Is there a free "Trial" version available?
A : Absolutely! Our free Trial Edition works like a full-working version of BarTender for 30 days!
(After this time, you can still continue creating templates, but you will need to purchase the full-working
version in order to continue printing.)
How do I install BarTender?
A : BarTender can be installed from the CD you received when you purchased BarTender or you can simply download the
Chapter 2 of BarTender's Getting Started Manual gives detailed instructions covering installation of the BarTender Suite and Drivers by Seagull™.
You can download a PDF version of the Getting Started Manual here:
Getting Started Manual
If I have an older version of BarTender, can I still download it for free?
A : Downloads for supported versions of BarTender are available on the BarTender
What operating systems can BarTender be installed on?
A : The current version of BarTender is compatible with Windows Server 2003 (SP1 and higher), Server 2008, Server 2008 R2, Server 2012, XP (SP3 and higher),
Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. Including all 32-bit and 64-bit (x64) editions.
If you are using an older version of BarTender, you can check the
Legacy Support Page for a full rundown on Windows compatibility with legacy versions of BarTender.
Although BarTender can only be installed on Windows based operating systems, using our various integration tools,
BarTender can be used in almost any environment that has at least one Windows machine available to install it on. More information on BarTender integration
can be found here:
If your version of BarTender is not compatible with the version of Windows you intend
to use, you will need to contact our sales department for details on updating your
software. Click on the link below for the contact details of our regional offices.
Contact Information for all offices
What is software activation? Where can I learn more about it?
A : Please see the
white paper for complete information about activating your copy
How do I move an activated copy of BarTender (or the Seagull License Server) from one computer to another?
A : Moving an activated copy of the software is a simple two-step process. First, make sure that you have your
Product Key Code on hand, as you will need this to activate the product on your new computer. Once you have that, simply
deactivate the software from the computer it is currently activated on by accessing the Activation Wizard in
BarTender's Help menu. Then use your product key code to activate the software on the new computer using the same activation wizard.
Activation white paper if you have any questions about the activation process.
If you are moving the Seagull License Server, BarTender's 30 day grace period will allow you to make this move without interrupting printing of the BarTender clients.
Just make sure your BarTender clients have access to the new computer hosting Seagull License Server, and that you configure Seagull License Server to use
the same port. To minimize downtime, you can install (but not activate) the License Server on the new computer before deactivating it on the old computer.
See the Seagull License Server section of this FAQ for more information on the Seagull License Server and BarTender's Grace Period.
I am new to BarTender and template design. Where do I start?
A : A "Getting Started" manual is included with each package of software.
This provides clear, concise information on how to get up and running with BarTender.
If you have misplaced this manual or you have not yet purchased a license, you can
download a PDF version from the link below:
Getting Started Manual
Our website also provides numerous training videos that provide a step by step guide
to walk you through common BarTender questions. These videos can be found at the
Software Training Videos
We also have a BarTender user forum where you can browse through questions asked by other users of BarTender
and ask your own questions.
BarTender User Forum
Is BarTender compatible with printers that don't have a Seagull printer driver?
A : Yes, BarTender can be used with any printer that has a true Windows printer
driver, including, for example, most laser and ink jet printers.
Seagull Scientific is the world's largest developer of Windows printer drivers for
thermal printers, supporting over 2800 models from over 60 printer companies. "Drivers
by Seagull" can help you maximize your printers' performance. For the details on
Seagull's drivers, please follow the link below:
"The Advantage of Drivers by Seagull" Whitepaper
Do you have any pre-made templates that I can use?
A : Yes, BarTender comes with a range of pre-made templates for several major retailers. During installation,
these templates are placed on your computer's hard-drive in the following directory: My Documents > BarTender > Formats.
When printing, the fonts for the text objects on the printed label look different
than the fonts that are on my screen. Why is this?
A : In the on-screen design view the text can only be displayed with a Windows true type font. If you are printing your
text with a printer based device font, it may look a bit different when printed. BarTender has the ability to simulate how the
printer based font will look using true type fonts that are installed on the PC. Sometimes the printed results will look identical,
other times they may appear slightly different. It purely depends on the true type fonts installed in Windows and how well they
match the printer based font being used. Based on the information BarTender gets back from the driver and Windows about the printer
based font, it does the best job possible in giving you a good representation of what the output will look like.
How can I share the same data between more than one template object?
A : In the Professional (or higher) edition of BarTender, you can use Named Data Sources to share data between multiple
data sources. To start, simply open the properties of the object you want to share data from, go to the Data Source page,
and then click the Change Data Source Name wizard to the right of the Name field. This wizard will allow you to give the data source a unique name.
You can then access the Data Source Name wizard from any other data source in your template, select the same Data Source Name
from the list of named data sources, and the two data sources will share the same underlying data. You can also access any Named Data Sources
from custom applications using BarTender's .NET SDK, ActiveX interface, or even BarTender XML Script.
If you would like to share the value of an entire object to a new data source, you can select Object Value as the data source type
on the data source that you want to share information to. Once you've done that, you will be able to select the name of the object
you want the data source to pull data from. You will have the option to choose different values based on the type of object that you are sharing
data from (e.g. Main Data Source, Human Readable Text, Encoded Data, etc.).
More information on using these methods can be found in BarTender's Help system by searching for "Naming and Sharing Data Sources"
Can I use BarTender with my current database?
A : Yes, you can! BarTender comes pre-configured for easy connection to many popular database platforms (like Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server),
but you can use BarTender with any database that has an OLEDB provider or an ODBC driver.
This video tutorial walks you through connecting a BarTender template to your database
Reading Data from a Database
Why does my barcode seem to "jump" when I try to resize it?
A : The X-dimension setting of a barcode specifies the width of the barcode.
This in fact adjusts the number of dots a printer uses for the width of the narrowest
element of the barcode. All other bars of greater width grow in ratio to the narrowest
bar as you expand the barcode's width.
The size of the dot and the X-dimension are determined by the selected printer's
resolution. A dot represents the size of the smallest mark the printer can print. Each
step in the X-dimension increases the narrowest element by a single dot of the printer.
The printer resolution is important because it's impossible to increase the narrowest
elements by fractions of a dot. It can only increase by a full extra dot. Of course all
wider barcode elements grow in ratio to this.
For example if the narrow element is 1 dot wide and the widest element is 10, when we
increase the X-dimension by 1, so that the narrow element is 2, the widest element will
now be 20. This accounts for the "jumping" in the barcode's width when you increase the
X-dimension. The higher the resolution of the printer, the smaller these increments will
be, because the size of a single dot will be smaller.
We do not advise that you try working around this physical limitation of the printer by
exporting the barcode object as a graphic and then importing it back into your design
as a picture object. Although a picture object can be scaled to any dimension desired,
it will result in a poor quality barcode and may be unreadable for a barcode scanner.
BarTender allows you to specify a target x-dimension of your barcode, which will tell
BarTender to always render your barcode as close to the target x-dimension as possible.
This feature can be found in the properties of the barcode on the Symbology and Size page.
Click on the Wizard button to the right of X Dimension.
Why am I not able to print a Code 128 check digit in the human readable portion
of my barcode?
A : It is not possible to print a Code 128 check digit in the human readable portion
of the barcode, because the check digit has the possibility of being a non-printable character
such as a space, tab or control character. If you need a check digit for your barcode to
produce a visible character, then you should create a custom check digit in addition to the
symbology's built-in check digit. This custom check digit can be generated using a VB script,
which takes the barcode data as its input.
Are there any pre-made examples of barcode standards, such as GS1 barcodes, that I can use and modify?
A : Yes there are! Click the barcode icon and select More Barcodes to open the Barcode Selector.
The navigation bar on the left side of the Barcode Selector lets you choose from dozens of pre-defined
barcodes broken down by Application and by Symbology. Once you find the barcode you need, simply double
click it, and then click on a blank area in your template to add it to your template design.
How do I know what kind of barcode to use?
A : If your barcodes will only be used for an internal process, you should choose the barcode
that best suits your needs based on the type of data being encoded, the amount of data being encoded, and
the device from which it will be scanned. If you are creating barcodes that will be used outside your
company , you should check with the company or industry council to see what requirements they have.
What versions of Windows are your printer drivers compatible with?
A : The newest "Drivers by Seagull" are fully compatible with all editions
of Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 as well as Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2008 R2, and 2012, including 32 and
64 bit versions. Follow the link below to download:
Drivers Download Page - Latest
Our last driver release to support Windows 2000 was 7.2.1. Our last driver release to support Windows 98 and ME was v7.0.6. Our last driver
release to support Windows 95 and NT4 was v6.9.3. Those older driver sets, and also
our final drivers for Windows 3.1, can be downloaded at the following link:
Older Drivers Download Page
Are your printer drivers compatible with Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Services)
and Citrix Xenapp (MetaFrame)?
A : Yes, all our Seagull printer drivers have been compatible with these two
platforms for some time. However, it is recommended you always use the latest version
available for the version of Windows in use to get the best performance and reliability.
For more information on our support for the Terminal Server and Citrix platforms,
please take a look at the white paper found at the following link:
Using BarTender With Terminal Services and Citrix MetaFrame
How do I adjust template specific printer settings (such as printing darkness) within
BarTender or my driver?
A : When you open the Printing Preferences dialog by right-clicking on the printer driver
icon in the Printers folder of Windows, you can change the default settings of the driver for
that particular user of the PC. When a new document is created (in BarTender for instance), the
settings will start off using the same settings found in the Printing Preferences dialog.
BarTender saves a copy of these printing preference settings with the template design. In this way
the settings can be adjusted on a per template basis, without the different settings interfering with
each other. When you make a change from within BarTender, you will only be modifying the settings
embedded into the template, rather than the general printing preferences of the Windows user. Because
the print settings are considered part of the template design, they can be used by any computer that
has an equivalent printer driver installed. To adjust the driver settings for any individual template
open the Print dialog and click the Document Properties button.
Why is it that when I print out my items, the objects on the items are bigger (or
smaller) than what is shown on my screen?
A : This is typically caused by having the wrong resolution printer driver for your printer.
Many times, a printer manufacturer may have versions of the same model with different printer
resolutions. If you have a lower resolution printer (i.e. 203dpi) and are using a higher resolution
printer driver (i.e. 300dpi), the print on the item will be larger than what shows on the screen.
The opposite applies if you're using a higher resolution printer (i.e. 300dpi), with a lower
resolution printer driver (i.e. 203dpi). In this case, the printer would print everything much
smaller than what you see on the screen.
The solution for this problem is to make sure that the printer driver you've installed
for your printer is the same resolution as your printer.
I can't get my printer to work. What could be wrong?
A : Many printing problems can be resolved by following the Printer driver
self-help located in the Help system of your Seagull printer driver.
What types of data input (triggers) does Commander support?
A : Commander currently supports the use of file, email, serial port and TCP/IP socket
triggers. Any data in the trigger needs to be in a
format that BarTender can read. This can include an SAP IDoc or Oracle XML in addition
to standard ASCII text files such as CSV.
Optionally the trigger can contain BarTender XML Script, which allows you to dynamically
insert commands, instructing BarTender on which label template to load, which printer
to print to, how many labels to print, etc. For more information on Commander, please
take a look at the two Commander white papers found at the links below.
Commander Overview Whitepaper
Commander Examples Whitepaper
What are Commander Variables and how do I use them?
A : "Commander Variables" are used to provide specific information about the
trigger at time of task execution.
Among other uses, these variables can be used to specify such things as the text
file name, the IDoc file name, the trigger file contents, and additional command
Most commonly the "%Trigger File Name%" Commander Variable is used to specify to
BarTender that the file that Commander detected and renamed is the same data file
to use with the template when printing. For more information on Commander, please
take a look at the two Commander white papers found at the links below.
Commander Overview Whitepaper
Commander Examples Whitepaper
How many tasks can I have in a single task list?
A : Commander has been designed to be fully scalable. Indeed the main limitation
when using Commander is the limitation imposed by the hardware of the computer in
use. You may create as many tasks as you wish, however you should bear in mind that
each task runs in its own thread, each of which consumes processor time and memory.
If you are using more than 10-20 different tasks, you should instead consider using
BarTender XML Script or Commander Script to dynamically write the BarTender commands
in the trigger file when it is produced by the requesting system. For more information
on Commander, please take a look at the two Commander white papers found at the
Commander Overview Whitepaper
Commander Examples Whitepaper
Why doesn't Commander detect my trigger files?
A : If you do not select a unique user during BarTender installation, the Commander Service
will run under the Local System account. This is a special Windows account that is used for internal
processes of Windows including services. You will often find that this account does not have sufficient
access or permissions to use network resources such as files, folders or printers. If your trigger files
are in a network directory, you will need to specify a user account for the Commander Service that has
sufficient access permissions. You can change this by opening the Windows Services, opening the Commander
Service, and changing the Log On to a user that has proper credentials.
You also need to ensure that you are using the full UNC path to your trigger file directory in Commander instead of a mapped network drive.
Mapped network drives are not normally accessible to Windows Services.
My trigger file is detected, but BarTender doesn't print anything. What could be wrong?
A : You should first ensure that your design prints directly from BarTender without any errors.
If it does, try switching Commander to run as an application instead of as a service. To change
this, open Commander and click the Administer menu, then choose Service Setup. Change the Run Option from
a service to an application. If your document prints correctly at this time, it is very likely that BarTender doesn't have access
to all of the resources that it needs. You should ensure that the account running the Commander Service has sufficient
access to all printers, folder, and files that BarTender needs to access.
If you choose to run Commander under the Local System account (and your Trigger File directory is local to the machine),
then you can set the BarTender processes to run under a particular user using the Command Handler Setup.
To do this, stop detection in Commander, click the Detection menu and select Command Handler Setup. In the
Command Handler Setup screen, go to the User Account Tab and check Run BarTender under specified account. When
choosing an account to run the BarTender processes under, make sure that it has access to all files, folders and printers needed at
Please note you should not run the BarTender processes under a specific user account if the Commander Service
is already running under a specific user account. Instead, give the Commander Service account the necessary permissions
to access the BarTender resources, as those changes will propagate down to the BarTender processes.
What is the Seagull License Server?
A : The Seagull License Server (SLS) that comes with the two Automation editions is Seagull's
tool for monitoring BarTender and enforcing printer licenses. Seagull License Server's only job is
license enforcement – it does not physically print documents or communicate with printers in any way.
The Seagull License Server is installed in one location on your network. Each of your BarTender
installations will attempt to contact the Seagull License Server at print time for printer authentication.
See the Licensing Whitepaper for a more information.
How does BarTender communicate with the Seagull License Server?
A : BarTender Automation editions (including Automation and Enterprise Automation) connect to
the Seagull License Server (SLS) via TCP/IP network communication using the UDP protocol.
This is the case when the License Server is running on another PC on the same network and when it is running on
the same computer that is running BarTender.
What happens if BarTender can't connect to the Seagull License Server?
A : In the event that BarTender is suddenly unable to communicate with Seagull
License Server (SLS), BarTender does not immediately lose the ability to print. Instead, a
72 hour "grace period" begins counting down so that you can have time to resolve the
problem without losing the ability to print. (The "grace period" only applies to
loss of communication with SLS and not to printer and user license limits being exceeded.
That condition has its own separate grace period discussed below.)
How can I troubleshoot connectivity problems between BarTender and the Seagull License Server?
A : First, ensure that the License Server is installed, activated and running on
your network. Then make sure that the computer running BarTender is able to connect to
the computer running Seagull License Server.
Next, check that BarTender and the Seagull License Server are using the same port for
communication. You can check the port in BarTender by going to Administer and then Licensing
Setup. To check the port in the Seagull License Server, go to the Tools menu, click on General Options, and select the
Network tab. The ports in both applications must match in order for BarTender and Seagull License Server to communicate.
The default port for most installations is 5160. For print only installations
the default is 5195.
If you still don't have connectivity, and your network contains more than one subnet (that is, you are
running on a WAN), you will need to specify the IP address of the computer running Seagull License server
in each BarTender installation. To do this, open BarTender, select the Administer menu, and click
Licensing Setup. Uncheck "Automatically Find Seagull License Server" and enter the IP address of the
computer running Seagull License Server into the Server field. (You can click the Test button to test connectivity).
Finally, you may need to make an exception in your firewall to allow BarTender and the License Server
to communicate. The steps for doing this vary based on your firewall in use, but you should allow UDP
communication on the port specified in a previous step, and then "unblock" or create exceptions for both the BarTender and Seagull
License Server applications.
How can I remotely administer the Seagull License Server?
A : Install a copy of the Seagull License Server on your remote PC from where you wish to
administer the license server (no need to activate it). Next select the Actions menu and click Connect
to remote Seagull License Server. Then select the address and port number of the PC on which the remote
license server is running.
Alternatively, you could run a license server "command line" command using the "/remote" switch option.
As the computer running license server is remote from where you wish to administer it, you should use
a UNC path to specify the application's location. See the following example, which may be entered
via the Windows Start>Run dialog.
What happens if I exceed my printer license?
A : It can sometime be easy to exceed your maximum allowable printer license count for
legitimate reasons. A 30-day grace period is automatically initiated any time you use more printers
than your printer license count allows. The main console screen of the Seagull License Server (SLS) will
display a message that you have 30 days to correct the problem. In addition, if the Alert Setup option
has been properly configured (which is strongly recommended), an email message will be sent out
notifying an IT manager (or other target) of the license violation. Follow up emails will be sent
once per day until the issue is resolved.
During the 30-day Printer-Limit-Exceeded Grace Period (or until you resolve your problem),
SLS will temporarily allow for double the normally-allowed number of printers, ensuring that you will not
lose productivity during the overage
BarTender says the HASP driver is not installed?
A : The device driver for the HASP hardware key (or dongle) sometimes may
not install correctly. Also, from BarTender version 7.75 build 2003 and higher,
the HASP key device driver is not automatically installed as part of the BarTender
installation. You will need to install this separately if you are using a hardware
key. The device driver can be found in the Key folder of the BarTender CD. The device
driver installed by older versions of BarTender (v7.10 and below) might encounter
compatibility problems with newer versions or updates of Windows, such as XP, 2003
server, Vista and later versions.
In such cases you should download and install the latest HASP device driver from
the Seagull FTP site at the link below:
My PC does not have a parallel port. Do you have a USB key option?
A : Yes, we offer both USB and parallel keys. Be sure to specify your desired
hardware key type at the time of your order. (Otherwise, by default, we will ship
you a USB hardware key.)
If you already have a parallel key and wish to swap for a USB key this is possible
also. In such a case, please get in touch with your local Seagull sales representative
who will inform you of the costs involved.
Please note that the USB key device has no "pass-through" capability, so once plugged
in, it will occupy a USB port on your PC. (A parallel port hardware key does offer
"pass-through" capability, meaning you can plug another device, such as a printer,
into the back of the hardware key so data will pass through. However, this may cause
technical issues and therefore we do not recommend it.)
The key is not being found at all. What can be done to resolve this?
A : Make sure the latest device driver for the key has been installed and
the key is securely connected to the PC. If the "Key not found" error still appears
then it is possible that the key is faulty.
In such a situation, please contact our technical support department. A technician
will determine whether the key is indeed faulty and if so, will arrange to send
you a replacement key.
The key seems to be corrupt because my license appears to be incorrect. What has
happened and how can I fix it?
A : If you are using BarTender v7.10 or older, the software is activated by
the activation code programmed into the key. Sometimes this code becomes corrupt,
and can give incorrect information such as edition, number of users, or number of
printers licensed. In such circumstances press the "F9" key in BarTender or Seagull
License Server, and communicate to a Seagull technician the "Key ID" and "Current
key settings" as displayed in the dialog that opens. With this information, the
Seagull technician can provide you information to reprogram the key and fix it.
What card printing features does BarTender support?
A : BarTender version 10 and above deliver a rich, powerful set of card printing features,
including numerous features required for the most demanding high-tech security systems in operation
today. This includes:
- Print-time image capture
- Automatic switching between templates (designs)
- "Smart Card" functionality (RFID and contact)
- Magnetic stripe support
- Windows Printer Drivers by Seagull™ for Major Card Printers
- Two-sided design
See the Card Printing Brochure for a more information.
How do I add Magnetic Stripe or Smart Card encoding to my template design?
A : First, you must have a Driver by Seagull™ selected in your template design, and that printer
model must support either Magnetic Stripe encoding or Smart Card technology. If you have this setup,
click the Encoders button in the BarTender toolbar. You will then be able to choose from a variety
of the Magnetic Stripe and RFID encoding options that are supported by your printer model.
What Magnetic Stripe, Smart Card, and RFID encoding types does BarTender support?
A : BarTender supports a wide variety of RFID, Smart Card, and Magnetic Stripe encoding,
including the most up to date EPC Global "Gen 2" specifications, ISO 7811, JIS II,
MIFARE, and ISO/IEC 7816. For a full list of supported encoding technologies, search the BarTender
Help system for "Supported Encoding Technologies".
What card printers do you currently support?