Communicating with a Zebra Card Printer From Within a Custom Program

Article ID: 36568498



This solution is useful for developers writing custom applications for use with Zebra card printers

Applies To

  • All currently supported card printers
  • Card printer SDK



There are a number of free tools available to integrate all of Zebra's card printers with custom applications.  These tools include Software Development Kits (SDKs), printer programming languages, and support utilities.

Software Development Kits Read more>>

It is recommended to use SDKs as the primary method to integrate printer control into software since the SDKs provide a large amount of printer control, excellent error catching, and a consistent interface (API). Each SDK download comes with a complete and full sample application that demonstrates all of the printer's functionality as well as a detailed manual that explains all of the available commands. 

Printer Programming Languages (Value and Performance models only)

Another method to establish communication with your card printer is through its printer programming language.  This is generally not preferred as newer printer models (All ZXP Series models) are moving away from these printer programming languages.  The Performance and Value Class printers utilize EPCL for communication.  If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the EPCL manual, send an email to


A number of utilities exist to help a customer during the application development process.  Some utilities, such as ZXP ToolBox for the ZXP Series 8 and the Performance and Value Class Drivers are installed along with the driver and may already be present on your computer.  Other tools are available at Zebra's Developer Tools page including:

  •  ZXP 8 / ZXP 7 emulator - A software that emulates the presence of a ZXP Series 7 or 8.  It can receive print jobs from other applications and can simulate error conditions, encoding commands, and resulting image printouts.
  • ZGT - A support utility for the ZXP Series 7 & 8 that provides a broad set of tools to manipulate the ZXP and even includes demonstrations of smart card encoding.
  • PGT - An analog of ZGT, but for the ZXP Series 1 & 3.
  • Smart Card Verification Tool - Utility for the ZXP Series 1 & 3, Performance, and Value class printers that detects present encoders and allows for simple smart card and magnetic card encoding and reading.

Visit Zebra's Developers Tools page for more information. Read more>>


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