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What Questions Should I Ask Before Buying ID Software?
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What Questions Should I Ask Before Buying ID Software?

All ID card software programs have the ability to design and print cards, but some offer more advanced features than others. To help you decide which ID card software package is right for you, consider the questions below:

Do I need an internal database?

If you want to easily reprint lost cards without having to reenter information or reupload images, you will need software with an internal database. Most entry-level software packages do not include an internal database.

Will I be connecting to an outside database? 

If you need to share card data with an outside database, you will need mid-level or fully-featured software with open database connectivity (ODBC). Some software packages allow for ODBC import but not export. Be sure to check the ODBC compatibility of the software package you’re looking at—some are compatible with more formats than others.

Will I operate the software on a network? 

If you will be sharing card data or printing over a LAN or WAN, you will need software that supports network connectivity. Most software providers offer master licenses that support network connectivity via additional software licenses. Only fully-featured software is network compatible, however, not all network-capable software is ODBC and vice versa.

Do I or will I ever have a need to do batch printing? 

For example, do you have an Excel spreadsheet of names you would like to import into your ID software in order to print ID cards for a number of different people? If so, you need database ID software. There is more to database software than the database!

May I need to make mass changes to my cards? 

Some software packages are available with a batch update capability so you can make global changes to your ID card files, rather than update each card file by hand. This is important if you anticipate making changes to large quantities of cards. 

Will I be printing two-dimensional barcodes? 

All card software packages enable you to print one-dimensional or traditional barcodes in various formats. If you need to print a 2D barcode (e.g. PDF417), you should choose mid-level or fully-featured software that provides this specific capability.

Will I need to encode contact or contactless smart cards? 

Certain software packages enable contact and/or contactless card encoding. Contact smart cards have a visible memory chip embedded on the card surface. Contactless smart cards have a chip and antenna within the card. Contact our ID Specialists to discuss your needs and these applications.

Does my application require additional card security? 

Some mid-level and fully-featured software programs offer additional card security using image ghosting by adding a smaller, translucent duplicate of the main image during the regular printing process. This is a great way to add security to your cards with no additional card printing cost. There are also software products on the market today to enhance the security of your card printing system. Some mid-level and fully-featured software allows you to set passwords for the printer itself, or set specific hours of printer operation that trigger messages to a system manager in the event of use during unauthorized times.

If someone is just learning about software, they’re probably not familiar enough with brands to have a preference. Let’s work them into a closing paragraph similar in style to the closing paragraph in the About ID Software article.


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