We offer our customers a complete labelling service which starts from first contact. Rely on our unparalleled knowledge and experience before you even start your project, and rest assured we will be here to support you long after your machine has been commissioned.

ALsoft Video Tutorials

To get started using ALsoft please take your time to view these tutorials. Our tutorials were created using our ALsoft Solo product but the design interface and basic principles shown are the same for ALsoft and ALsoft Direct.

ALsoft & ALsoft Direct Support

Common Questions

How do I select a graphic using a database

The graphic cannot be embedded within a field, all that is required is the path, filename and extension, e.g.,
Just the graphic filename and then constrain the picture within ALsoft to have the path as the directory prefix and the suffix as the file extension.

The colour printed is not the same as the colour displayed on screen

If available turn 'off' colour matching within the printer driver you are using.

I have setup the paper within the software, but the labels/signs are not printing on the correct paper size

The printer driver must be setup the same as the page size is configured within ALsoft.

How do I setup 2 or more labels/signs across the page?

If your label/sign is 145mm high with a 5mm gap, then the label/sign height is 145mm, the number down is 2 and the vertical pitch is 150mm (145mm + 5mm), i.e., the upper edge of the first label/sign to the upper edge of the second label/sign.

Please note that when using a thermal transfer label printer, the labels are on a roll which negates the need to define the number of labels down a page, simply Check the 'Continuous (Thermal Printers)' tick box and the software will automatically set-up the dialogue box accordingly.

When installing the software onto a Windows 95 workstation, I receive an error message at 96% through the installation

This is not a problem with the software - just continue with the installation and the software will function correctly.

When creating a custom paper size within a printer driver, the page height and width are greyed out

You are running Windows NT4/2000 or XP and need to create a custom form size. To do this (your User Privileges must allow you to have sufficient access rights), click 'Start' -> 'Settings' -> 'Printers', open the 'File' menu and choose 'Server Properties', check the 'create a new form' box and enter your name of paper and dimensions, then click 'save form'.

Please note that all dimensions are specified in cm not mm.

I cannot connect to a database after installing the software

If you are running Windows 95/98 or Windows NT4, ensure that Internet Explorer 5.05 service pack 2 or above is installed on your PC (search for 'IExplore.exe' - right mouse click -> choose 'Properties' then 'version'). Also, ensure that at least Service Pack 6 or above is installed if you are running Windows NT4

I cannot install the software on my Windows NT4/2000 or XP workstation

Due to restrictions that can be placed using these Operating Systems, installation must be undertaken whilst logged on as the "Local Administrator" otherwise various parts of the software cannot be installed

How can I connect to my Sage database?
  1. Users must have version 2.61 or greater and have your Sage ODBC driver installed.
  2. Choose 'Database' from the menu and 'Connect', choose 'OLE DB' then 'Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers'.
  3. Choose 'Use connection string' and click 'Build' then 'Choose your DSN' follow this by entering USER ID, password & Data path.
  4. Enter User name and password & tick "allow saving password"
  5. Click 'OK' on the subsequent error message and click 'Advanced' and now change both Name delimiters from '[' and ']' to a space - you must enter a space (if nothing is entered it causes Microsoft Data Access Components to crash) then 'Finish'

Repeat the above procedure (except stage 5) and you will be able to choose your table or view

I receive the "Unable to obtain data on selected printer? message when opening the software

A printer driver must be installed for the software to run so as to enable the software to map graphics, barcodes, text... to the printer's resolution and produce WYSIWYG design templates.

Common Questions

TEC BSX6 and BSX8 are not included in my version of SOLO

The new definition file including the printers BSX6 and BSX8 can be downloaded from here Toshiba Definition File

I want to set the Toshiba printer to "automatic feed to tear off position"

Auto tear-off has to be set on the printer's control panel. For example, on the B-SA4 the FORWARD WAIT has to be turned on. This cannot be set from SOLO Studio.

How do I setup my SOLO Desktop to use black mark sensing?
  1. To set up your SOLO Desktop to use media with black lines you must set up your stock within SOLO Studio to use Gap - Line. See also: SOLO Tutorial "Before you Start", which you can find above.
  2. To set the printer to use the moveable black line sensor, you must transfer your label design that has been set up for black mark sensing through SOLO Studio and then print this label from the SOLO Keyboard.
  3. Ensure that the moveable sensor is positioned in an area that will sense the black mark.
  4. This will cause the printer to error (the LED will turn red).
  5. Now calibrate the printer by turning off the printer, holding down the FEED key until the printer's LED flashes orange. Once calibration has been completed turn the printer off and then on to take the printer out of 'dump mode'.
  6. Your printer should now feed labels correctly using black mark sensing.
I cannot install the software on my Windows NT4/2000 or XP workstation

Due to restrictions that can be placed using these Operating Systems, installation must be undertaken whilst logged on as the "Local Administrator" otherwise various parts of the software cannot be installed

How do I download a font to a Toshiba or Zebra printer?
  1. Install the latest driver for your printer available from Seagull Scientific
  2. Within the Fonts tab you can download the font/s as required.
How do I download a font to the SOLO Industrial/Desktop Printer?

To download a font to the TTP246M/344M follow these simple steps:

  1. Create a file called download.txt with the following info: DOWNLOAD "[FontName.ttf]",[filesize in bytes], (e.g. DOWNLOAD "Arial.ttf",38044,)
  2. Copy download.txt through the command prompt e.g. 'copy download.txt lpt1'
  3. Copy the TTF file to printer through the command prompt; 'copy [filename].ttf lpt1 /b' then press ENTER
  4. 'copy con lpt1' then press ENTER
  5. then 'MOVE' then ENTER (moves all files from DRAM to flash memory)
  6. ^Z (CTRL+Z) then ENTER
My SOLO Desktop printer errors during label calibration

If the SOLO Desktop printer's LED flashes red after calibrating the label size, it is likely that you're using label stock with the margin between the edge of the label and the label backing too wide for the printer's gap sensor. Use Line as the Gap Type rather than Gap under Stock Settings and then recalibrate the printer to use the Black Line/moveable sensor.

Variable information from the previous label is printed on my next label/s
  • If your label includes text that overlapped the edge of the label then simply move the element/s closer to the centre of the label or make the point size smaller.
  • If your label includes barcodes that overlapped the edge of the label then simply change the style under the barcode properties to a higher density format.
  • SOLO cannot create erase zones closer than 0.1mm from all edges and hence on each label that this occurs simply turn off Auto Optimisation On Label Transfer, although this will produce slower performance with batch printing.
  • Constrain your text/barcodes to have a maximum length of characters that will not allow the text or barcode to overlap the label edge.
Does SOLO work with other printers?
  • SOLO has been developed specifically for use with the SOLO, Toshiba, Zebra, TSC, KROY & WASP ranges of printers to ensure excellent print speeds, print quality, ease of use and a low cost solution.
  • SOLO may be developed for other printers if there is a suitable requirement.
Can I connect a barcode scanner/device?

Scanners and other devices can be connected to the SOLO Keyboard via the Com2 port (RS232 interface). For connecting such devices the Com port on the keyboard must match the communication settings on your device, e.g, Baud rate, stop bits, data bits, parity and flow control. When a Barcode scanner is used it acts just like the keyboard, i.e. scan the barcode when the desired prompt appears on the SOLO Keyboard.

To modify these settings press ALT and F1 on the SOLO keyboard when the 'Press form to select...' message is displayed, then pressing the DOWN ARROW to select COM2 then press ENTER followed by the LEFT or RIGHT ARROW keys to select the required value, use the UP and DOWN arrows to move to the other variables. Press EXIT twice to return to the main menu.

Within SOLO Studio you must change the settings within Keyboard > Keyboard Settings > Settings to match the settings you have changed the keyboard to otherwise the software will be unable to locate the SOLO Keyboard.

Pressing any key doesn't work

If your SOLO keyboard doesn't contain any labels (when you first use the keyboard for example), you will not be able to get beyond the initial welcome message: Welcome to SOLO - press any key to start . In this situation, the SOLO keyboard will only beep when you press a key.

As from version 2.30 of SOLO Studio this is no longer the case.

The first record in my database is not found

If you are using a Excel database, it is essential that you include the field names as your first record in the database.

What is the maximum label size I can print?

The maximum printable label width for the SOLO printers is 108mm for the Desktop 245 and Industrial 246 models and label length is restricted to 995mm.

The 300dpi models (Desktop 343 and Industrial 344) have a maximum printable width of 104mm and label length is limited to 458mm.

The Toshiba and Zebra ranges include wide web printers upto 8.39 inches (213.3mm) in width and labels can then be created over 1 meter in length determined by the printers specification.

How can I delete labels from the keyboard?

Simply connect the keyboard to your PC with SOLO Studio installed and choose Keyboard > Keyboard Manager... and then uncheck the templates that are no longer required.

See also:
SOLO Tutorial "Transferring labels to the SOLO keyboard" above

Can I print the label rotated 180?

Yes, within Settings > Printer... menu, change the Print Direction setting under Feed Settings to Top first/Bottom first

See also:
SOLO Tutorial "Before you Start" above

Can I use direct thermal media?

Yes, simply change the configuration within Settings - printer to Direct Thermal and remove the ribbon from the printer.

Can I replace my print head?

Yes, simply contact us for prices.

SOLO Studio will not transfer any more files
  • The SOLO Keyboard has 1,152Kb of memory available for storing templates, graphics, rolling serial numbers and a database. During transfer the Keyboard Builder has a Memory Usage Meter showing the memory used as a progress bar.
  • SOLO Keyboard has a maximum of 199 label templates
Where can I buy ribbons from?

You can buy ribbons directly from us, simply contact us for prices.

Is a higher resolution version available?

There is a 300dpi version available for both the Desktop and Industrial version of SOLO.

SOLO Studio will also program the SOLO Keyboard to print to Toshiba, KROY, TSC, Wasp and Zebra thermal transfer printers at up to 600dpi dependent upon your printers resolution.

How do I print white text on black background?

Use the 'Inverse Region' facility within SOLO Studio; simply draw a box over the section on the label you wish to print 'inverted'.

See also:
SOLO Tutorial "Designing a label" above

How do I insert a pre-printed background?

When setting up your stock size, tick the Background check box and choose your scanned/digital image.

See also:
SOLO Tutorial "Working with pre-printed labels" above

Print quality is poor
  • Slow the print speed down and/or increase the print density. See SOLO Tutorial "Before you Start" above for how to.
  • Ensure the ribbon and label media are compatible
  • If you are printing small text (8 point or less) you may wish to use a printer with a 300dpi or 600dpi printhead resolution.
Printing is slow
  • Ensure that you are using the 'Auto Optimisation On Label Transfer' facility of SOLO Studio. This can be found within 'Preferences'.
  • Use printer internal or downloaded fonts instead of Windows True Type fonts wherever possible - this will decrease the time to first label dramatically.

    See also:
    SOLO Tutorial "Designing a label" above
  • On many printers the Baud Rate between printer and keyboard can be increased from the factory default (9600). Please refer to your printers documentation for details of supported Bauds and how to change these settings. The SOLO Keyboard's Baud Rate can be modified by pressing ALT and F1 on the SOLO keyboard when the 'Press form to select...' message is displayed, then pressing ENTER followed by the left or right arrow keys to select the required rate, followed by ENTER. Press EXIT twice to return to the main menu.
I do not have a serial port on my PC

We can supply you with a USB to serial adaptor, simply contact us for prices.

PC will not communicate with the SOLO keyboard
  • Ensure the SOLO keyboard is plugged into the printer and the printer is turned ON.
  • Ensure the baud rate, stop bits, parity and flow control are configured correctly within Keyboard > Keyboard Settings > Settings. Standard keyboard settings are: 57600, 8, none, 1 and XON/XOFF.
  • COM Port Conflict
    • Possibility 1 The PC may have a software package running in the background which occasionally polls the serial ports to see if anything is connected. Some utilities provided with mobile phones or modems or serial/RS232 connected peripherals may be the cause of this. Ensure any offending software is disabled or un-installed.
    • Possibility 2 With Windows NT/2000/Server2003/XP Microsoft has changed the way that installed printer drivers use the COM port. If a printer driver is installed which is set to the same COM port that we need for SOLO (even though that printer is not active), Windows will not allow direct access to that port. It is essential to disconnect (temporarily or permanently) any offending printer drivers from the COM port that SOLO requires. It is possible that previously installed demo software that has since been removed has left behind printer drivers that you do not need.

      To check if an installed printer driver is locking out the COM port that SOLO requires you should:
      Select Start > Control Panel > Printers and Faxes then select File > Server Properties > Ports
      This will produce a list of the ports used by the installed printer drivers. If drivers are set to the port that SOLO requires they can be temporarily (or permanently if no longer needed) disconnected from the COM port.
      To fix the problem Go back to main Printers and Faxes Screen, double click on the offending printer driver/s and : Select Printer > Properties > Ports and change the port to something other than the one required by SOLO.
  • Ensure you're using the serial cable provided with your SOLO system.
  • Ensure no other devices are installed on the serial (COM) port you wish to use the keyboard on - devices can include modem, GPS systems, printers and weigh scales. Check the Device Manager on your PC ( Control Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager)