Ask LH: How Should I Label My Cables?

Hey Lifehacker, Do you have any tips on how to best label cables? I tend to label everything from network cables (what it's connected to), power cables (what they charge; who owns it) and data cables. My current method is using an electronic labeller, and printing the text twice before using the cut button. Then I loop it around the cable, and try to line up the two ends. The trouble is that it is difficult to get them aligned when they stick, and often they start separating a few months later. Any other suggestions? Thanks, Willing & Cable

Dear W&C,

The label maker approach is one I've used myself in the past, and it works fairly well. It's true that the labels can sometimes begin separating, but when that happens it's no great effort to print a new one.

My personal favourite cable labelling tip is to use the tags from bags of bread. These fit neatly around the cable, can easily be detatched, and have space to add the relevant details using a marker pen. If you save them over a few months, you can also easily colour code. We ran this tip on Lifehacker back in 2010, but it's just as relevant today.

If you don't like that option (or don't eat bread), you can buy specific cable tags at any large office supply store (or by hunting around online). Another option we've discussed in the past is using a metallic marker pen, but that's less helpful if you sometimes swap cables around.

For more ideas on sorting cables, check out our guide to how to get your cables under controls. If readers have other cable-labelling tips, we'd love to hear them in the comments.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    I also like to use coloured cables which you can buy reasonably cheaply. It makes following them through the tangled mess a breeze.

    Or something like this:

    $10 for 100 of them
    http://www.selby.com.au/100-pack-of-10cm-altronics-cable-ties-with-marking-area-h4043.html

    In my last job the people there used keyring tags (these things http://thumbs2.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mCFikWPqpiJWyhwqhrNQM4g.jpg ) cable-tied to everything. Plenty of room to write to, plus you could colour coordinate.

    We use these guys;
    http://www.bradyid.com.au/en-au/products/sign_label_printers/brady_portable_label_printers/idxpert_mobile_printer_accessories

    Expensive, but worth it if you're labelling a datacentre or some form of critical electronic infrastructure. Ordinary Dymo labels tend to fall off, but the vinyl self laminate labels from Brady are pretty rugged and good for anything over about 5mm diameter. The flag labels are good for smaller diameter cables, like optics.

    Has anyone tries Clablr (the cabling app)? No? Because it went straight from a lame mashup of two words describing its function while dropping the e, past failure and zero uptake/downloads, straight to doesn't exist.

    Has anyone tried Apfailur?

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