A New Dymo Label Printer
Many years ago, around about the time programmable calculators were the hop topic, I purchased a DYMO labelling device. Shaped like a futuristic ray gun, this hand-held device had a circular component which you turned to get the alphanumeric character you wanted and a pistol-grip handle that would emboss the current character on a piece of plastic tape when you squeezed the handle. Much later I replaced the original unit with another DYMO labeller that had its own keypad, LCD screen, was powered by six AA batteries and again used plastic tape for its labels. These two models were responsible for the labels that identified my extensive collection of audio tapes.
Now the arrival of another labelling device from DYMO, which uses plastic tape for its labels, has arrived to challenge my continued use of the handheld models. This latest DYMO model is the LabelManager Plug and Play. Unlike the two models mentioned earlier, this new label printer does not have its own dedicated means of entering data and so needs to be connected to a PC or Mac computer via USB. Prior to connecting the LabelManager to a computer you do need to insert the supplied lithium-ion battery pack, which arrives partially charged, and the DYMO D1 label cassette that is included in the box. I found that inserting the battery pack was a more fiddler operation than slotting in the label cassette but neither was too complicated.
When you connect the DYMO LabelManager to your computer you need to ensure that you make use of a powered USB port otherwise the new device might not work properly. When attached to a computer, a power / status light on top of the unit will glow blue to indicate the printer is ready for use. The software that creates the labels comes pre-installed on the DYMO LabelManager so no actual installation is required by the user. You can run this DYMO Label Light software direct from the LabelManager device or, if more convenient, you can copy the executable file to a computer and run it from there.
The DYMO Label Light software presents a Windows interface that is divided into three horizontal panes. Running across the top of the screen is the familiar collection of menu options, general toolbar and font selection bar. Among the tools available are those for capturing an area of the screen for insertion into a label; selecting to print a horizontal or vertical label; and adding a border around your label. As well as using the screen grab option, you can also import an image or insert text from the clipboard as part of a label.
Whatever fonts are accessible by your computer immediately become available for use when creating your labels. You simple need to select the one you want from a drop-down pick list. Options are available to adjust the size plus add bold, italic and underline attributes. If an image is included in the label then there are options to rotate and crop the image.
The central area presents a visual representation of the current label. Making use of WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get), the label will show any image and text in the chosen font with the selected size and attributes. Vertical and horizontal rulers are displayed alongside the label.
The final pane provides tools for width and length adjustments of the label. You also get a slider bar for adjusting the zoom level of the label and a counter for setting the number of labels required. Along with an icon showing the status of the label maker, there is a button to activate the print process for the current project. Once printed, a push flap on top of the LabelManager slices of the printer portion of tape. You can then remove the backing cover and stick the label to an appropriate object. The whole procedure is quick and produces labels that have a professional look. Admittedly the text and images are in black but the effect is visually appealing.
The DYMO LabelManager has been priced at £49.99 with one cassette (black text on a transparent background) included. The printer supports the use of 6, 9 and 12mm width sizes of tape. Checking the DYMO website revealed that replacement cartridges were priced at £17.05, £18.23 and £19.54 for the supported 6, 9 and 12mm sizes giving you three metres of tape length. This does seem very expensive especially as at least one office supply company has these cassettes listed at around £4 cheaper. Even then the same office supply company is selling the cassette used by my DYMO handheld unit at half the price and you get 4 metres of tape in each cassette. The LabelManager is a nice product that is handicapped by the price of its consumables.
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