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European labels for chemicals

The chemlabels package for LaTeX.


This package contains Encapsulated PostScript versions of the symbols used to label chemicals, according to EU directive 67/548/EEC Annex II.

It also contains a LaTeX file for printing 8 105x74 mm labels on an A4 page, plus a Makefile for automatically generating PostScript and PDF versions of the labels. Below is an example of the output of this file:

Label for a polyester resin according to 67/548/EEC Annex II

The author wrote these symbols because he wanted to print some labels for chemicals, and the GIF’s he found on the Internet did not scale very well to the required size (ca. 29x29mm).

The symbols were mostly handcoded in PostScript by the author, based on some GIF’s of the symbols one can easily find on the Internet. The symbols for E and O were automatically traced from GIF’s by AutoTrace 0.31.1 and then adapted somewhat by hand.

The symbols are:

letter symbol
C corrosive.eps
E explosive.eps
Xn, Xi harmfull.eps
N environ.eps
F, F+ flammab.eps
O oxide.eps
T toxic.eps


The following files should be included in the distribution:


The file template.eps is a figure with just an orange square on it. It was used as the template to create the other files.


These symbols are meant to be printed on a colour printer. A black and white printer cannot create a the required orange background. There are labels with preprinted orange fields available, but even then a b&w printer cannot produce the white fields on some of the symbols.

  1. with the LaTeX template

    • make a copy of the file chemtemplate.eps, e.g. foo.tex

    • edit foo.tex, to fill in the correct name, symbol etc. See the comments in the file itself.

    • if you have GNU make: add foo.tex to the TEXF line; ‘TEXF=chemtemplate.tex foo.tex’ and run make

    • otherwise run:

      latex foo.tex
      dvips -o foo.dvi

      This should produce both PostScript and PDF versions.

  2. just the symbols

    If your wordprocessor cannot handle Encapsulated PostScript, you will have to convert these files to e.g. JPEG files of a appropriate resolution. One program that can do that is ‘ghostscript’, a free PostScript interpreter.

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