The Complete ID
Printer Buyer's Guide

This guide walks you through all the important considerations you'll need to know when selecting an ID card printer.

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Intro to ID Card Software

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Intro to ID Card Software

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ID card software helps you design card templates, enter and store cardholder data, and manage card printing. With card software you can design cards with any style or look, along with encoding cards and adding visual security elements.

  • ID Card Software

    There are several elements to ID card design software including the card designer, the database management, and visitor or temp badge management. Get a quick overview of these software elements and how they are used.

    • Card Design Software

      Using ID card design software you can quickly and easily add design a new card, fill in the cardholder fields, and print the card.

    • Visitor Management Software

      Visitor management is an important part of a business’s security plan, allowing you to know who is in your building at all times.

    • Cardholder Database

      The cardholder database stores all your cardholder information, including information not printed on the card, for easy review.

  • Encoding Options

    There are several ways to encode cards, each designed to hold a different style or amount of data – not all ID card software can encode every type of card, so be aware of what type of encoding your software can do.

    • Barcode Encoding

      Barcodes are the most common type of encoding, a feature found in almost all ID card software from the most basic level to the advanced versions.

    • Magnetic Stripe Encoding

      Requiring specialized cards and a printer upgrade, magnetic stripe encoding is more expensive than barcodes but available in almost all card software.

    • Smart Card & RFID Encoding

      A specialized form of encoding, smart cards and RFID cards use chips or wireless antennas. Smart card encoding is often an advanced feature in card software.

    • Proximity Card Encoding

      Often found only in the most advanced card software, proximity cards are used for access control to unlock doors in place of a traditional lock and key system.

  • Data Capture

    Data capture devices, from a basic barcode scanner up to an access control card door locking system, allows you to read and transmit the data stored on an encoded ID card. Each data capture devices is designed to work with specific types of cards.

    • Barcode Readers

      Barcode readers are small devices, often handheld, that scans and decodes the data stored on an ID card’s barcode.

    • Magnetic Stripe Readers

      Magnetic stripe readers are used to swipe and decode the information stored in ID cards with magnetic stripes.

    • ID Card Readers

      Smart card readers, which include readers for RFID and proximity cards, can decode and sometimes send data back to technology chips in ID cards.

    • Signature & Fingerprint Capture

      Signature and fingerprint capture devices do not scan or read ID cards; instead they are used to capture images of biometrics that can be printed on an ID card or stored in a database.

  • Visual Security

    Adding visual security elements to your ID cards will make it easier to identify authentic cards and help prevent card tampering or illegal duplication. See the different ways you can add security by designing cards with specific features.

    • Design Options

      The way you design a card, and the specific features you include, can help you increase card security. Options include UV printing, cardholder signatures, or ghosting.

    • Manual Adhesive Options

      If you need to increase card security but you cannot replace all your cards currently in use, consider adding a manual adhesive - these holographic stickers work on any card.

  • Photo ID Cameras

    Photo ID cameras are used to capture cardholder photos, an important feature on many ID cards. Photos help you identify the cardholder, preventing someone for entering with another person's card.