Tuesday, 30 October 2012

How to Make Labels

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A couple of weeks ago I posted about organising our playroom and storing Lego, and I promised I would do a feature on how to make labels. So here, a little overdue, is a tutorial on how to do it – and don’t worry, you don’t need a fancy paint programme! All you need is Microsoft Excel. It is incredibly user friendly and even though I’m relatively proficient in the Paint Shop Pro software I’ve had for years I still tend to favour Excel for label making!

Label Making Tutorial

1) Go to Insert/Shapes and select whatever shape you want. Then hold down the left mouse button and drag to create the shape.

2) I generally measure beforehand to see roughly how big I need the label to be, so after creating the shape I’ll right click on it, select ‘Size and Properties’ and input the height and width measurements.

3) Now you probably don’t want a boring blue label, so this is the point where you start making the shape look pretty! To do this you need to right click on the shape again, but this time select “Format Shape”. You can change the colour of both the shape (“Fill”) and the outline (“Line Color”).

My favourite thing to do is to go to Fill/Picture or Texture Fill and then add a picture or pattern by clicking on “insert from: File” (check the "tile picture as texture" box). I tend to make my own background picture in Paint Shop Pro, but you can also just find something you like from Google Images. 

4) Most of the time I like to have the label text against a white background, so I’ll add a new shape over the top of the first and follow steps 1 to 3 again. But if you want your text against a pattern just ignore this step.

5) To add the text go to Insert/Text Box, click on the top shape and start typing! You can change how the text looks by highlighting it and right clicking. This will bring up the options for font, size, colour, alignment, etc.

6) One last optional step is to add clipart – Excel comes with a huge range of free images! You can add a picture by going to insert clipart and typing what you are looking for in the search box. Here I just typed in “toy car”.

And that is it! Here is the finished label:

Labelling isn't restricted to organising; here is a label I was playing around with to add to a festive jar of Santa cookie mix:

 Hope this post inspires someone to get labelling!


  1. Wow, using Microsoft Excel??? I just use it for charts + budget reports. Nice to see that we cab be super creative even using Excel .... great tutorial.

    1. Thanks Ada, glad I opened your eyes to Excel's potential :)

      I find in a lot quicker and simpler to use for simple design stuff like this, it's much less faff than fiddling around with layers in a paint program!

  2. Thank you... I'm surprised that you made it with MS Excel. I pinned it!!! I stopped by from the Delightfully Inspiring thursday party. I'm a new follower now ;)


  3. This is awesome! Thanks so much for the tutorial! I've been wanting to make some labels but couldn't really justify buying a label maker. Definitely going to try making them this way.

    1. Glad to have inspired you. I have a very basic label maker but this way makes much prettier labels. I use my cheapo laminator to make them more durable :)

  4. What a great idea. In order not to lose your instructions, I am bookmarking your tutorial on my iPad. Thank you!

    ...caught you on the Time Travel link...

  5. Thanks Nancy, glad you like the tutorial!

  6. I had heard people say they had done labels in excel before but was unsure of how. Thank you, I will be giving it a go. Pinning it so I don't lose it :D

  7. I had no idea Excel could be used to do this. In fact, I had no idea what Excel was even for! Thanks for increasing my knowledge of the programs on my computer.


  8. This is awesome since I still can't figure out photoshop or illustrator :)

  9. This is so great! I am infinitely more comfortable using excel than Photoshop, but never thought to use it for anything but formulas :)


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