Five applications to expedite your printing tasks

Even if you've gone mostly paperless, you're still likely to run into a few situations that require a printer. These apps are geared toward those needs.

Video: Five handy apps that can simplify various printing chores From grabbing and printing screenshots to generating barcodes to creating business cards, these apps will save you time and effort.

Paper has fallen somewhat out of fashion, but printers are still being used for a variety of purposes. In fact, a number of apps are available to address various printer tasks. This article lists five such applications.

Note: This article is also available as an image gallery and a video hosted by TechRepublic columnist Tom Merritt.

1: ScreenHunter Free

ScreenHunter Free (Figure A) is designed to help you to get screen captures from your computer. Although not really a "printer utility" per se, the tool can dump a screen image directly to your printer. This capability can be quite handy. Last week, for example, I needed to print an airline reservation email, and because of the way the HTML-based message was formatted, it simply wouldn't print correctly. Performing a screen dump did the trick nicely.

Figure A

Figure A

ScreenHunter is also quite versatile. It lets you capture things like a rectangular area, a window, a scrolling window, a Web cam, a video screen, and much more. It even supports capturing the mouse pointer, multi-monitor content, and translucent windows. Captured content can be saved in a variety of formats or sent to an editor, the clipboard, email, and yes, even the printer.

2: Print My Fonts

Print My Fonts (Figure B) is a free tool geared toward users who work with a lot of fonts. The tool is simple. You can enter a text phrase and then display or print the text using any or all of the fonts installed on your computer.

Figure B

Figure B

If the idea of printing hundreds of font samples doesn't sound appealing, don't forget that there are PDF printer drivers that allow you to use the Windows print function to create a PDF file instead of using paper.

3: Universal Barcode Maker

Universal Barcode Maker (Figure C) is kind of a niche utility, but it can be handy in certain situations. The concept is really basic. You specify a value or a block of text, and the program turns your entry into an exportable bar code using the bar code format and the size you specify.

Figure C

Figure C

Universal Barcode Maker sells for $59.95, but a free trial version is available for download.

4: Business Card Designer Plus

As you might guess, Business Card Designer Plus (Figure D) lets you create own business cards using your printer. With the help a simple wizard, you can generate your business cards—or you can interact with the application manually, which gives you a bit more control over the output.

Figure D

Figure D

The software includes a number of business card templates, ranging from basic to corporate to fancy. There is even an option to use a cloud-based template gallery.

Business Card Designer Plus sells for $29.95, but a free trial version is available for download.

5: DesignPro Limited Edition

DesignPro Limited Edition (Figure E) is a free tool from label maker Avery. It can help you create labels, business cards, and all kinds of other printed materials. As you would probably expect, the software recognizes a huge variety of Avery stock and includes templates for printing to your selected stock type.

Figure E

Figure E

I have to admit that DesignPro really surprised me. When I installed it, I expected it to be somewhat generic. However, the tool has a full-blown editor that is equipped with lots of bells and whistles. It is even possible to import data from Microsoft Office into your printed project.

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Other go-to apps?

Do you have a few handy apps that simplify or expedite your printing chores? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.