Decent windows CD-labelling software?
January 19, 2007 2:01 AM   Subscribe

Is there any windows software for designing labels for my mix CD's which doesn't completely suck?

I'm hoping someone can give me a recommendation for some software that I can run on windows to generate labels for (audio) mix CD's that I burn. For the most part, I'm interested in stuff that I can use to print to those adhesive CD labels packs that one can buy at office supply stores (eg, the ones that stick on the top of the CD itself - I know this is not great for the CD's longevity, but that doesn't worry me much since these are mostly audio CD's coming from mp3 sources, and the mp3's are backed up elsewhere).

I don't need anything incredibly fancy, but I do have some requirements for the software:

* It should be able to import a playlist (probably m3u) and I should then be able to print a track list on the CD itself. I'm OK with writing a script to generate a .txt file from a playlist to feed into the program of need be, but I don't don't don't want to need to copy and paste from Windows Explorer into a track list in the labelling application.

* It should be able to bend text around the axis/center of the CD, so I can write the album title in letters around the diameter of the disc if I want to.

* It should be able to print on most of the CD labels I am able to buy around here (from office supply stores). I don't mind a small offset, but I'd like for there to be no white arcs showing on the CD after I'm done. I'm OK with buying only one specific type of CD label brand to go with the software if need be.

* It should be able to use a jpg/gif/png/etc file as a background to the image.

* It would be nice if it could handle jewel-box type labels as well.

* Open-source would be nice, just on principle.

*The ability to print labels for data CD/DVD's would be a bonus, too.

* It should not be as buggy as bejesus.

Up until now I've mostly been using the CD-label application which comes with Nero to make my labels (I mostly use Nero to burn the CD's themselves). It actually meets most of my requirements, but sadly, it is far buggier than bejesus and I can never get it to match its output to the labels I buy.

I am by no means a Photoshop or Illustrator expert, but I do own both of those programs. I've tried to print some labels based on manufacturer's illustrator templates before, but found it pretty difficult to actually get Illustrator to do what I wanted it to, so I'm hoping for something a little more accessible.
posted by whir to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Putting adhesive labels on CDs is not recommended. The labels will often come off and gum up the drive.
posted by yclipse at 5:01 AM on January 19, 2007

SureThing CD Labeler which I use for burning LightScribe labels does almost everything you've asked for. It also can print on regular paper labels.
posted by riffola at 5:39 AM on January 19, 2007

For about a hundred bucks you can buy a inkject printer that will print right on the backs of CD-Rs. You have to buy CDs that have this slightly powdery white back, but they're not really much more expensive than normal ones. This would be a lot better than labels.

Those stickers are awful, they're almost impossible to get to register right on the paper.

Personally, I just bought a two big packs of Sharpies in all the colors they make them in and just draw all over the backs of CDs. It's a lot of fun, and my CD books are like sketchbooks.
posted by andrewzipp at 6:46 AM on January 19, 2007

Sharpies are not great for CD lifespan either. That top layer is where the data lives and its just a thin layer of foil. There are permanent markers made specifically for CD writing. I think the only think that makes them special is they are water based.
posted by chairface at 8:07 AM on January 19, 2007

I use photoshop. I didn't use a manufacturers template, I put one of the label sheets in a flat bed scanner, squared up the scan to match a sheet pinting out, and use it in the background as a guide.

It probably took about 30 minutes or more to set up, but now that it is, it's really easy to whip out labels with the full power of photoshop available. There won't be labelling software that can compete with a suite like photoshop.

I also did a few other slightly more advanced things that are kind of optional, but which I prefer, such as cropping the non-printable area off the page, placing a few guides, making a layer at the top that is a mask of solid white with cut-out areas showing the label surface (so I can easily paste in a square image behind it, and only see a round CD label), etc etc.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:20 PM on January 19, 2007

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