Managing label printing via label design templates provides tremendous advantages over trying to create one label file per product. However, this can be tricky with GHS compliance since different products require the display of different images (called pictograms) in different location. This is further complicated by the fact that some products require a different amount of pictograms than others. Configuring your label design template correctly by establishing 'pictogram areas' and linking them to database fields can accomplish this task.

Business Problem

The client wanted to integrate their labeling system with SAP but avoid having to create and maintain a separate label file for EACH product. However, different products require different pictograms and some products require more pictograms than others. For products that only require one or two pictograms, the area set aside for the third and fourth pictogram should be left blank.

Key System Components

  • HP OfficeJet Printer

How it Works

In order to use one label design or template to print labels for different products using a different set and different number of pictograms, the client followed these general steps:

  1. Set aside an area of their label for displaying the maximum number of pictograms
  2. Define a field for each 'pictogram area' in the product database (aka the data source)
  3. Create a variable image object for each pictogram area and link it to the product database
  4. Populate the pictogram area fields with the name, including full file location, of the image file that should display the pictogram area

Pictogram Area (Blue Circle):

Each Pictogram Area Given a Unique Data Source (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4):

Link Each Pictogram Area to a Field in the Database:

With the database setup as above and the images on the label linked to them, SAP can send data to SENTINEL (server based printing software) with variable information such as product ID, expiry date, and lot number. The label can then reference the database about to determine the correct pictogram image and placement of that image (location 1, 2, 3, or 4). Pictogram database fields that are blank will not display a pictogram in that area.


GHS label compliance can be done without resorting to creating, saving, and maintaining a different label design file for each product. This method is highly recommended when there are many different products that follow one or a small number of general layouts. Managing a half dozen or so label templates is much more efficient than managing several hundreds or thousands.

Key Technology Partners


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