VolunteerHub can be configured to integrate with your Brother QL-700/800 series label printer, which can be triggered manually in the OnSite App or automatically when a user checks in via the Kiosk. This feature also works with QR check-in, and allows you to print labels using your own custom nametag design on various label sizes.

The Label Printer Integration is an optional feature that must be enabled by our support team. The integration can only be purchased for sites that already have the OnSite/Kiosk app. The Label Printer Integration is included at no additional charge for Enterprise plans and can be purchased for other plans with a one-time set-up/implementation fee. For more information on how you can integrate your Brother label printer with VolunteerHub's OnSite/Kiosk app, please contact info@volunteerhub.com.

This article covers the following topics:

Feature Highlights

This feature allows you to:

  • Print to a single printer from multiple check-in stations
  • Check users in and print a name tag in a matter of seconds
  • Team multiple printers together for high-volume application
  • Print nametags at multiple check-in locations

Note that the printer must be physically connected to a computer/device with an internet connection.

System/Application Requirements

The printer integration requires that your Brother QL-700/800 series printer be connected to a computer, on which the integration software will be installed so it can speak to your VolunteerHub site. The requirements for the computer connected to the printer are as follows:

  • The machine on which the printer is installed and running the integration software MUST have Windows 7 or later with Microsoft .NET Framework version 4.5.2 or later. 
  • While the OnSite/Kiosk device can be any tablet or computer, the printer must be connected to a computer running Windows (tablets and Apple devices not currently supported).
  • The printer must be connected to the computer via USB (recommended) or wireless connection.
  • The computer connected to the printer must be turned on for the duration of the event check-in period.
  • The administrator running the label printer application must be logged into VolunteerHub as a Superuser on the computer connected to the printer. The same Superuser account above must be logged in each time the label printer integration is used.
  • The printer's power-saving mode must be disabled via the Printer Properties menu in the computer to which the printer is connected (instructions below).

While many organizations may use the computer described above as the OnSite/Kiosk device, you may have volunteers check in on other devices (e.g., tablets/iPads or computers). Any number of devices may be used to check volunteers in, and the printer will be able to print nametags for users checking into any of those devices at once. The printer does not need to be installed/connected to those devices; it only needs to be installed on one computer as described above.

Figure 1 below provides a diagram of the recommended device layout. Note that the computer and printer are the only two required devices (and therefore the computer may be used as the Kiosk itself). Additional tablets and/or computers used for OnSite/Kiosk check-in are optional.


Figure 1. Recommended integration device layout.

Getting Started 

Follow the steps below to get started installing and using the Label Printer Integration. To complete this process, you will need to have requested the feature for your site.

Step 1. Install the printer.

  1. Connect the printer to your Windows PC or laptop using the USB cable provided with your printer. 
  2. Download the required installation files and the driver software from the manufacturer's support site
  3. Disable your printer's sleep mode:
    1. From the Start Menu, go to Devices and Printers.
    2. Right-click on the QL-700 series printer. (If the printer driver wasn't installed properly, it will appear as an Unspecified device. Right-click on it and select Troubleshoot to install the driver manually from the CD, if available.)
    3. Select Printer properties.
    4. Click on the Device Settings tab.
    5. Click on Utility to reveal the Properties button.
    6. Click on the Properties button.
    7. In the Auto Power-Off section, select "0" from the Time field.
    8. Click on the Apply button.
    9. Click on the Exit button.
  4. WIRELESS ONLY: If you plan to use the printer's wireless mode (not recommended), follow the steps below to complete the network set-up for your printer after succesfully installing the printer via USB:
    1. Run the firmware update downloaded in step 2 above.
    2. Open the Printer Setting Tool and click on Network Setting Tool. (The printer must still be connected via USB for this step.)
    3. Click on Wireless Settings in the left panel and search for an SSID.
    4. Select a network.
    5. Select "WPA2-PSK" for the Authentication Method and enter your network key (for password-protected networks).
    6. Click on the Apply button.
    7. Click on the Exit button.
    8. Disconnect the printer's USB cable from your computer.
    9. From your computer's Start menu, click on Devices and Printers, right-click on the Brother QL printer and select Printer Properties.
    10. Click on the Print Test Page button at the bottom of the screen. If the printer successfully prints a test label, the installation was successful.

The above are prerequisites to the integration - installing your printer DOES NOT install the integration, as there is additional integration software that must be provided by our support team to continue with installation. 

Step 2. Install the SDK and VolunteerHub Label Printer Monitoring software.

  1. Download and install the latest version of the 32-bit b-PAC SDK for developers from Brother’s websiteThe 64-bit version will not work.
  2. Download and install our VolunteerHub Label Printer software via the link provided by our support team. (If your organization has a current Enterprise plan, please Send a Message to Support to request access to this software. If your organization has a current Plus or Pro plan, please email sales@volunteerhub.com to purchase the Label Printer Integration first, as it is not included with OnSite/Kiosk.)

Step 3. Create your label (nametag) template.

Most Brother QL-700/800 series label printers allow you to print either small (1.1 x 3.5") or large (2.4 x 3.9") labels using the P-touch Editor software included with the printer (Figure 2). You can design your own label, or download one of our quick templates by clicking on one of the links below.

NOTE: The below templates will not download properly in Internet Explorer. Please use Firefox or Chrome to download them.

Download the SMALL label template         Download the LARGE label template


Figure 2. You can download our large or small label template.

To merge volunteer and event information from your VolunteerHub site into the label, click on a text field in the label and click on the small Properties icon in the toolbar (highlighted in Figure 3 below). Click on the Expanded tab in the Text Properties dialog box that appears. In the Object Name field, enter the VolunteerHub field you would like to merge into the label, then click OK.

The following Object Names can be used to merge event and user details into the nametag as volunteers check in:

  • id: The user's GUID, typically only used for barcode applications
  • username: The user's username
  • firstname: The user's first name
  • lastname: The user's last name
  • name: The user's first and last names
  • eventname: The name of the event
  • eventlocation: The location provided for the event
  • eventstarttime: The start time of the event (e.g., "8:00 AM")
  • eventendtime: The end time of the event (e.g., "5:00 PM")
  • usergroupname: The user group with which the user is affiliated for the event (if registered under a group reservation)
 
Figure 3. Merge VolunteerHub fields into your labels in P-touch Editor.

Once you're finished building your label template, save it.

If you own a QL-800 series printer that uses red-and-black tape, you must open the label template in P-Touch editor, click the "Paper" tab and turn on the "Two-Color Mode", then save the template.

Step 4. Run the VolunteerHub Label Printer software.

On the computer your label printer is installed on, log into your VolunteerHub site as a Superuser. Then, open the VolunteerHub Label Printer software you downloaded in Step 2 above and follow the instructions below.

  1.   Give your printer a name in the Name field (e.g., “Lobby Printer 1”).
  2.   Enter your entire VolunteerHub site URL in the URL field, including the https (e.g.: https://abc.volunteerhub.com).
  3.   Browse for the label template you designed in Step 3 using the Template field.
  4.   Check the Connect box.

The monitor must be running at all times during event check-in for labels to print automatically.

Step 5. Configure the OnSite and/or Kiosk App for your label printer(s).

The device you use to check volunteers in does not have to be the device your printer is installed on or connected to. Because your label printer is connected to that PC/laptop, and that PC/laptop is connected to the internet, your Kiosk and OnSite devices (e.g., tablets) will be able to communicate with your printer via the internet connection they share with your PC/laptop.

You can have several Kiosks or OnSite devices printing to the same printer. Follow the steps below to connect your printer to those devices.

  • Kiosk Implementation: If you will be using Kiosk to check volunteers into their events, navigate to Settings > Kiosk Device in the Admin 2.0 interface. Select the printer name you defined in Step 4 above from the Nametag Printer field and click Save. Check a user into an event on that Kiosk device to test the integration. If successful, a nametag should print immediately upon check-in.
  • OnSite Implementation: If you will be using OnSite to check users in, open OnSite and click on the Setup tab. Then, select the printer name you defined in Step 4 above from the Nametag Printer field and click Save. Check a user into an event on that OnSite device to test the integration. If successful, a nametag should print immediately upon check-in.