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Thread: Printing to a Zebra label printer

  1. #1
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    Default Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Hi guys,

    Has anyone managed to print labels on a Zebra lable printer? How did you go about it?

    I have a Zebra LP2844 which uses EPL2 ascii based programming language. I'm using 47mm x 29mm labels.

    So, to print a text string at position 10,10, I would send:-

    chr(10) + "N" + chr(10) + "A10,10,0,1,2,2,N,'Some text'" + chr(10)

    My question is, what would be the best way of sending this ascii string to the printer...? Via an A5 report or label?

    Would I define a session variable when designing the report or label and set it to be equal to the above string?

    Which A5 event would I use to assign the variable?

    Thanks in advance...
    Regards,
    Darren Farmer
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    "Certified" Alphaholic Stan Mathews's Avatar
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Did you search on Zebra? I saw numerous posts when I did. Not that I know if any of them would answer your specific question, but there is that possibility.

    Lkewise with "send string".

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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Hi Stan,

    Thanks for responding... Yes, I've searched on those. I've read the post by Andy Meer:
    http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/al...ighlight=zebra ...and this post has a reply from Bill Parker. I've looked at his reply and what he says makes sense and would solve my problem as well.

    The EPL2 programming guide states that the syntax of the "A"scii command is:
    A,P1,P2,P3,P4,P5,P6,P7,"DATA" (The "N" command just clears the buffer ready for printing)

    I've defined a calculated field which includes the required ascii control chars and, the required EPL2 commands and then placed it on the label - the calculated field contains the following:

    sc_title = "N"+chr(10)+"A10,10,0,1,2,2,N,"+product_header->Pr_title+chr(10)

    If I then preview & print the label I see the following displayed in the preview and subsequently printed on the label:

    NA10,10,0,1,2,2,N,A good produ

    It's truncated at the "u" character due to the physical size of the label which I'm okay with, but I don't know why it's not decoding the commands as the preview doesn't show the chr(10) (linefeed char).

    I've tried various combinations of quotes around the product_header->Pr_title bit of the above command as I think it should be enclosed in double quotes when sending the string.

    So I think I have a few issues here:
    1) Not sure if it's the printer not decoding the command or not, as it printing the string "as is". I'll do more investigation on this.
    1) How do I know if the chr(10)'s are being sent to the printer, as it seems as though they are being stripped out before being sent to the printer?
    2) How do I get double quotes around product_header->Pr_title, as it prints product_header->Pr_title without reading the value from the DB table if I enclose it in ""'s?

    Thanks...
    Regards,
    Darren Farmer
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    "Certified" Alphaholic Stan Mathews's Avatar
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    2) How do I get double quotes around product_header->Pr_title, as it prints product_header->Pr_title without reading the value from the DB table if I enclose it in ""'s?


    Code:
    sc_title = "N"+chr(10)+"A10,10,0,1,2,2,N,"+"\""product_header->Pr_title+chr(10)"\""
    
    sc_title = "N"+chr(10)+"A10,10,0,1,2,2,N,"+chr(34)+"product_header->Pr_title"+chr(34)+chr(10)
    
    sc_title = "N"+chr(10)+"A10,10,0,1,2,2,N,"+chr(34)+chr(34)+product_header->Pr_title+chr(34)+chr(34)+chr(10)
    
    sc_title = "N"+chr(10)+"A10,10,0,1,2,2,N,"+quote(quote(product_header->Pr_title))+chr(10)

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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Thanks Stan... that's one of my issues sorted :)
    Regards,
    Darren Farmer
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Hi Daz,

    Yes I did get this working with alot of help from Stan, I am on vacation in the US until the 28th Aug so I cannot get to my code until then

    Sorry

    Andy

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    "Certified" Alphaholic Stan Mathews's Avatar
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Quote Originally Posted by daz_racing View Post
    Thanks Stan... that's one of my issues sorted :)
    Actually I think one of those was wrong

    Code:
    sc_title = "N"+chr(10)+"A10,10,0,1,2,2,N,"+"\""product_header->Pr_title+chr(10)"\""
    should be

    Code:
    sc_title = "N"+chr(10)+"A10,10,0,1,2,2,N,"+"\""+"product_header->Pr_title"+"\""+chr(10)

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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Thanks Stan...that's very diligent of you... as always, your help is much appreciated :)
    Regards,
    Darren Farmer
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Andy,

    Thanks for taking time out of your holiday to respond.

    My main issue at the moment is to do with the printer not interpreting the command string that I'm sending via A5.

    If I send a string of chr(10)+"N"+chr(10)+"A10,10..." etc... it prints "NA10,10..." on the label, but at this point, I'm not certain that A5 is actually sending the chr()'s as well as the commands to the printer.

    My next step is to get the printer to interpret the string I'm sending as a command, so I'll produce a text file manually with chr()'s etc... and COPY it to the printer as per the EPL2 manual to see if that works...and take it from there.

    Have a good holiday...
    Regards,
    Darren Farmer
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    I have done this.

    First you have to save the report layout to text file using the action script command Save Layout to a file .
    use xbasic fucntion Sys_print() function to print that text file.
    I hope this will work

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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Hi mujeebur,

    Many thanks for taking the time to reply. I've just found the time to re-visit this part of my development...

    I'm still struggling with the fine detail of getting this printer to recognise the commands I'm sending it and I'm not sure if it's Windows/XP/Vista that is stripping out the chr(10) ascii chars or even if the printer is stripping them out of the file I'm sending.

    Did you change any specific setting of the printer? Such as print direct or something along those lines?

    Do you think you could give me a slightly more detailed breakdown of what you had to do to get this working and maybe a A5 example of the way you implemented this as all I seem to be able to get it to print is NA10,10,... etc...? - the printer doesn't decode the commands I send.

    One other question... what interface are you using - USB or LPT?

    Your help is appreciated as always...

    Thanks...
    Regards,
    Darren Farmer
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Hi,

    I hope some one can help me get to the bottom of this problem... there's not far to go to get this sorted (I think :confused:)...

    I'm now in a situation where I know the Zebra printer works, as I have manually typed a text file of the commands as mentioned above to get a label printed and then using "copy test_label.txt lpt1:" at a DOS prompt to print it...all works great when I do this manually.

    In A5, however, In the Label Editor I've defined a Calculated Field as:

    sc_title = chr(10)+"N"+chr(10)+"A230,5,0,1,1,1,N,"+chr(34)+trim(product_header->Pr_title)+chr(34)+chr(10)+"P1"+chr(10)

    ...and placed this field on the label.

    Next, on the form where I'd like the user to press a button to print the barcode label, I have a push button defined and in the OnPush event I have a "Save a Layout to a File" action as suggested by various other threads on this subject and by mujeebm (above) and a sys_print(file). The problem is, it seems to be saving the commands of the calculated field in a strange format... so, in Notepad, instead of looking like:

    N
    A230,5,0,1,1,1,N,"A Good Product"
    P1

    (with a chr(10) after each line)

    ...it actually looks (and prints) like this without decoding the commands:

    NA230,5,0,1,1,1,N,"A Good Product"P1

    Saving the layout as a file, seems to be inserting 13 spaces before the "N" and losing the CHR() control characters and I can't figure out why.

    I feel the Label Editor may be doing something strange with the Calculated Field contents...am I missing some basic setting in the Label Editor perhaps? Something like the "Shrink to fit" option or maybe "Word-Wrap" option of the field?

    Any ideas???

    Thanks in advance...
    Regards,
    Darren Farmer
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    If your label has a rtf field in which you have placed the calculated field, that could affect the formatting of the output. Try removing the rtf field and place the calculated field directly on the label (drag-drop).

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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Hi Stan,

    Yes, that's what I've done... I dragged and dropped the Calculated Field onto the Label design. However, A5 wants to automatically place a label/prompt for the field as well, so I deleted that, just leaving the calculated field itself on the label design.
    Regards,
    Darren Farmer
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    I would try building the string and writing it direct to a file. Some thing like this on your button.
    Code:
    sc_title = crlf()+"N"+crlf()+"A230,5,0,1,1,1,N,"+chr(34)+trim(product_header->Pr_title)+chr(34)+crlf()+"P1"+crlf()
    
    filename = win_special_folder("desktop")+"\test_label.txt"
    
    File.from_string(filename,sc_title)
    
    'sys_print(filename)
    sys_open(filename)
    Tim Kiebert
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Darren,

    I also noticed that there seems to be a comma missing after the "A" according to your specs in one of your previous posts. Not that it would have any affect on how the label behaves but it might affect the actual printing.
    The EPL2 programming guide states that the syntax of the "A"scii command is:
    A,P1,P2,P3,P4,P5,P6,P7,"DATA" (The "N" command just clears the buffer ready for printing)
    Tim Kiebert
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for your input...I really need to get this issue sorted.

    However, I beg to differ with your statement - The EPL2 (Programmeing for Page Mode Printing) guide that I'm reading states the syntax is:

    AP1,P2,P3,P4,P5,P6,P7,"Data"

    ...and this syntax works quite happily when sending it manually to the printer using the DOS COPY command - example as follows (each line is terminated with a chr(10) character):


    N
    A230,5,0,3,2,2,N,"<Company>"
    A230,45,0,3,1,1,N,"<Manufacturer>"
    A480,45,0,3,1,1,N,"9999.99"
    A230,65,0,3,1,1,N,"<Prod Desc>"
    B245,90,0,E30,3,5,70,B,"123456789012"
    A250,185,0,3,1,1,R,"www.webaddress.co.uk"
    P1
    Regards,
    Darren Farmer
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Quote Originally Posted by daz_racing View Post
    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for your input...I really need to get this issue sorted.

    However, I beg to differ with your statement - The EPL2 (Programmeing for Page Mode Printing) guide that I'm reading states the syntax is:

    AP1,P2,P3,P4,P5,P6,P7,"Data"
    I figured you probably knew what you were doing there. The bit that I quoted re the code sequence was from what you posted in post number 3 of this thread which has an extra comma after the A.


    ...and this syntax works quite happily when sending it manually to the printer using the DOS COPY command - example as follows (each line is terminated with a chr(10) character):


    N
    A230,5,0,3,2,2,N,"<Company>"
    A230,45,0,3,1,1,N,"<Manufacturer>"
    A480,45,0,3,1,1,N,"9999.99"
    A230,65,0,3,1,1,N,"<Prod Desc>"
    B245,90,0,E30,3,5,70,B,"123456789012"
    A250,185,0,3,1,1,R,"www.webaddress.co.uk"
    P1
    Have you tried using the sys_print() function from alpha to send your test_label.txt to the printer. If so what was the result.

    How or what method are you using to insert the chr(10) into this sample label code? If I just use chr(10) by itself I get everything on one line with a thick vertical bar in the place of the chr(10)s. I need to add a chr(13) to get it to show as your sample in notepad. The crlf() function I used in my previous post is short for chr(13)+chr(10).

    Unfortunately I do not have this type of printer to test on and am only going on memory(the failing type) from years ago of sending code directly to printers.
    Tim Kiebert
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Hi Darren,

    I print all the time to 3 Zebra Z4Mplus with windows drivers. They replaced 3 Eltron 2046(now Zebra). I also printed to the Eltron's with window drivers.

    Can you use regular windows drivers for your application, or is programming the only way?

    I use the Alpha reports generator to print various labels to the Zebra's.

    I noticed that the Zebra site has windows drivers for this unit, if I am correct?

    Regards

    Ed

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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Hi Tim,

    Ah, I see what you mean... I corrected my own mistake (without knowing it) :o

    Yes, I've tried sys_print()... Once I'd got the Zebra printer, I thought all this would be simplicity in itself... but oh noooo!

    So far, I've defined the label in Label Design, I've defined the calc field and placed it on the label. Then I defined a form and placed a button on the Form. In the ONPUSH event, I've defined a Save Layout as a File action using Action Scripting. The file is saved, but it is saved without the chr(10) in there! :(

    In the same event I then added a bit of inline xbasic:

    filename = "c:\<foldername>\test_label.txt"
    sys_print(filename)

    ...and the output is as I have described:

    NA230,5,0,1,1,1,N,"A Good Product"P1

    with 13 spaces before the "N".

    I'm bemused as it's only the chr(10)'s that are stripped out and not the chr(34)'s, so it's something that's happening between the physical production of the label and the actual saving of the label output.

    Any pointers in how to keep the chr(10) in the saved version of the the output as a text file would be most appreciated... as that's all I'm missing (at the moment) - I'm sure there'll be other "opportunities" to be faced down the road ;)

    Thanks - as always...
    Regards,
    Darren Farmer
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Hi Ed,

    I've installed the windows drivers that came with the printer. One installation installs both the USB and parallel windows drivers. I've even been in touch with Zebra and they say the drivers are both XP and Vista compatible.

    I've not tried using the Report Design - I'm using Label Design.

    Do you have any examples I could take a look at to clarify my understanding of what is required?

    One other thought...do you use EPL2 to produce your labels or just send directly?

    Thanks...
    Regards,
    Darren Farmer
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Hi Darren,

    I was deathly afraid of the old Eltrons. As I thought that I had to use programming language to use them.

    Well they have/had windows drivers. And all was well.

    I do not use labels.

    I only use reports on the printers.

    This is what I have done. Hopefully it will help you out.

    I use the windows drivers for the Zebra printers. In my case I just installed them, and use them like any print driver.
    The physical label size that I use is 4" x 6".
    I use the Alpha Report generator.
    Play with the bottom/top, right and left, margins, they are a little touchy with the Zebra that we have.

    In my case, it turned out to be no harder than making a regular report in Alpha.

    Hopefully it will help for your situation also.

    Regards

    Ed

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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Hi Ed,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I'm not sure how you retain the chr(10)'s in your raw test files to control the Zebra (Eltron) as printing via A5 (sys_print) strips the control chars out resulting in just a string of characters being printed.

    I'm getting to the end of this with a reasonable (acceptable) solution. I'm using FILE_CREATE() .write(), .flush(), .close() etc... to create the text file by inserting the CHR(10)'s where required and it's retaining the CHR(10)'s.

    I'm now getting the (what seems to be) "standard" issues with a SYS_SHELL() "virgin" trying to get SYS_SHELL to issue a "COPY file.txt lpt1" command. Get the "Out of memory" error - which I believe means it can't find the file - nothing like a meaningful error message is there!? ;-)

    At least I now know the .txt file produced by A5 is correct - if I issue the "copy <file> lpt1" command manually in a DOS session it sends the demo txt file to the printer and prints "A Good Product" (as per my previous example) onto the label - result! :-)

    When I get this solution working, I'll post it all here. A mate of mine also wrote me a "C" program to scan the contents of a text file to prove which CHR()'s are present (I'll post that as well - it may be of some use to some unsuspecting sole) - Thanks for that Dave! :-)
    Regards,
    Darren Farmer
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Hi Darren,

    Would this be of any help?

    http://www.perlmonks.org/?node=binmode

    Ed

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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Quote Originally Posted by daz_racing View Post
    I'm now getting the (what seems to be) "standard" issues with a SYS_SHELL() "virgin" trying to get SYS_SHELL to issue a "COPY file.txt lpt1" command. Get the "Out of memory" error - which I believe means it can't find the file - nothing like a meaningful error message is there!? ;-)
    Try

    sys_shell("cmd /c copy c:\file.txt lpt1")

    substituting the real path to file.txt for c:\

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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Hi,

    Thanks to everyone who has been involved in this thread - your help and support is much appreciated. We've done it! :)

    Here's how:

    1) Drop a button on a form

    2) In the OnPush, here's my code:

    dim textfile as C
    dim text as C
    dim pointer as P
    textfile = "c:\<folder>\barcode_label.txt"
    pointer = FILE.CREATE(textfile,FILE_RW_SHARED)
    text = chr(10) + "N" + chr(10) + "A230,5,0,3,2,2,N," + chr(34) + "Company Name" + chr(34) + chr(10)
    pointer.write_line(text)
    text = "A230,45,0,3,1,1,N," + chr(34) + "<Manufacturer>" + chr(34) + chr(10)
    pointer.write_line(text)
    text = "A480,45,0,3,1,1,N," + chr(34) + "<Price>" + chr(34) + chr(10)
    pointer.write_line(text)
    text = "A230,65,0,3,1,1,N," + chr(34) + "<Product Title/Desc.>" + chr(34) + chr(10)
    pointer.write_line(text)
    text = "B245,90,0,E30,3,5,70,B," + chr(34) + "123456789012" + chr(34) + chr(10)
    pointer.write_line(text)
    text = "A250,185,0,3,1,1,R," + chr(34) + "<www.webaddress.co.uk>" + chr(34) + chr(10) + "P1"
    pointer.write_line(text)
    pointer.flush()
    pointer.close()
    ' Print the label using DOS BAT file containing COPY command
    sys_shell("c:\<folder>\print_barcode.bat")

    3) Create a BAT file called "print_barcode.bat" and it should contain 1 line only... "copy c:\<folder>\barcode_label.txt lpt1:" and place it in c:\<folder>

    4) Start the Form and press the button - et voila - 1 printed label!

    Hope this helps anyone needing this kind of solution...

    Oh, forgot to mention... I've tested this on XP and Vista. There are XP and Vista Zebra LP2844 drivers now available.
    Regards,
    Darren Farmer
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    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    I dont know if you have sorted this out;
    create a label layout and then set your label size and select continues label.
    From your program set a global variable and drop this on the label layout. see attached screen shot includes a function to populate an address which i call from a push button to print individual labels and i also offer on the fly edits for the address label to be printed for any user. but if you want to print directly from a table etc. just create label layout and drop all the fields you want. hope it helps

  28. #28
    Member
    Real Name
    Darren Farmer
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Lancaster, UK
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    Hi,

    Many thanks for taking the time to reply to this thread...

    Yes, I sorted out my problem. It was impotatnt for me to use the Zebra's EPL2 programming language...hence my solution (above).

    Once I'd sorted out my CHR(10) problem by writing directly to a text file, the rest was plain sailing ;)

    Using the printer's EPL language makes it easy as pie to produce a label with text, barcodes (it even calculates the check digit automatically for EAN/UPC barcodes!) and even produces multiple copies of a lable with a single button press :cool:

    In the end, I decided to use CODE128 for my barcodes as it can quite happily encode characters as well as numbers.

    Your solution uses the label designer which I think was causing my text file problems.

    Once again, thanks for this and I may need this solution in the future - you never know.
    Regards,
    Darren Farmer
    ________________________
    Alpha5V8 Enterprise
    Windows XP Professional
    AMD Turion 64 x2/Athlon 64

  29. #29
    Member
    Real Name
    bilal memon
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Printing to a Zebra label printer

    How to get a label preview of EPL code ?

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