Label Design and Print Software
Label design and print software is a key part of printing your barcode labels. You need software on a computer to control the labels the printer prints.
Most specialist barcode label printers (thermal transfer printers) are shipped with software you can use to print your labels right away. However, the software included with your label printer for making labels is usually the most simple version available.
If you want to save time, improve efficiency or have a degree of complexity in your operations, you need to consider more professional label making software. Read our introduction to label design software to help you decide what you need.
How to choose your label design and print software
Ease of use and productivity
Most label design software is equally easy to use. Generally, the rule applies, the more powerful the range of functions the less simple it is to use. Some applications can be set up to streamline data entry using forms you fill in and make it easy for use by end users. Additionally the higher end versions of the software can be automated - to the point where user involvement isn't needed.
Bartender and Nicelabel both have a choice of compliance label templates - designed to make compliance labels much easier for food allergen labelling, automotive, pharmaceutical, health and CLP Labels (known as GHS labels in North America).
Serial number printing is easily managed from most of these packages, with the higher end packages managing serial number printing in a central database - so different print locations don't print the same serial numbers.
What training is there available for you? Is there telephone support available? What videos can you watch? If you are needing to integrate with ERP and other business software, are there professional services available to help? See what help there is for you before committing. Not all software is supported in Europe or has a strong network of dealers.
Expert Labels Limited have been supporting organisations with label printing for over 20 years and are able to help you use your label design software with other business systems.
Most of these applications have a free cutdown version of the software, often shipped with a barcode printer. Additionally, most have a 30 day trial of the software available.
The professional label design packages, listed below, start at around £150 and rise into the £1,000s for large, multi-user installations.
When picking the right software for you, the saying "you get what you pay for" really rings true. Cheaper applications designed for consumers lack the business functions such as 2D barcodes, label design wizards, data entry forms and connections to a wide range of databases. Additionally, some of the consumer grade applications are prone to bugs.
ERP and Apple Mac Compatibility
None of the major brands of labelling software listed below are designed to work with Macs, although Peninsular Software have Mac and Windows compatible label design and print software. Contact us for more information.
Large ERP systems like Oracle and SAP are well catered for by the top end barcode design software. Bartender, Teklynx's top of the range package and Nicelabel all work with them, without the need for additional middleware.
Make sure your barcode design software has the range of barcode printing you need. Whilst all the professional versions (and many of the consumer grade) have the ability to design labels with standard barcodes, not all have 2D codes and some don't have GS1-128 barcode functions.
The best barcode software packages will also help you build GS1 barcodes - particularly GS1-128 (formerly known as UCC-128 and EAN-128). These barcodes are build up from components called GS1-128 application identifiers and can be difficult to master without software to help.
RFID - Radio Frequency Identification labels
There are no free versions of label printing software that enable RFID label encoding. Email us for advice on printing to RFID labels.
Testing and trial versions
The professional applications all have limited duration trial packages of their software. Please contact us to obtain trial versions of these packages.
Label Design and Print Software Reviews
These brief reviews cover just an outline of the software. For more information, contact us for specific advice for your situation or problems.
All these applications enable you to print text, include graphics in your label designs and include barcodes - both linear and 2D. Where they differ is their ability to connect to databases and spreadsheets and take that data and print it onto your labels.
Entry level versions of the software rarely include database connectivity. Most barcode label printers come with basic label printing software - Intermec and Datamax come with Seagull Scientific Bartender Ultralite (sometimes called NETira).
Easy to use software. Labelview is made for companies with mid-level labelling complexities. Like it's competitors, it's easy-to-use. Labelview can be used with any printer. It is built to run on Microsoft Windows only. Labelview is the entry level version of it's label design software, with Codesoft being a step up. Teklynx is a French based company with much of the software being developed in the united states. It has offices and support around the world. Contact us for prices.
Zebra Designer Basic is shipped free with Zebra Label Printers. It's a simple easy to use program that gets you up and running straight away. This application only runs on Microsoft Windows, with Zebra printers. The basic version does not enable you to connect to databases. To connect you label elements to Excel, Access and other data sources you will need to buy the Pro version of the software. Zebra Designer is not an enterprise level program - it doesn't have the ability to pool label templates on a network or integrate with large ERP systems. Contact us for prices.
Nicelabel is respected and powerful. It's been largely updated in it's latest release. It's written in Slovenia and has won awards around the world, leading it to be used by over a million users internationally. It has various levels starting with a simple label design package, leading up to a fully automated enterprise level of the software. It is well supported with support centres in different parts of the world. Nicelabel has a large library of compliance labels for food, automotive and pharmacy. It's enterprise version has centralised label templates, integration with SAP and Oracle, wide range of compliance labels. Contact us for prices.
Seagull Scientific Bartender
We recommend Seagull Scientific’s “Bartender” software for any application. We've worked with it for years, know it very well and can recommend the support available. It's one of the top professional label design programs and is used by many of the world's largest companies. This is a powerful and flexible programme and enables you to design and print any label you need, giving you the capability of easily managing large portfolios of label designs easily and efficiently. Several different versions are available to suit all situations and budgets. Contact us for prices.
For further information or EXPERT advice on label design and print software give us a call on 01359 271111.
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