After years of using word processing software on personal computers, there's one chore that still drives secretaries mad: typing address labels. Because it's so difficult to do on a conventional PC printer, secretaries often wind up doing labels on a typewriter--if they can find one. That's why a new market is emerging for computer printers that do only labels. Two companies have emerged as head-to-head rivals in this business: Avery Dennison Corp.'s Avery Commercial Products Div. and Seiko Instruments USA Inc.

The Avery Personal Label Printer is about the size of a tape dispenser and can print a label in less than four seconds, the company claims. The $280 machine can produce address labels in a choice of fonts as well as print graphics and bar codes. It will be available in August in both IBM PC and Macintosh versions. Meanwhile, Seiko has brought out the Smart Label Printer Plus, which lists for $250. It's slightly smaller than the Avery machine but prints at a slower rate: about 15 seconds per label.

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