Zebra Printer Prints Printer Code (ZPL, EPL or CPCL), Unrecognized Characters or Text

Article ID: 49131947




Printer outputs text instead of expected label images. 
Printer codes are printing when attempting to print labels
Printer is printing garbage 

 Applies To

Zebra Printer using a Zebra Driver


If you attempt to print a label from your application and the printer prints some kind of text instead of your label image, verify you are using the correct type of driver. 


An application may output the printer's native command language ZPL, EPL, or CPCL to create the label image. That output text should not be processed by a printer driver (i.e. do not use the Zebra Universal Driver, Zebra Designer Driver, or 3rd party printer drivers). For this scenario you should use a generic text or raw driver to send data to the printer. If the data is in a file you can send the file directly to the printer as well using FTP. Copy. etc.. 

In summary, if your application generates the printer language commands and you must use a driver then select the Windows Generic Text driver when you set up your print queue. This will allow the printer commands to pass through to the printer to produce the labels.

Another cause of printing the commands instead of your label would be if the printer has been placed into dump mode. Insure the printer is not in Dump or Communications Diagnostic mode. The easiest way to exit the Communications Diagnostic mode is to cycle power on the printer.

How it Works

The Zebra Printer is a command driven printer that requires programming commands to produce an image on the labels. Some applications can produce the printer language directly and would be considered directly compatible with the printer without the need for a Windows Driver. The Windows Driver is needed if the application produces Window Meta Data that must be changed to the printer language using a Zebra Windows Driver.

Some applications come with their own driver. In summary, consult with your application provider if you experience any of the issues discussed in this solution.