How to Choose the Best ID Card Software

  

ID card software programs all have the functionality to design and print cards and badges, but thatís where the similarities end. The following will help you narrow down which program will best meet your needs.

Basic, Design Only Software

This is the entry-level software needed to print ID cards with no need to maintain a database. It connects to a single workstation through a USB connection, and doesnít talk to any outside databases. Cards are printed one at a time with no batch printing possible. You can add a 1D barcode or encode magnetic stripes on an ID card with this software.

Enhanced, Design & Save Software

This is a mid-level option that allows you to create and save cardholder information in an external database. Youíll be able to search for cardholder records and include information from an outside database. Normally a single workstation installation, the Design & Save software can print cards one at a time or in batches and can add barcodes and encode magnetic stripes. The beauty of this software is that you can work with unlimited record storage.

Premium Software

The Rolls Royce of ID card software, premium software offers advanced card encoding, including smart cards and enhanced security features like holograms. You get all of the functionality of the first two types of software, but you can connect to more types of databases with a premium software. You can also connect to a network so multiple workstations can use the software and print ID cards remotely from the same system.

How to Choose

Consider the following four questions before deciding on a software package for your ID cards.

How will you use cardholder information? If you want to reprint lost cards without re-keying in information or pull information from an external database to create your cards, youíll need a mid-level or premium software package with database capabilities. Database capable software also allows you to make global changes to your card records rather than update each one by hand. If youíre only planning on printing out a one-time card for members with no need to save their information, a basic level software program is the perfect choice.

How many workstations need to print cards? Depending on the number of computers you need to print cards with, you might need to purchase a premium software package that can be installed on a network. This will allow several workstations to create, access, and print ID cards to local printers, especially handy if you have multiple locations.

Are you using smart cards or basic cards? If youíre using smart cards with chips and antennae, youíll need the appropriate software package that encodes this information. All software packages will print basic, one-dimensional barcodes, but if you need to print a 2D barcode or something more robust with additional security features, youíll need a mid-level or premium software.

How much designing do you want to do? All ID card software comes with pre-defined templates you can choose from and lets you include regular text with multiple fields. Mid-level and premium software let you edit and change templates or create your own design. If you want to include conditional layers and objects that print only for certain designated database conditions, you should choose a premium software.

Next Steps

If you have a good idea of the software package you want to produce your ID cards, click here for information on available software. If youíre still uncertain, call one of our experts today who can walk you through your requirements and your budget to find just the right package for your needs.

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