BarTender Cloud vs. BarTender Software

Seagull Scientific, the company that created  BarTender Software and who have grown it into one of the most popular software products for barcode and RFID label creation and printing, is launching a new product - Bartender Cloud. In this article, we will refer to the on-premise software as BarTender Software, and the new, cloud-based software as BarTender Cloud.

BarTender Software has been around since 1987 helping companies create printable labels for their business needs, which were barcode-based until RFID printing capabilities were added in 1993. BarTender software is sold in 4 unique feature-based editions, with varying degrees of functionality - Starter edition, Professional edition, Automation edition, and Enterprise edition. This year they are releasing BarTender Cloud, a cloud-based product hosted in AWS that is completely separate from other Bartender Software products. BarTender Cloud is available in editions, similar to their on-premise software, with two available now - an  Essentials edition and an Automation edition. To learn more about what BarTender Software is and how it’s used - check out our article  BarTender Software: Your Top 22 Questions Answered.

Software vs. Cloud Differences

The main difference between the on-premise BarTender software and the new, cloud-based software is simply that BarTender Cloud is hosted, well - in the cloud versus on a personal computer or business server. The two different hosting locations lead to a variety of changes overall along with changes in how users purchase and set up the software product.

Overall Differences - BarTender Software vs. BarTender Cloud

Overall, there are a few major differences between BarTender’s on-premise software and its cloud-based software in terms of functionality.

#1 Printing Flexibility

The most important difference between the two software products is that BarTender Cloud can print labels from anywhere, including mobile devices, to any printer - no licenses required. This is a huge change from the on-premise software which requires users to have both an application license for the networked server or PC using BarTender, and a separate printer license for each printer that will be printing labels. BarTender refers to BarTender Cloud’s shift to a no-license structure as more of a centralized usage model, with no software/hardware requirements on-premise. The ability to print from anywhere to any compatible printer is great for companies that have centralized management with several other locations that all need printed labels.

#2 Design Limitations

BarTender Software has a flexible label designer tool that can help users customize the perfect label for their organization and change that label design as many times as needed. BarTender Cloud does not have a label designer tool, instead Seagull Scientific helps each user customize two label templates. A representative from the company will help you set up your software and create these label templates after purchase, which is one of the new aspects of BarTender Cloud (see Setup, BarTender Cloud Setup below).

In addition to the two customized label templates purchased, users will also have access to a large library of pre-made label templates for use as well.

#3 Pay Structure

BarTender Software is purchased as an edition ( StarterProfessionalAutomationEnterprise) and the edition you choose determines the amount of functionality available. Each business using BarTender Software has to purchase an application license and a printer license per usable printer. BarTender Cloud is purchased as an edition as well, but instead of licenses, a tiered usage pay structure is used. For each edition, a business can choose to pay to print 10,000 labels annually or move up to 25,000 labels annually or 50,000+ labels annually with additional cost increases.

#4 Online Database Integrations

BarTender Software allows most all database integrations, whether they are desktop or cloud editions, which allows plenty of flexibility with a business’s data. Because BarTender Cloud is a cloud-based software, the only database integrations currently supported are cloud-based databases - specifically from Microsoft Excel Online or Google Sheets. Seagull Scientific has specified that more cloud-based database integrations could be added in the future.

Purchasing BarTender Software vs. BarTender Cloud

If you’ve purchased BarTender Software before, you know that there are a few different editions and licenses that you must choose/buy in order to use the product.


Users must choose a specific edition when purchasing BarTender on-premise software or BarTender Cloud. BarTender Software has four editions to choose from, while BarTender Cloud only has two at this time; however, BarTender Cloud has varying price points within each edition depending on usage (see chart below).

The editions for BarTender Software vary in functionality and design ability, the chart to see those differences is  available here; while the difference in the two editions of BarTender Cloud vary depending on the number of labels printed annually, availability of the REST API, availability of file drop integration, amount of storage, and support response time and availability. Take a look at the chart below to see the difference between BarTender Cloud Essentials and BarTender Cloud Automation.

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BarTender Software requires both an application license and a printer license, while BarTender Cloud requires no licenses at all. When a customer purchases BarTender Cloud, they will receive a login to their new Cloud account, and then they have the ability to add other users to their account.

Setting Up BarTender Software vs. BarTender Cloud

When customers purchase BarTender Software, they are sent an email with a unique license code and a link to download the software. Once the software is downloaded, customers simply enter their license code to get started. If any help is needed with setting up or using the program, users can access a variety of resources available on our support page, or on BarTender’s website. In addition, if purchased through Atlas, customers can pay for a BarTender Setup Service where a Support Services team member helps guide users through the setup and enables them to quickly get up and running using BarTender Software ( that service is available here).

The setup process is very different for BarTender Cloud. Once customers purchase BarTender Cloud, they are sent an email with a unique login code and the link to BarTender Cloud. Customers are then sent an additional email, prompting them to schedule a one-on-one setup session with a BarTender representative to help them set up their BarTender Cloud software and customize their label templates. The one-on-one setup session eliminates any confusion that could come up with this new cloud-based software in addition to creating their unique label templates.

Which Version is Right For Me?

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BarTender Software and BarTender Cloud are both high-quality software products designed to enable the creation and printing of barcode and RFID labels, yet they target two different types of users.

BarTender Software is the all-in-one label designer and printing software with customizable functionalities and multiple data integration options. BarTender Software is geared toward companies that want complete control over their label structure and have an IT team to help integrate data and solve any possible support issues between software products. BarTender Software allows an unlimited amount of printed labels, which is ideal for large companies that need to print hundreds on a daily basis.

BarTender Cloud is more of a simple, click-to-print online version of the popular software. It’s ideal for companies that have one or two simplistic label design types that do not need the complex design, application, or database functionalities available in Bartender Software. The cloud-based hosting design can enable one central user or business location to create the labels and allows them to be printed at different locations on demand.

Take a look at the different versions of BarTender Cloud Editions below - 

BarTender Essentials

BarTender Automation


To learn more about Seagull Scientific’s newest product, BarTender Cloud - chat with us, email us, or give us a call. To learn more about RFID Printer Software in general, check out our article “ RFID Printer Software - What Are My Options”. To learn more about BarTender Software in general, check out our article - “BarTender Software: Your 22 Questions Answered”.