Setting Zebra Card Printer to only Encode and not Print

Article ID: 94645619


Topic or Information

Zebra Card Printers with magnetic encoding hardware installed can be set to be used strictly for encoding of magnetic stripe cards and can have the printing functions disabled to help with throughput. 

Applies To

All Zebra Card Printers with magnetic encoder hardware installed.


When the driver has been set to encode only, just the buffers for the magnetic tracks are loaded. The software will now need to send the encoding data as usual but also the command to encode the tracks and the exit command to the printer.  All printers have the option to enable this functionality through the driver. All procedures below require you to access your printer driver (printer properties).  Depending your operating system you will find this in different locations.  If you run Windows XP, you will find you printer driver within Printers and Faxes (Click on the Start Menu, Click Control Panel, Find Printers and Faxes).  On Windows Vista you will find your printers list through the Hardware and Sound (Click the Start Menu, Click Control Panel on the Right toolbar, and you should see "Printer" under Hardware and Sound).  On Windows 7 you should find Devices and Printers right in the Start Menu on the right hand toolbar.  If not, go into Control Panel and find Devices and Printers.  Windows 8 will have Devices and Printers within Control Panel as well.  Once you find the Card Printer right click it and enter Printer Properties.  The following example is done using Windows 7.


Zebra Performance Class and Value Class Card Printers (P100i, P110i, P110m, P120i, P330i, P430i):

Once you have accessed the printer properties for your printer click on the Preferences (or Printing Preferences) button in the lower portion of the properties window:

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Once in the Preferences you will see the option for "Printing Mode".  Click the dropdown option and you can select "Encode Only".  This will disable the printing functionality and enable the printer for only encoding magnetic stripe cards.

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ZXP Series 1 and ZXP Series 3:

The ZXP 1 and ZXP 3 printers also require you to access the Printing Preferences of the printer to modify the Printing Mode.  In the ZXP Series 1 and ZXP Series 3, you will see the Printing Mode option within the Card Setup tab.  Click the dropdown option to change the mode to "Encode Only".  This will enable the printer for only magnetic stripe encoding:

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ZXP Series 7 and ZXP Series 8:

Again, we will have to access the printer's printing preferences.  Once in the preferences, you will see an encoding tab, click on this tab:

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Once you are in the Encoding tab, you will see a checkbox for Encode Only (make sure the Disable Magnetic Encoding checkbox is unchecked).  Check the Encode Only checkbox to enable the printer for only magnetic strip encoding:

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Additional Information

Testing Magnetic Encoding on ZXP Series 7 and ZXP Series 8 Card Printers  Read More>>

Testing Magnetic Encoding on ZXP Series 1 and ZXP Series 3 Card Printers (P Series Printers use similar testing procedure)  Read More>>