The Printer Calibration Wizard: Alignment Page


On this page of the wizard, you'll enter the horizontal and vertical offsets to account for the alignment error you measured on the aligment-test sheet that just printed.

Horizontal Adjustment: Unfold the sheet you printed, turn it sideways, and see where the fold crease crosses the axis labeled "Horizontal Offset". Enter the number you measure in this edit control. If the fold crease is above the center line, you'll be entering a negative number. If the crease doesn't have the same offsets on the two grid lines at the edges of the sheet as it does on the center grid line/axis, it's an indication that your printer feeds paper through itself crookedly. (Although it could mean that you just didn't fold the sheet perfectly -- check that first.) If it doesn't feed straight, try using the value at the center of the sheet and then compensating for the printer's drift with the stretch settings in the Printer Alignment dialog (accessible by clicking the "Alignment" button on the Print dialog).

Vertical Adjustment: Unfold the sheet you printed, turn it right-side up, and see where the fold crease crosses the axis labeled "Vertical Offset". Enter the number you measure in this edit control. If the fold crease is above the center line, you'll be entering a negative number. If the crease doesn't have the same offsets on the two grid lines at the edges of the sheet as it does on the center grid line/axis, it's an indication that your printer feeds paper through itself crookedly. (Although it could mean that you just didn't fold the sheet perfectly -- check that first.) If it doesn't feed straight, try using the value at the center of the sheet and then compensating for the printer's drift with the stretch settings in the Printer Alignment dialog (accessible by clicking the "Alignment" button on the Print dialog).


Print another test sheet with my revised settings: If you check this box, once you click the "Next" button, the wizard will print another copy of the alignment-test sheet with the horizontal and vertical adjustments you've entered on this page, so you can see if they produce a perfectly centered page.


A Few Bonus Calibration Tips:

* Make sure your paper fits snugly in the paper tray! If your paper has room to slide around inside the paper tray, there's a good chance that this will induce alignment errors. Checking this could eliminate the need for alignment correction altogether.

* If the alignment-test sheet indicates that your alignment is much worse than you expected, make sure you checked the correct paper-size option before you printed the sheet. The paper size that the wizard thinks you printed on will be noted near the top-left corner of the alignment test sheet. If you checked the A4 box but inserted a sheet of letter paper, for instance, the alignment sheet will obviously be off center.

* Some printers will feed differently depending on the paper thickness. If you want to be absolutely sure you've got your alignment as accurate as possible, try printing the test sheet on a sheet of your actual label paper. This will cost you a sheet of your label paper, of course, so you may prefer to wait and see first whether you were able to compensate for your printer's alignment just by printing the test sheet on plain paper. If you do decide to print an alignment sheet on a sheet of label paper, make sure you've checked the right paper size setting. In particular, lots of DVD-case-cover sheets use A4 paper. If you're used to printing on letter-sized paper, measure your DVD cover paper before you print an alignment test sheet on it to make sure you know what size it is. 

* Some printers just don't have consistent alignment. One printout will be off in one direction, and another will be off in a different direction. You can test for this by setting the "Number of Copies" control on the Test-Sheet page of the wizard to print multiple copies of the sheet. If each sheet has a different alignment error, you probably can't make alignment adjustments that will always work. Your best bet is probably to enter an average value on this page and then try to compensate for the printer's inconsistency with the stretch settings in the Printer Alignment dialog (accessible by clicking the "Alignment" button on the Print dialog). Acoustica CD/DVD Label Maker defaults to a stretch setting of two millimeters, which means that a label you print will be two millimeters taller and two millimeters wider than the actual size of the label on the sheet, in the hopes that this extra bleed area will prevent minor alignment problems from causing edges of the label not to get printed on. If your printer is a schizophrenic wreck and displays wildly different alignments from sheet to sheet, you might need to increase this value.


* Since this wizard works by printing calibration tests on paper, it works well for handling alignment errors on label paper, but isn't suited for handling alignment errors for CD trays that you insert into your printer for printing directly onto printable CDs. To align your printable CDs, try using the "Edit Paper Templates" Dialog, which you can access from the "File" menu.

Printer Alignment Wizard Intro Page
Printer Alignment Wizard Test-Sheet Page
Printer Alignment Wizard Finish Page

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