Do I need to use ribbon?
The media itself determines if you will need to use ribbon.
The easiest way to find out is to scratch the surface of the media rapidly with your fingernail. If a black mark appears where you scratched, the media is Direct Thermal, so you do NOT need ribbon.
What kind of ribbon can I use?
This printer can only use ribbon that is coated on the outside.
How can I tell which side of the ribbon is coated?
Use one of these two methods to identify the coated side: