Reviewed by John S Davison


Issue 31

Jan/Feb 88

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XLEnt Software

LabelMaker is a useful desktop accessory providing a quick and easy method of creating, editing and printing labels. It was originally commissioned for use by XLEnt themselves for producing address labels, as no other available software met their needs. You may think 19.95 is a lot to pay for a program to print labels, but much thought has gone into this product to make it really usable.

As it's a desktop accessory it's easy to call up from within other GEM applications (a word processor, for instance). This makes it eminently suitable for printing one-off labels, or even direct printing onto an envelope if your printer will allow it.

Address (or other) labels may be up to six lines long, plus two further lines for additional non-printed data, comments, etc. Labels can be created and saved to disk as single items, or added to the program's integral database. Strangely, you can't delete labels from the database, but this may be done with a separate text editor or word processor. You can have several different databases if you wish. The advantage of the database is that it has useful search facilities, allowing you to retrieve one or a series of labels matching your search criteria. Also, XLEnt claim the database format to be compatible with many other word processor, database, and mailmerge programs, so data could be interchanged between them. Format details are provided in the instruction manual.

Included in the package is a printer settings desk accessory. This can be used independently of LabelMaker and lets you send appropriate codes to set up your printer to produce a particular style of characters. As supplied the program allows you to choose character pitches from Large, Elite, Small, Tiny, and to use Italic, Bold, and Proportional options. You can also reset the printer, execute a form feed, and toggle 'skip over perforations' and the printer's 'out of paper' detector. They're selected by clicking on buttons in the dialogue box displayed when you invoke LabelMaker.

These default settings are designed to work with an Epson FX80 printer, but a couple of extra tables are included for use with other printers. By using a separate text editor or word processor you can produce your own printer table. This means the buttons may be customised with whatever names you chose, and to produce whatever character styles your printer can handle.

When printing labels you can specify horizontal and vertical positioning, ensuring each address is aligned with your label stationery layout. You can also state the number of copies of each label required. It handles only single strip label sheets, not the type with several labels in rows across each sheet.

The program also has optional print spooling (using memory buffering), allowing label printing to continue while you use the computer for something else.

LabelMaker is a very useful program, made even more useful by being constantly available as a desk accessory. It could soon repay its cost in time saved.