on the correct product.
- Go to Setup and open Custom Labels and Documents. If the item has not been added yet, then right-click in the right-hand side pane and select New > Custom Labels and Documents.
- Go to the Overlay Labels tab and click Add.
- Enter a name for your file. We recommend naming your file in a way so you can remember what it is used for, eg. "DHL extra barcode", "LGT receiver message", "UPS QR code".
- Select Load From File and browse to the location where you saved your overlay file and click OK.
- Click OK to close the Custom Labels and Documents window.
- Navigate to the level where you want to apply the overlay. In this example, we want the overlay printed on all the LGT Logistics labels, so we are navigating to the carrier level. Right-click in the right-hand side pane and select New > Overlay Labels.
- Select your overlay in the column with Available overlay labels and click the arrow to move it to the Enabled overlay labels and click OK to save.
- Next, open Document Options. If the item has not been added yet, then right-click in the right-hand side pane and select New > Document Options.
- Click in the Overlays column next to the label where the overlay should be applied.
- Select the overlay and click OK.
- Your overlay label is now active and will be printed on top of the carrier label next time you make a shipment. Below is an example of the LGT Logistics label with the overlay:
Using multiple overlay files
If you have multiple overlay files and are using a carrier with multiple labels, it is possible to configure which overlay should be printed on which label. Make sure the overlay files have been activated before proceeding to the steps below.
- Go to Setup and locate the appropriate subcarrier where you want to apply multiple overlay files.
- Open Document Options. Click in the Overlays column next to a label.
- Select the overlay(s) that should be printed on the selected label and click OK.
- Specify the overlays for all the relevant labels and click OK. The names of the selected overlays will be visible in the Overlays column.
Using white space for additional content
If you are printing labels using a document printer, you can create an overlay that uses the whitespace next to the carrier label for your own information. This could be used for additional barcodes, order information, etc.
- Open an overlay file in the Document Editor.
- Change the size by selecting the document under Structure and setting the Height and Width under Properties.
- You will now see a canvas matching the new size. Your label will be generated in the top left corner of the overlay and you can use any white space outside the area of the label for your own content.
Note: A few carrier API's provide label information that is placed differently when using A4 or letter sized paper. In these situations you will need to run some tests to place content correctly.
Sometimes mixing font types, e.g. mixing EPL with Arial fonts will generate errors. To solve this, change the font type used in the overlay file.
Run nShift On-premises as administrator
For a few carriers using Windows label print using Microsoft Print to PDF/ Microsoft XPS/Cutie PDF etc. a print error might occur due to lack of administrative rights on the temp file. The error will look like "Print:
Error: Could not print C:\Users\DOE\AppData\Local\Temp\16B136625B4D4C8DA11DA24A302B4C21.pdf"
Starting nShift On-premises as administrator or setting it to run as administrator for all users will make the print possible.
Overlays do not work if the Windows settings "Beta: Use Unicode UTF-8 for worldwide language support" is checked. This setting is found in Windows under Control Panel > Region > Administrative > Language for non-Unicode programs.