10 downloads to power up your printer

Improve your productivity, save ink and paper, and enhance your creative projects with these printing-focused downloads.

Utilities for Printing Posters, Labels, and More

Want to print CD or DVD labels, posters, and even the contents of Windows folders? These three downloads are perfect for the job.

Acoustica CD/DVD Label Maker

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If you want to make labels, disc sleeves, and jewel-case covers for your optical discs, turn to Acoustica CD/DVD Label Maker. It has just about everything you need for creating labels and covers, including the ability to grab information from the Internet to include on them.

Using the program is quite easy: Pick from the available designs and backgrounds, add information about the CD or DVD you want to create, and you're done. The supplied art isn't scintillating, but you can use your own images, too; the utility does a nice job of showing you all of the art on your hard disk, and even lets you search your drive for images.

Possibly the most useful feature is the software's ability to populate the label of an audio CD with track information, automatically. Have a playlist that you want to use in creating a CD? Acoustica CD/DVD Label Maker will import it and use it as your track list. If you've copied an audio CD, the program can import the track information directly from the disc, or else it can go out on the Internet and grab the information from there.

The application supports many different types and sizes of jewel cases, inserts, and labels, so no matter what you need to print, it will most likely be able to handle the task. It also includes tools for creating shapes and adding text, so you can make the output look exactly the way you want it to look.

Download Acoustica CD/DVD Label Maker | Price: US$22; free trial

Karen's Directory Printer

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Quick--what's one of Windows' most obvious shortcomings? You can't print a list of every file in a folder, and you can't print a folder name. Things have been this way since the dawn of Windows.

Over the years, people have come up with assorted hacks to get around this limitation, but many of them require you to do in-depth things like editing the Registry. You have a much simpler alternative: Get the free Karen's Directory Printer.

This utility gives you an enormous amount of control over printing lists of files and folders. You can include or exclude a wide variety of details about files, such as the size, the name, the date the file was created, the date you last accessed it, and so on; your choices for printing folder information are similar. You can sort files and folders for printing in any way you want, too. Anyone who has ever wanted to print out a file list or folder list should grab this easy-to-use tool. It's donationware, which means that it costs nothing but the creator also accepts donations.

Download Karen's Directory Printer | Price: Free

ProPoster

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Need to print a banner, a poster, a sign, or some other kind of oversize output? Normally, large-format printing costs an arm and a leg, because you have to send or bring what you want done to a specialized printing service. But with ProPoster, you can save plenty of money and do the job on your own printer. This software makes printing big projects so easy that anyone can do it.

The program can print any digital photo, picture, or Word or Excel document in a number of standard formats or in your own custom size. Select your image, and ProPoster will divide it into several pieces depending on its size and on the type of output you've selected. Before printing, you can crop the image, stretch it, and add a border. Then, when you print it, you'll get several pages of output. Take a pair of scissors, cut along the proper lines, glue everything together, and you're done.

Note that until you pay for ProPoster, all of its output will display a "Not registered" watermark.

Download ProPoster | Price: US$20; free trial

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Preston Gralla

PC World (US online)
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