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Label Studio: Print barcodes on UNIX using PCL Data Stream driver

A number of years ago, Label Studio added support for output the HP PCL datastream. This allows for Barcodes to be output on UNIX when printing to a printer that supports the HP PCL datastream.

How it works:

The Label Studio product ships with a set of pre-created PCL Data Stream barcode fonts. These pre-created fonts will satisfy the USPS regulations for the various label formats. The fonts are installed into the fonts subdirectory that is off the Label Studio installation directory. These fonts are installed on both Windows and UNIX operating systems, since the PCL Data Stream barcode fonts are platform independent.

When you drag and drop a barcode object onto the Label design file, Label Toolbox finds the matching barcode font based upon the type of barcode and also the height of the barcode needed. The Label Toolbox product does this be decoding the name of the PCL Data Stream barcode font.  One of the shipped barcode font files is named WASP 128 M-220-1-300-PCL.fnt. The components of the barcode font file name include: name of the font source, in this case it is WASP 128 M, a Code 128 barcode font. The 220 is decoded as the font height, in this case 22 points tall.  The 1 indicates the font is a normal (not bold, not italic) font. The 300 component of the font same represents the font resolution – Label Studio can generate both a 300 DPI and 600 DPI PCL output file. Finally, the PCL tells the product this is a PCL Data Stream font. If you would increase the height of the barcode object on the label design file, the Label program would look at the corresponding font height to find the taller font – for example the program would select WASP 128 M-500-1-300-PCL.fnt if you made the barcode height greater than 50 points (remember, the point size is the second component of  the name, in this case it is 50.

When Label Studio generates the output PCL file, the Label product will copy the appropriate PCL Data Stream barcode fonts to the output file. When the file is printed, the fonts are loaded into the printer’s font memory, and used during the printing process.

This support is platform independent, so you can generate an output format that is typically done using Windows print drivers on the UNIX platform. This will allow Label Studio UNIX customers to stay on the UNIX platform for their printing of labels that require barcodes to be printed.

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