Changing the Default ZPL Language Format Prefix

Article ID: 99017575




This procedure describes changing the ZPL printer Format Prefix. This Format Prefix precedes each ZPL command to allow the printer to know it is a programming instruction. By default this is a Hex 5E (^ caret).

Applies To

ZPL compatible printers 


The format prefix character is a single character the printer will identify as part of a ZPL/ZPL II format command.

^XA  where 

^ = Format Prefix
XA = Start of format command

The default Format Prefix Hex 5E (^ caret) may not be compatible with data capabilities in some environments or a user might need this character in their printed data. For example an IBM mainframe or AS400 systems does not have a Caret readily available in their data sets and a Hex AA Logical Not (" ¬ ") is typically used as a replacement Format Prefix. 

The ZPL format and printer must have matching command prefixes or the commands will not be recognized. If there is a data light, it will flash but the printer will not respond. Knowing the requirements or data limitations in your application would allow you to structure your label commands for proper functionality. 


Using the default Caret (Hex 5E) the format the printer receives would look like this...

^XA^FO20,30^ZA0N,40,40^FDThis is a Caret Test^FS^XZ

Using a  Logical Not as a format prefix (Hex AA) the format the printer receives should look like this...

 ¬XA¬FO20,30¬A0N,40,40¬FDThis is a Logical Not Test¬FS¬XZ



Changing the Format Prefix Procedure

On the Tabletop Printers the format prefix can also be changed from the front panel LCD:

Xi Series & Pax4 Read More>>

105SL Read More>>

Z Series Read More>>

S4M

On ZPL compatible Desktop Printers you can change the Format Prefix using ZPL Read More>>

Helpful Information

Creating a DOS ZPL format prefix file for a "logical not". Read More>>

Print a printer Configuration Label to determine the Format Prefix configured on the printer

  • Viewing the configuration on a Desktop Printer. Read More>>
  • Viewing the configuration on a Tabletop Printer. (Printers with LCD Displays) Read More>>

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