How to use IrfanView to print CD labels

Background and justification

Why use IrfanView to print CD labels?

Why not use the software that is freely downloadable when you buy CD labels?

Why not buy a commercial program that is designed for CD label creation?

The process

Create or convert the label artwork for use on CD labels. Choose a resolution (dots per inch) as your standard CD label artwork resolution. The size of the artwork should be a bit larger than the CD label, so that you can draw past the edge of the label, and not have issues if the label alignment isn't perfect when feeding through the printer, but obviously anything past or near the edge shouldn't be critical to the content of the label. The same holds true near the hub ring, and some labels have different size hub rings: it is good to design the artwork to go clear through the hub area, but again, nothing important should lie inside the largest hub area.

The rest of this description will assume 150 DPI resolution, and a basic file size for each piece of artwork of 750 × 750 pixels (5") square, and a symmetrical layout of CD labels on the page (use of other labels that may be squeezed into the remaining space is left as an exercise for the reader). The actual size of a CD label is round, with various diameters from 4.59" to 4.625" being commonly found. Designing for the critical parts of the artwork to fall within 4.5" is probably a good idea, and allowing it to fill the full 5" is probably the maximum to assure that the artwork doesn't overlap the next label on a letter size sheet containing two labels.

Full color artwork can be used if printing on a color printer, and even if a grayscale printer is to be used, color is not necessarily a problem (the printer drivers will dither the colors), but the effects of color artwork for a particular grayscale printer should be reviewed before being used in quantity to be sure that significant details are readable.

Nota Bene: This was written with IrfanView 4.32 as reference; some minor variations may be required with other versions of IrfanView