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I've made a few electronic devices, and most of them had buttons or switches, but I had to rely on my memory to remember which button did what.

What kind of hardware options are out there for labeling switches and buttons other than masking tape and ink pen? Do they make switches with text on them? What about those silicon cover masks?

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What about labeling them on the PCB. Either with a copper label, in case of a home-made PCB or a silkscreen label, in case of a proper PCB. –  m.Alin Nov 21 '12 at 19:13
    
Almost anything is better than masking tape, since over time that dries up and falls off. Pre-cut labels (available at office supply stores) are more durable and look much better, especially if you use a felt tip pen. –  Jeanne Pindar Nov 22 '12 at 5:31

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I've always found the modern-day label makers to be very useful for this for prototypes. There are a variety of color options by changing relatively inexpensive tapes. You can also make front panels with the text cut right into it, if you want to spend the time and money, like at frontpanelexpress.com.

Of course, you can buy switches with whatever label you want on them, if you're buying large quantities, but I imagine that's not cost effective for prototyping.

You can buy switches with programmable displays that use LCDs or OLEDs!

As an aside, good for you concerning yourself with usability issues! Every engineer should read The Design of Everyday Things and think about their human interfaces!

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