How to create custom business cards or labels in Linux

A savvy business person may believe that a lasting impression starts with a good looking business card. That doesn't necessarily mean that you need to order expensive business cards from somewhere. There are plenty of image editor software that can be used to create DIY great looking business cards or name labels.

In Linux, there is a GNOME desktop program called gLabels which is designed to create labels or business cards. As a hassle free label creator, gLabels offers various predefined templates for labels and business cards, and works with peel-off labels and business card sheets of various sizes, which are commonly found at office supply stores.

In this tutorial, I describe how to design business cards and labels with gLabels.

Install gLabels on Linux Desktop

To install gLabels on Debian, Ubuntu or Linux Mint:

$ sudo apt-get install glabels

To install gLabels on Fedora:

$ sudo yum install glabels

Note that gLabels is designed for GNOME 3.0+, and therefore is not compatible with CentOS or RHEL 6 which comes with GNOME 2.

Design a Business Card with gLabels

With its built-in GUI editor, designing a business card on gLabels is pretty easy.

To launch gLabels on Linux, simply run:

$ glabels-3

You can create a new design by clicking on "New File" icon on the top. Then choose one of several predefined business card templates.

Add images, texts, lines or shapes to customize your business card.

Check the print preview of the design before finalizing.

Design Name Labels with gLabels

When it comes to creating name labels, the most useful feature of gLabel is "mail merge" feature. This feature allows you to design a generic label template, while filling in user-defined areas (e.g., name, address fields) of each label with a unique text, imported from external data files. gLabels supports importing data from text files, Evolution Addressbook and vCards.

In the following, I will demonstrate how to create multiple name labels whose data is pulled from an external text file.

First, you have to prepare a separate text file as shown below. It has four column data (first/last name, division, company), and each column is delimited by tab character. There are as many rows of data as name labels needed.

Now choose one of those ready-made label template on gLabels. Here I choose Avery 5095 name badge labels. Then, click on "Merge properties" under "Objects" menu.

Next specify the source of data: data file format (tab separated value) and location of data file. Once the file is loaded successfully, you should see data values contained in the file as follows. Click on "OK".

You can include data values from the file by using control code, formatted as ${column_number}$. That is, ${1}$ is from the first column, ${2}$ is from the second column, etc. Below see how I include four control codes as text objects in the template.

Once you are done with the design, check the print view of individualized name labels.

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Dan Nanni is the founder and also a regular contributor of Xmodulo.com. He is a Linux/FOSS enthusiast who loves to get his hands dirty with his Linux box. He likes to procrastinate when he is supposed to be busy and productive. When he is otherwise free, he likes to watch movies and shop for the coolest gadgets.
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5 thoughts on “How to create custom business cards or labels in Linux

  1. Sounds like an answer to Microsoft Publisher. I would like something like that integrated into OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

    • For general layout purposes, it's Scribus you want. It's certainly less convenient for labels (you may have to make your own templates) and there's no built-in mail merge (however that can be done with some scripting), but is otherwise a powerful DTP tool.

  2. I have worked on this before for customizing my own business card. And you explained it here in a easy way. I am sure it would be helpful for many out there.

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