Creative Force can support any printer that you can install on your computer and print from. However, there are a few things to take into consideration. This article is a guide on selecting the right approach and hardware for printing labels with Creative Force.
Deciding on how you want to print
The first thing you need to decide on is how you want to print from Creative Force. You can leverage the direct printing functionality that works with ZEBRA network printers or regular printing from the browser. Here are the pros and cons of each method.
Direct Printing for ZEBRA
Direct printing means that the print file is sent directly to the printer without any user interaction required. If you have a high-speed alternating flow where you check-in a sample and then want to print a single sample label. You need something that reacts really fast.
Direct printing does, however, require your printers to be accessible on the LAN via HTTPS. This can be done by implementing a proxy or by installing a certificate on the printer. This is not exactly “plug n’ play” and you will need a certain degree of IT capabilities to get this up and running.
High speed (No print dialog).
No user errors (No print dialog).
No drivers needed.
Great for both bulk and single print.
Requires IT skills to set up. See the description here.
Printing labels using regular printing is very easy to get up and running. It is, however, a bit slower when printing as it takes longer for the system to generate the label PDF, longer for the computer to display the OS print dialog, requires action from the user and finally, it is a bit harder for the printer to interpret the print job. This sounds like a lot but if you are printing labels in bulk, you will be alright with this. For a high-speed alternating flow, it will be too slow and require too much user interaction.
Plug n’ play
Great for bulk printing.
Support for other printer brands than ZEBRA.
Slower than direct printing.
You need drivers. Some brands do not offer good macOS drivers.
Other things to consider
DPI means dots per inch. The higher this number is the better the printer is at making fine details. A lot of printers have 200 dpi as standard but can be purchased in versions with higher dpi. If you are using very small labels and want to put a lot of information on them, it’s best to go for 300 dpi or above as text and barcodes will work at a smaller size. In most cases, 200 dpi will be enough.
Direct Thermal Vs. Thermal Transfer
Better for graphics.
No need for ink, toner or ribbons.
The print might fade over time.
Great for labels.
Creative Force Recommends!
For Direct Printing
You need a ZEBRA network printer. We recommend the newer models with Link-OS® as you will be able to install the certificate needed for HTTPS directly on the printer.
ZEBRA ZD420 Direct Thermal Printer (ZD420d)
For Regular Printing
Your main concern should be on driver support. Find a printer brand with a good reputation that has great drivers for the OS you are using on the computers where you will be printing from.