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March 9, 2009 1:11 PM   Subscribe

Label Printing Pros: I need help coming up with the most efficient way to print a series of labels.

I need to print a series of labels for some specimens. There are 90 unique sample sources. Each unique sample will be split up into 35 or so pieces. I would like to be able to load the blank labels into the printer, and have them print out in order.

Here is an example of what the labels for one sample would be:

Project Name
Sample #
Date / Identifier

Throughout the entire 3150 label series, the project label would stay the same. The date would need to be one of 5 dates. The sample number would change every 35 labels. The identifiers will be varied, but each sample number will contain the same number of occurrences of each identifier.

Is there a better program for doing what I want to do than something in the Microsoft Office Suite? My current plan involves a lot of copying and pasting, and I'd like to avoid that.
posted by demon666 to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You lost me at "90 unique sample sources." Do you mean that the information is coming from 90 different documents/databases/spreadsheets?

The easiest way to do what you want is to import all of the source data into a table in a Word doc, and then use a mail merge to create the labels. But maybe that's where I'm misunderstanding you -- you'd have to copy info from 90 different sources into a single one?
posted by mudpuppie at 1:34 PM on March 9, 2009

mudpuppie: He/she has 90 samples. Each sample has 35 pieces. The labels will be:

Sample #1
Feb 2 / (1)

Sample #1
Feb 2 / (2)


Sample #1
Feb 2 / (35)

...and then continue similarly with Sample #2 through Sample #90. Hence 3150. Mail merge (data in Excel; labels in Word) is definitely an easy, mainstream way to do this. The question is, where is our demon friend's data right now? Is it in Excel? Could it be moved there easily?
posted by tapesonthefloor at 2:22 PM on March 9, 2009

Response by poster: I guess an analogy would be 90 different rocks, split up into 35 pieces each. Each one goes into a little baggy with a label on the outside. Some rock fragments would be identified as coming from the exterior, some from the interior. The date would be the day that I decide to split the rock up.
posted by demon666 at 2:24 PM on March 9, 2009

Best answer: If I were comfortable with Office but had no ability to script, and this were my task, I'd whip up an Excel spreadsheet with one row per label, and use that as a data source for a mail merge.

Excel's drag-to-auto-fill thing is going to be much faster and more accurate than copying and pasting in Word.
posted by flabdablet's sock puppet at 2:26 PM on March 9, 2009

Best answer: I've had really good results with labels. You should check out their software (which eventually just produces .docs) and see if there is some sort of sequencer type tag you can put in there. The software is free to download. Sorry if this isn't what you're looking for.
posted by pyro979 at 6:51 PM on March 9, 2009

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