If you’ve ever printed a sheet of address labels using your standard printer and Microsoft Word, you know that label printing software is not completely necessary.
After all, you printed those label sheets just fine without it, right? However, the story changes when you move from printing the occasional label with your word processor and standard office printer to producing full color product labels and barcodes on a label printer.
While your label printer includes print drivers allowing it to communicate with your computer, it’s smart to invest in label printing software. Below are just a few of the reasons why label printing software is essential when you step up to in-house label production:
- You’ll be able to design and print labels faster and easier. Developed specifically for label design and printing, label printing software has all of the tools you need at your fingertips to create and print attractive labels and barcodes on your computer. For example, if you need to print GHS / BS5609-compliant labels, including the appropriate pictograms on your labels is a simple matter of drag and drop when you use GHS compatible label printing software. In contrast, Microsoft Word, Adobe Illustrator, and other programs don’t necessarily have the tools you need on board.
- You’ll be able to use your label files across various label printers. Label design software such as BarTender 2016, for example, supports more than 3,000 industrial printers. You are not limited to a proprietary label format that works only with your designated label printer.
- You can include barcodes, fonts, and other design elements that may not otherwise be supported by your printer. Your printer may have a limited list of native fonts that it supports, which in turn, limits your design options. You can overcome these limitations by using label design software that offers versatile font support, an extensive library of industry-standard barcode formats, and advanced graphics, images, and symbols support.
- You may be able to print serialized data (if supported by your label printing software). If you need to print serialized data, such as unique, consecutive serial numbers on each label, you’ll definitely need label design software or variable data printing software in order to do the job. BarTender 2016 is particularly noteworthy as not does it support variable data, it can also retrieve that data from external databases and enterprise systems.
Label printing software can also be used to send batch jobs to the printer, control and manage color for more realistic color reproductions and reduced ink costs, control cutting, encode RFID tags, and much more.
Like any other type of software, label printing software varies by developer. We recommend checking the following programs:
- BarTender 2016 — Various editions available. Download a free trial of BarTender 2016.
- NiceLabel Label and Barcode Design Software — Various editions available. Download a trial version of NiceLabel Designer Pro.