Generating collection labels from iNat-exports

As I am both photographing, and (recently) started to collect, I am wondering if someone already has established an efficient way to use the iNat-export to transfer certain types of information (e.g. coordinates, scientific species name, date) onto the correct positions on the label?

And while I’m at it - can anyone recommend a template Excel spreadsheet for collection labels?

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What just came to my mind - maybe it is feasible to have a tiny QR code printed on the label as well - might not be so useful in 200 years, but for now, this would allow accessing fotos of the specimen in situ, showing its ‘true’ colors, its habitat, possible behavior, associated species etc.

I don’t have an iNat-specific example, but I’ve definitely made collection tags by pulling info from an Excel spreadsheet. Basically you just need the =CONCAT function, the regular expression for a new line, and some patience. =CONCAT can only take so many inputs at a time, so if you have a lot of information, you may need to do 2+ =CONCATs and then put them together with another =CONCAT. (I’m sure there are fancier ways to do this, but this is the simplest.)

Regarding the spreadsheet template, do you mean one that does what I just described or something different?

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By template, I just meant a formatted sheet with empty fields of correct height and length, ready for printout after entering data the ‘normal’ way.

It will definitely need some formulas and possibly macros to achieve a good workflow

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I use excel for organizing my data from iNat (addding extra columns and such) and then use a mailmerge into word to get formatted labels. Trying to do formatting in excel is really annoying.

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I discovered this Youtube video, and have been playing aroung with it - seem to work quite nicely.
I suppose that’s similar to what @kevinfaccenda is doing?

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if you’re going the mail merge route, you should be able to do something similar to what’s described here:

that tutorial describes how to display actual images based on an image URL, but you could also apply this concept to display a QR code image generated dynamically via an API like for example, here’s a request URL that should return a 150 x 150 px QR code image for the observation 137315826:

so if you follow the tutorial instructions, substituting the image URL for an appropriate QR code image URL, i think you should be able to get what you’re looking for.

Great, I’ll try that!
One thing to find out would be - what is the minimum size of a QR code to be printed that is still readable

i think the standard guidance for printed QR codes is at least 32 x 32 mm or 1.25 x 1.25 in. it looks like Word’s default is for translating pixels to inches is 96:1, and it looks like like the 150 x 150 px image is getting rendered by default as something slightly larger than 1.5 x 1.5 inch:

Are these collections you’re depositing in an academic herbarium of some sort? If so, almost certainly they will have some very specific system for entering labels that links to a database, and would require working out something that links up well to that. Otherwise, if it’s a personal collection you’re building, you can do all kinds of things. Something like a basic spreadsheet operation would probably work with some tinkering.


It depends on the herbarium, but most I’ve interacted with recently are happy to accept specimens that have labels of my own format, as long as they aren’t missing any important info.

mostly insects - so not much place for labelling

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