How to Print a Shipping Label If You Don’t Own a Printer

How to Print a Shipping Label If You Don’t Own a Printer Printing shipping labels online has a few perks: it’s faster, easier and more convenient than having your packages shipped at a post office, plus most services that allow to create shipping labels offer significant shipping discounts. However, when you generate shipping labels yourself, you need to figure out how to print them, which can be a problem if you don’t have a printer. How do you print a shipping label without a printer?

First and foremost, let us dispel a common misconception. A lot of people don’t print shipping labels at home because they think that they need a special sticker printer for self-adhesive labels. However, it isn’t so. Most major postal and courier companies (USPS, UPS, FedEx) allow to print shipping labels on regular paper and then attach them to packages using clear tape or self-adhesive pouches. So if you don’t have a specialized label printer but own a regular printer, you can print shipping labels at home.

But what if you don’t own any kind of printer or your printer is broken? Fore many people, the most obvious choice would be going to the nearest post office, UPS Store or FedEx location and buying a shipping label in person at the counter. The main drawback to shipping your packages in-store is that you will have to pay the full retail shipping price, whereas printing your own shipping labels allow you to get a significant shipping discount. Another downside is that you may have to wait in line and spend time dealing with a post office employee instead of just dropping your package off.

The good news is that when you create a shipping label online, you don’t have to print it right away. Most shipping label printing services, including PostageMaker, allow to download shipping labels in the PDF format and have them printed later. You can email the label to someone who has access to a printer and can print it out for you, or you can save it to a USB drive and take it somewhere with a printer:

  • The nearest print shop that offers affordable printing services.
  • Your local public library where they will print your shipping label for a nominal fee.
  • The carrier’s drop-off location (for example, UPS Stores and FedEx Offices offer in-store printing services).

Printing your prepaid shipping label at the carrier’s location is a convenient option because you can immediately drop the package off for shipping.

Some carriers offer special options for printing shipping labels that customers create online. The United States Postal Service, for example, has the Label Broker feature for customers who would like to create shipping labels online but don’t have access to a printer. When you generate a shipping label with Label Broker, you receive a QR code that you can scan at a Self-Service Kiosk or show it to an employee at the Post Office counter to have your label printed.

If you want to ship a package via UPS, you can schedule an on-demand package pickup without printing a shipping label. When requesting a pickup online, you need to specify that you don’t have a pre-printed shipping label for your shipment and check the box saying “I will pay my driver using Check or Money Order”. The driver will bring the shipping documents to you, and you will only need to cover the costs. Keep in mind that if you choose this option you will not get a shipping discount.

Finally, let us suggest a few tips that may come in handy when you print your shipping labels yourself. Make sure to adjust printer settings (paper size, orientation, print quality) for optimal label quality, take appropriate steps to protect the label from the elements (we even have an entire article on how to do it here), and make sure that the barcode isn’t covered with packing tape that you used to affix the label because a reflective surface will make it harder to scan.