Using a portable label printer for accounting

I have noticed its less boring to do administrative tasks while traveling on a train.

Most things you only need an internet connection to do, which works well on the train and a LTE modem. Some things involve printing forms though, like expense reports and so on.

A portable printer can be expensive, or slow.

I came up with the idea to print most of the forms boilerplate on a laser, stick my receipts on them, and then print the remaining parts on a label printer. I then stick the label on the boilerplate form. Voila!

I thought this idea was fantastic, but my accounting team thought the idea wasn't so hot.

At any rate, here are some hints if you want to try this out.

I used the Brother QL-570 Label Printer, aquired from Kjell & Company.

It wasnt too expensive but a bit larger and heavier than I imagined.

Brother has the drivers you need:

Download and install the drivers like this:

4yum install ql570*

Initially I had some problems:

  • The printer shows up but doesnt immediately work at all
  • Installed the printer in cups web ui, still doesnt work, but this time the computer at least communicates with the printer, because the printer led goes from green to red
  • Then I changed the default size to something that matched the sticker tape I had mounted and then it printed! Even works fine from Inkscape etc, you just have to set the template size.

Then I wanted to print account information, and I used Latex to format the labels. This was slightly problematic. I modified the "labels" Latex example. After some trial and error I got the label properly formatted, mostly I didn't understand the "\usepackage[newdimens]{labels}", newdimmens, so the macros I used weren't parsed, wich I didn't immediately understand.

Then I got a pdf, and printed with Evince, but it was also hard to convince printing to work. In the print dialog, go to page handling:

1yes shrink to printable area
2no auto resize
3yes select page size using document page size

So at this point I can print qith the QL-570 as a normal printer from Inkscape or Evince, etc. I can make labels using Latex and print them.

The printer is small and portable enough for travel. The only problem with this printer is that it is a little bit too large and heavy for travel. Also it requires mains to work, which also isn't too great for travel.