How to Print Shipping Labels? Insider Tips and Tricks Revealed

How to print shipping labels

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Mastering the process of printing shipping labels is an essential skill for streamlining shipping operations in any business environment. Printing a shipping label correctly saves time and ensures that packages reach their destinations promptly and without complications. 

This article focuses on the practicalities of printing shipping labels, offering step-by-step instructions to navigate through carrier services like USPS, UPS, and FedEx and online platforms such as PayPal, Etsy, eBay, and Shopify.  

The article is designed to assist both seasoned professionals and novices in efficiently handling their shipping needs, ensuring that parcels are labelled correctly for a smooth transit. By the end of this guide, you will gain the knowledge and confidence needed to handle shipping label printing requirements with ease and precision.

For those seeking a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of shipping labels, including their types, significance, and application, our comprehensive guide, What is a Shipping Label? serves as an essential primer to the practical steps outlined in this article.

How Do I Print My Own Shipping Label?

Seven steps to print your own shipping label

Printing your own shipping label is a straightforward process that can be broken down into a few key steps. Here’s how to print a shipping label.

Step 1: Choose the Right Platform or Carrier Service

Selecting the appropriate platform or service for generating your shipping label is the critical first step in the label printing process. The choice largely depends on the nature of your shipments and the scale of your operations.

  • For Online Marketplace Sellers: If you are selling through an online store and marketplaces like Etsy, eBay, or Shopify, leverage the convenience of their built-in tools. These platforms typically offer integrated solutions to create and print shipping labels directly, streamlining the process for sellers.
  • For Individual Shipments: For those handling standalone shipments, carrier websites such as USPS, UPS, and FedEx provide user-friendly online services. These platforms allow you to input shipment details and print labels easily from the comfort of your home or office.
  • Using Third-Party Postage Services: Third-party postage service providers are a versatile option, catering to a range of shipping needs. These services often provide additional flexibility and can be a great fit for both individual and business shipments.
  • For High-Volume and Specialised Needs: When dealing with high-volume shipping or requiring advanced labelling and automation, specialised software becomes indispensable. An excellent example is Seagull Scientific’s BarTender Software, known for its advanced design and printing capabilities. This software is tailored for creating professional-grade shipping labels and is ideal for businesses seeking efficiency and scalability in their labelling process.


Each of these options comes with its unique set of features and benefits, and the right choice will depend on your specific shipping requirements, volume, and the level of customisation you need for your own labels.

Seagull Scientific’s BarTender Software offers a diverse range of specialised shipping label templates to suit various industry needs. This includes templates like ASN Shipping Label, GS1-128 Shipping Label with Global Location Number (GLN), MIL 129R Generic Cargo, Manufacturing Shipping Label, UPS Domestic and International, along with various USPS IMpb formats, among others.

At Triton Store, we are proud to provide BarTender software at competitive prices, offering an unmatched value proposition. Understanding the unique needs of different organisations, we provide all four editions of BarTender software: Starter Edition, Professional Edition, Automation Edition and Enterprise Edition

The Starter Edition is perfect for smaller teams or simple labelling needs, while the Professional Edition is designed for more intricate labelling requirements. For businesses looking to integrate label printing into their operations seamlessly, the Automation Edition is ideal. Large-scale enterprises will find the extensive features of the Enterprise Edition particularly beneficial.

Additionally, we offer the cutting-edge BarTender Cloud, which represents the latest in remote label printing and design management. For a detailed comparison of BarTender Cloud and traditional BarTender software, our comprehensive guide, ‘BarTender Cloud vs BarTender Software‘, is available for reference.

To learn how BarTender Software can transform your label printing operations, get in touch with us through our live chat feature or complete a form on our website. For a thorough understanding of the software’s capabilities, we invite you to read our detailed article: ‘What is BarTender Software‘.

Step 2: Enter the Required Shipping Details

Once you’ve chosen your platform, you will need to enter the details of your shipment. This typically includes the destination address, return address, package size, and weight. 

Accuracy is key here to ensure proper postage and avoid delivery issues.

Step 3: Select Shipping Preferences

Depending on the carrier and service you choose, you’ll have options for shipping method, speed, tracking, insurance, and other services. Select the options that best fit your needs and budget. 

Be aware that additional services like insurance, express post and fast shipping will increase the cost.

Step 4: Review and Pay for the Label

After entering all the necessary information and selecting your shipping preferences, you’ll have the chance to review your label. Double-check to ensure all information is correct before proceeding to payment. 

Once paid, the label will be ready to print.

Step 5: Print the Label

Use a thermal printer to print out your label for the best results, but if not available, a standard inkjet or laser printer can also suffice.

For best results, use high-quality, self-adhesive shipping label paper. Using regular paper, you’ll need clear packing tape to securely attach the label to your package. Also, consider covering the label using a clear plastic shipping sleeve for additional protection.

Ensure the label is fully legible and the barcode can be easily scanned.

Feel free to peruse the following guides to gain a deeper understanding of the realm of barcoding technology:

Step 6: Attach the Label to Your Package

Place the label on a flat, visible surface on the package. 

Avoid placing the label over seams, edges, or on top of the sealing tape to ensure it remains secure and scannable throughout the shipping process.

Step 7: Drop Off or Schedule a Pickup

Finally, take your package to a drop-off location for your chosen carrier or schedule a pickup if the service is available. Some carriers offer home or office pickup services, which can be convenient for high-volume shippers or those with mobility constraints.

Plain Paper vs Label Stickers - What Should You Use to Print Labels?

Pros and cons of Plain paper and label stickers

Choosing the right medium for printing shipping labels is a key decision impacting efficiency, presentation, and cost in your shipping process. In the shipping industry, the most common choices are plain paper and label stickers, each with distinct benefits and considerations. 

Let’s delve into a comprehensive comparison to guide you in selecting the most suitable option for your needs.

Plain Paper


  • Cost-Effectiveness: Plain paper is generally more affordable than label stickers. It’s a practical choice for a small business and individual with limited shipping needs, where cost savings are a priority.
  • Availability and Convenience: Plain paper is widely available and can be used with almost any standard inkjet or laser printer, making it a convenient choice for those who don’t have specialised printing equipment.
  • Flexibility in Printing: Plain paper allows printing multiple labels per sheet, which can be cut to the required size. This flexibility is advantageous for customising label sizes according to different package dimensions, helping to reduce waste.
  • Environmental Considerations: Plain paper is easier to recycle and is seen as a more eco-friendly option.


  • Time-Consuming Attachment Process: Attaching plain paper labels to packages requires additional effort. You’ll need clear packing tape to affix the label securely to the package. This adds time to your packing process and requires precision to ensure the label is covered completely and protected from external elements.
  • Susceptibility to Damage: Labels printed on plain paper are more vulnerable to environmental factors such as moisture, which can lead to smudging or tearing. This vulnerability makes them less suitable for shipments exposed to harsh weather conditions.
  • Professional Appearance: While functional, plain paper does not offer the same level of professionalism in appearance as label stickers. This might be a significant consideration for businesses where brand image is important. 

Label Stickers


  • Ease of Use and Time Efficiency: Label stickers are designed for convenience. Their self-adhesive backing means you can quickly peel and stick them onto the shipment. 
  • Enhanced Durability: Label stickers are typically more robust against moisture, tearing, and smudging, which is critical for ensuring the label remains legible throughout the shipping journey.
  • Size and Shape Options: Label stickers come in various sizes and shapes, offering more customisation options to fit different package types.
  • Professional Finish: Label stickers offer a cleaner, more polished look, which can positively impact brand perception, which is especially important for businesses.


  • Higher Initial Cost: Label stickers are generally more expensive than plain paper, representing a higher initial investment. This cost factor can be a deterrent for businesses or individuals with tighter budget constraints.
  • Printer Requirements: Label stickers require a printer that can handle adhesive labels without issues like jamming. Some are specifically designed for thermal printers, which may necessitate additional equipment.
  • Environmental Impact: The adhesive and material composition of label stickers can make them less environmentally friendly. Their recycling process is more complex due to the adhesive backing and the variety of materials used.

Label Sticker vs Plain Paper - The Final Verdict

  • Volume and Frequency Considerations: High-volume shippers will find label stickers more time-efficient. In contrast, occasional shippers might lean towards the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of plain paper.
  • Brand Image and Customer Experience: The choice might also reflect how you want your package to be perceived upon arrival. Businesses focusing on brand image might prefer the neater look of label stickers.
  • Budget Balance: Consider the long-term costs. While label stickers may have a higher upfront cost, they could save time and potentially reduce errors, which might be more economical in the long run.


Both plain paper and label stickers have their unique advantages and drawbacks. The choice between them hinges on your unique needs and operational requirements. By thoroughly understanding your priorities and specific requirements, you can make an informed decision that best aligns with your shipping needs. 

As technology advances, we anticipate seeing more innovative solutions in both plain paper and label sticker materials, potentially enhancing their sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and functionality.

At Triton, we specialise in providing high-quality label stickers that cater to a wide range of shipping and labelling requirements. Our carefully curated collection guarantees exceptional quality, durability, and user-friendliness, addressing the demands of both small-scale operations and large enterprises.

Our label inventory encompasses an array of products, including thermal transfer ribbons, thermal labels, thermal carton labels, thermal carcase tags, food-compliant thermal inserts, receipt rolls and shipping & freight labels

In addition to our extensive label range, Triton offers handheld and benchtop label applicators, carefully engineered for efficiency and precision. These tools facilitate quicker and more accurate label application, streamlining your labelling process effectively.

At Triton, we take pride in delivering not only high-quality label stickers and labelling solutions but also unmatched value. Our commitment to excellence means you’ll receive superior products, exceptional customer service, and competitive pricing. Contact us via the live chat widget below for personalised assistance, and experience the Triton advantage today.

Check out our article on what is labelling to learn about labelling in general.  

Which Printer Should You Use to Print Shipping Labels?

When it comes to printing shipping labels, the choice of printer significantly impacts the efficiency, quality, and durability of your labels. 

Generally, there are three main types of printers used for this purpose: thermal printer, inkjet printer, and laser printer. 

Among these, thermal printers stand out as the best option for various reasons, which we will explore further in this section.

Can You Print Labels with an Inkjet Printer?

Yes, you can print labels using an inkjet printer. 

Inkjet printers are known for their ability to produce high-quality prints in full colour, which can be advantageous for businesses that require vibrant and detailed labels. They are also relatively affordable and accessible, making them suitable for small businesses or individuals just starting with label printing.

However, there are drawbacks and common complaints associated with inkjet printers. The printed material from these printers is susceptible to smudging and moisture damage, primarily because the ink used in inkjet printers is water-based. This can be particularly problematic for labels that must withstand various shipping conditions. Additionally, the ongoing cost of ink cartridges can add up, making them less economical in the long run.

For a detailed comparison between thermal and inkjet printers, explore our article: Thermal Printers vs Inkjet Printers.

Can You Print Labels with a Laser Printer?

Yes, laser printers are another viable option for printing shipping labels. They are known for their speed and precision, making them suitable for environments with a high volume of label printing. Laser printers also tend to be more reliable in terms of print quality, with less risk of smudging than inkjet printers.

However, laser printers have their limitations. They generally have a higher initial cost and are less efficient in terms of energy consumption. Additionally, the heat process used in laser printers can sometimes cause issues with certain types of label materials, limiting their versatility.

For more insights into how thermal printers compare with laser printers, visit our guide: Thermal Printers vs Laser Printers.

So, Should You Print Shipping Labels on a Laser Printer or an Inkjet?

While both laser and inkjet printers have situations where they can be useful, thermal printers often emerge as the superior choice for shipping label printing. 

Thermal printers stand out as the superior choice for printing shipping labels due to their unparalleled efficiency, durability, and cost-effectiveness. These printers excel in handling large volumes of printing with remarkable speed and consistency, eliminating the need for frequent ink or toner replacements. This aspect alone makes them ideal for businesses of all sizes, especially those with extensive shipping requirements. 

Additionally, thermal printers are known for their reliability and low maintenance needs, reducing downtime and operational hassles. They also offer superior print quality, ensuring that barcodes and text on labels are crisp and easily scannable. 

Moreover, thermal printers are more energy-efficient compared to inkjet and laser printers, further reducing operational costs. With these advantages, thermal printers represent a smart investment for businesses aiming to streamline their shipping processes and enhance overall productivity.

At Triton, we understand that the right printer is more than just a tool – it’s a crucial part of your business’s shipping and logistics strategy. That’s why we’ve carefully selected a range of state-of-the-art thermal printers from trusted industry leaders like Epson, Element, Senor, Honeywell, Zebra and TSC and a range of coloured label printers from OKI.  

Our collection is tailored to meet a diverse array of business needs, ensuring you find the perfect match for your specific requirements. From robust industrial printers that can withstand high-volume demands to compact desktop printer models perfect for small-scale operations, our inventory covers all bases. We also offer specialised thermal printers like direct thermal printers, thermal transfer printers, barcode label printers, mobile printers and receipt printers to cater to various thermal printing needs.

But our commitment to your printing success doesn’t stop at the sale of a printer. To support the longevity and efficiency of your equipment, Triton provides a comprehensive selection of spare printer parts and accessories, waterproof printer enclosures, cables and cleaning wipes

Plus, with our top-of-the-line thermal print heads from brands like Zebra, Honeywell, TSC, Intermec, Datamax, SATO, and Bizerba, you can ensure consistent, high-quality prints every time.

At Triton, we pride ourselves on offering not just products but complete solutions. Our team of experienced professionals is always on hand to assist you, whether seeking advice on the best printer for your needs or needing support in maintaining your existing equipment. Experience the Triton difference today – browse our extensive range, connect with our experts via the live chat widget, and elevate your business’s printing capabilities to new heights.

How Do I Print a USPS Shipping Label?

Three methods to print a USPS Shipping label

When it comes to printing a USPS shipping label, there are several convenient methods available depending on your resources and preferences. USPS provides three primary ways to print shipping labels: using your own printer, employing the Click-N-Ship Online Postage service, and utilising the Label Broker feature.

Did you know? – In 2022 alone, USPS managed an impressive 7.2 billion shipments in its shipping and package category 

Here’s how each method works for printing USPS shipping label.

Using Your Own Printer

Printing the label at home using your own printer is the most straightforward method. After creating and paying for your shipping label on the USPS website, you can download and print it directly. 

USPS recommends using a high-quality laser or inkjet printer to ensure the print is clear and legible. It’s important to ensure that your printer meets the minimum required print resolution of 600 dots per inch (DPI). This specification is essential as labels printed with lower resolution may not be reliably readable by USPS scanning equipment, which could lead to processing issues. 

When using regular paper, the label should be cut out and securely attached to the package using clear packing tape. If using adhesive label paper, simply peel and stick it onto the package.

USPS Label Broker

Another convenient option provided by USPS for printing shipping labels is the Label Broker feature. This service enables customers to have their shipping labels printed at a local Post Office. 

You simply provide a QR Code, obtained either from the Click-N-Ship application or a merchant, to a postal clerk, who then prints the label for you.

USPS Label Delivery

USPS offers a Label Delivery service, ideal for customers who prefer not to print labels themselves. Through this service, you can request USPS to deliver pre-printed shipping labels to your address. This option is available for both residential and business addresses and involves a fee per label.

USPS Label Delivery service is an excellent solution for those without immediate access to a printer or who require a large number of labels on an urgent basis.   

How Do I Print a UPS Shipping Label?

Three methods to print a UPS Shipping label

Printing a UPS shipping label is integral to the shipping process, ensuring your packages are ready for dispatch and tracking. UPS offers several convenient methods for printing these labels, catering to various needs and preferences.

Here’s how each method works for printing UPS shipping label.

Using Your Own Printer

The most accessible method for many is to print a UPS shipping label using your own printer. 

While UPS doesn’t specify strict printer requirements, the ideal choice is a thermal printer with at least 300 DPI resolution. This ensures high-quality prints where barcodes and text are clear and easily scannable, which is crucial for UPS processing.

In cases where a thermal printer isn’t available, a standard inkjet or laser printer is a suitable alternative. However, it’s important to use a printer with a minimum resolution of 600 DPI to avoid any disruptions in label readability. This higher resolution is essential for ensuring that the label’s details, particularly the barcode, are accurately captured by UPS scanning systems.

UPS Location

For those who prefer not to print at home or lack a printer, visiting a physical UPS location offers a convenient solution. At these locations, you can easily scan and print your shipping label. This service is particularly useful for individuals needing to print a label on the go or encountering technical issues with home printing.

UPS Store

The UPS Store provides a comprehensive solution for your shipping needs. It is a franchised subsidiary of United Parcel Service, offering services beyond shipping, including packaging and printing. 

If you have goods that need to be shipped or have already packed your packages, simply take them to a UPS Store. The staff will handle everything from printing the shipping label to ensuring your package is securely shipped. This one-stop-shop approach is ideal for those seeking convenience and professional handling of their shipments.

How Do I Print a FedEx Shipping Label?

Two ways to print a fedex shipping label

Printing a FedEx shipping label is essential for ensuring your packages are ready for dispatch. FedEx provides two main methods for printing shipping labels, each designed to cater to different needs and situations.

Here’s how each method works for printing FedEx shipping label.

Using Your Own Printer

Printing your FedEx shipping label using your own printer is often the preferred method for convenience and immediacy.

Although FedEx doesn’t specify strict printer requirements, thermal printers are generally considered the best choice for printing shipping labels. A thermal printer with a resolution of at least 300 DPI is ideal for ensuring clear, scannable barcodes and crisp text, which are crucial for FedEx’s tracking and processing.

If a thermal printer isn’t available, you can use an inkjet or laser printer. However, using a printer with a resolution of at least 600 DPI is important. This higher resolution helps prevent issues such as blurred barcodes or illegible text, which can disrupt the shipping process.

At a FedEx Office

Visiting a FedEx Office provides an alternative solution for those who either prefer not to print labels at home or lack access to a printer. 

Simply visit the office, and the staff will assist you with printing. This option is particularly convenient for last-minute shipping needs or if you encounter any unexpected printing issues.

How Much Does It Cost to Print Shipping Labels?

The cost of printing shipping labels can vary based on several factors such as. 

  1. Printer Type and Consumables: 
  • Printer Choice: Choosing thermal, inkjet, or laser printers affects costs differently. Thermal printers, typically used for high-volume shipping, require a significant initial investment but are cost-effective in the long run due to their efficiency and lower operating costs.
  • Ink and Toner: The ongoing cost of ink or toner cartridges is a major expense for inkjet or laser printers, especially for frequent printing. These costs vary based on the printer model and the type of cartridges it requires.
  • Label Materials: The material of the labels also impacts costs. Thermal printers use specific thermal labels, whereas inkjet and laser printers may use standard paper or more expensive adhesive label sheets. The choice of material will depend on your printer type and the durability required for your shipments.


      2. Usage of Professional Printing Services:

  • Opting for professional services like FedEx Office or UPS Store involves per-label charges. This option is more costly than home printing but offers convenience, especially for those without access to a suitable printer or needing specialised label types. 


      3. Subscription or Service Fees:

  • If you use an online tool, parcel post services or shipping software for label creation, you will incur subscription or service fees. These platforms often facilitate the creation and printing of shipping labels, and their costs can include access to discounted shipping rates, streamlined shipping management tools, and other value-added services. The expense of these subscriptions should be weighed against the benefits they provide, especially if they offer features that simplify your shipping processes and reduce other operational costs.


To estimate the cost of printing your shipping labels, consider the volume of labels you need to print regularly, the type of printer and materials you will use, and whether you’ll print at home or use a professional shipping platform. It’s also wise to factor in the long-term costs, such as printer maintenance and supplies, if you’re printing labels frequently.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Print a Shipping Label at Home

Can I Print Shipping Labels on a Regular Printer?

Yes, you can print shipping labels on a regular printer, such as an inkjet or laser printer. Ensure the printer has a minimum resolution of 600 DPI for clear and scannable labels.

Can I Print Shipping Labels on Regular Paper?

Yes, shipping labels can be printed on regular paper using a standard printer. After printing, the label should be cut to size and securely attached to the package with clear packing tape.

How Do I Get a Shipping Label if I Don't Have a Printer?

If you don’t have a printer, you can use services like USPS Label Broker, where you can print your label at a local Post Office or request pre-printed labels from courier services like FedEx and UPS.

Can You Print USPS Labels at Home?

Yes, you can print USPS labels at home using a regular inkjet or laser printer. After creating your label online through the USPS website, you can download and print it.

What Is the Most Affordable Way to Print Shipping Labels?

The most affordable way to print shipping labels largely depends on your printing volume.

For low-volume printing, using an inkjet or laser printer is typically the most cost-effective option. 

However, for high-volume or frequent label printing, investing in a thermal printer is more economical in the long run.

Do You Need a Computer for a Shipping Label Printer?

Yes, a computer is typically required to create and print shipping labels, especially if you are using an inkjet, laser, or thermal printer. The computer is used to access shipping services online and send the print command to the printer.

However, if your printer supports mobile printing, then a computer is optional. 

Can I Print a Postage Label on Paper?

Yes, you can print a postage label on regular paper using a standard inkjet or laser printer. Once printed, attach the label securely to your package.

Can I Print a FedEx Label on Regular Paper?

Yes, you can print a FedEx label on regular paper using any standard inkjet or laser printer. After printing, ensure the label is securely attached to the package.

Final Thoughts

In summary, printing shipping labels for domestic or international shipments hinges on selecting the right printer and method that aligns with your shipping volume and needs. Whether using a home printer for low-volume shipping, a thermal printer for frequent, high-volume dispatches, or leveraging in-store printing services for convenience, each option offers its unique benefits. 

Recognising the importance of clear and durable labels, and understanding the cost implications of different printing methods, is key. This knowledge ensures the smooth processing of your shipments and contributes to a more streamlined and cost-effective shipping operation. By making informed choices about printing shipping labels, you can enhance your shipping process’s overall efficiency and reliability. 

If you need help creating a shipping label, our how to create shipping labels guide will come in handy. 

We hope this article gave you enough knowledge about printing shipping labels. 

Thanks for reading! 

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