How to Choose a Photo ID Card 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 choose an ID card software package that’s right for you, consider the fourHow to Choose ID Card Software questions below.

1. What are your database requirements?

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

With database capability also comes the ability to batch print a number of badges in one step. Additionally, database-capable software provides the ability to 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.

2. Will you be installing your 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.

3. Will you be encoding, or writing data, to your cards?

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. Some software also enables 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.

4. Do you require additional card security features?

Some mid-level and fully-featured software programs offer card security, such as 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. Additionally, some software allows you to set passwords for the printer or set specific hours of printer operation that trigger messages to a system manager in the event of use during unauthorized times.

How Does Photo ID Software Stack Up?
Entry-level Software

  • Limited internal database only
  • USB connection – software is on a single PC
  • Add 1D barcodes

Mid-level Software

  • Limited internal database capabilities
  • Ethernet connection – software installed on a network
  • Add 1D and 2D barcodes
  • Encode magnetic stripes

Fully-featured Software

  • Advanced external database capability
  • Ethernet connection and optional WiFi – software installed on a network
  • Add 1D and 2D barcodes
  • Encode magnetic stripes
  • Encode smart cards

Before investing in ID software, take advantage of free software trials so that you can test drive before you buy! Contact an ID Professional at (800) 321-4405 to learn more about software trials and which software might be best for you!

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