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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Last call: Printers that handle index cards well

43F Google Group: Research for a Post: Printers that handle index cards well

A few weeks back, I posted a message to the Google Group, asking for advice on the best printers for printing onto standard index cards. There have been a lot of suggestions (HP and Brother models seem to be popping up a lot), but there hasn’t been a decisive winner as far as I can tell.

I’d love to post a summary of the three or so best printers people are using—I hope some time in the next week—so this is your final chance to chime in on the model that’s rocking your world. I know a lot of you have been printing to tons of index cards lately, so there must be some printers that can handle the little fellas better than others.

Just to toss this out, here’s a few of the things that I would be looking for in this printer:

  • Must work on a Mac using the standard drivers or GIMP (duh)
  • Must print onto a standard, drug store, $0.01 index card without anything more acrobatic than a manual feed (although I’d love to hear about printers that can use separate trays or loaders for unattended feeding of multiple index cards)
  • Should print well-aligned cards that honor margins and look roughly the same, one to another (no whacky alignment problems)
  • Should be reasonably priced—under $150.00 retail would be nice; less than $100 would be even better
  • Should have a relatively small footprint (unless the amount of added functionality makes it worth clearing the extra space)
  • Should go easy on the toner/ink/whatever in draft mode (I’m not printing many glossy photos of hot-air balloons these days, so I’d love to get off the Epson Ink Jet needle if I can)
  • Nice if it’s a brand-name with a decent warranty
  • Nice if it’s also available outside the US (see, guys? I’m trying to get more i18n into the mix)

So speak up, kids. I have a feeling if a few of you heavy hitters throw your shoulder into it here, we can wrap this up, and save the world from costly “pre-printed index cards” forever.

Sean O'Leary's picture

I'm using my Canon ip3000...

I'm using my Canon ip3000 that I'm very happy with.


I set up a custom 3"x5" page with 0" margins in Mac OS X's Page Setup dialog box.

DIY Hipster PDA templates used without problem.

The paper guide can be pushed all the way to the 3-inch width.

Print quality is quite good.

Margins consistent.

Speed is excellent.


This is a new printer, so I have no idea how 'sucky' the printer is on ink.

Automatic duplexing is not available (too bad), but manual duplexing can be done.

The 'secondary paper source' cassette that can be used to print photo-sized paper. Sadly, it can't be adjusted to dispense 3x5 cards. That woulda been cool because I could've kept Letter paper as the main paper source and 3x5s in the secondary cassette. I suppose larger cards could be used in the cassette (but then they wouldn't fit in me pocket!)




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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