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Printing address labels by the sheet on a standard office printer not only requires frequent changing of the paper tray contents but often leads to wasted labels. A dedicated label printer like the Brother QL-560 avoids these frustrations while introducing exciting new possibilities such as printing on clear or coloured film, printing a ‘banner’ on continuous label, printing barcodes, date and time stamping, and the use of a very versatile address book which can import records from Outlook.
Using ‘direct thermal’ technology, the QL-560 needs no ribbon or toner and boasts a print speed of up to 56 labels per minute although, even giving speed precedence over quality, typical address labels print at a rate closer to 36 per minute.
The printer’s capacity to take label stock up to 62mm wide allows not only a good range of oblong die-cuts to be printed but even CD labels (of sorts) and other round labels. And at 300 dpi (dots per inch) a very creditable job is made of clip-art pictures and half-tone images – all of which may only be reproduced in monochrome, of course. If you’re technically minded you can go beyond the usual settings of landscape versus portrait, brightness and contrast, to take control of such things as dither and ‘error diffusion’ to improve image quality.
Along with a good range of ready-made clip-art and other images, with P-touch you’ll find you can design your label with fancy fonts tilted at amusing angles, decorative borders, lines, circles and rectangles (with Shift key control to maintain aspect ratio), mirror printing for ‘through glass’ viewing of transparent labels, a ready-made calendar with visual emphasis for earmarking dates, tables (ideal for shipping labels), bar codes to 17 protocols including ISBN for book dealers, and even screen capture for printing whatever you see on your computer screen! All these elements can be inserted into any of the ready-made label templates for speedy results.
During installation, if you include the necessary add-ins, you can arrange for the ‘Brother P-touch’ icon to appear in the toolbars of both Word and Excel. Using this facility in Word, for example, all you have to do is select the text you wish to place in a label, click the P-touch icon, and P-touch will launch alongside Word. Hey presto, a label appears containing the text you selected.
But how ‘user friendly’ is the P-touch software? And how tactile is the printer? Well, the printer couldn’t be simpler. With the cover lifted, the label roll drops into place without a fuss and it takes only a second to pass the label under the print head, assisted by a small lever, to be ready to print. There’s an on/off switch, an Advance button to position the label for printing, and an electric Guillotine button for cutting the label on demand (irrespective of P-touch settings). When printing on continuous label, this cutter can be set to automatic mode to snip off each label more quickly and tidily than you’ll ever manage with a pair of scissors!
The P-touch software is highly intuitive with toolbars and buttons similar to many of those found in other Windows applications, their purpose being largely self-evident. The design software is rather like a swimming pool with a deep end and a shallow end. By keeping to the default settings and simpler features you can get the average printing job done in the safety of the shallow end, whilst the deep end exists for anyone requiring more sophisticated labels.
What’s in the box:
- P-touch Editor software
- User Manual on CD
- Label catch tray
- Roller cleaning sheet
- USB lead
- Mains power lead
- Storage box/carry case containing the following DK labels: 100 standard address labels, 30 CD/DVD labels, 8 metres of 62mm wide continuous label, 250 round labels 24mm diameter.
Dimensions & Supported Operating Systems
Dimensions: 14cm wide, 20cm deep, 15.5cm tall Print: Direct thermal, 300 dpi.
Windows 2000, XP, Vista; Mac to 10.4.9