Article ID: 131714 - View products that this article applies to.
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You may wish to create your own printer control language (PCL) separator file. This article provides you with an example after which you can pattern your own separator file.
This article includes the following sections:
NOTE: Microsoft is responsible for solving problems with the Windows NT separator file processor, but not for developing custom printer-language code.
To create a separator file:
Non-Annotated Separator File Text Example
\ \H1B\L%-12345X@PJL ENTER LANGUAGE=PCL \H1B\L&l1T\0 \H1B\L(19U\H1B\L(s1p16v0s0b16602T \H1B\L&a10L\L\LDate: \D\H1B\L&a60L\LJob: \I\H1B\L&a94L\LTime: \T \9\5 \H1B\L(19U\H1B\L(s1p36v0s0b16602T \H1B\L&a17L \H5C\H5C\LServer\H5C\LShare \9\6 \H1B\L(19U\H1B\L(s1p96v1s0b4116T \H1B\L&a10L\N \H1B\LE
Annotated Separator File Text ExampleLike most PCL separator files, this example contains a mix of separator file commands and PCL code. The individual PCL commands are a combination of the value and the command. For example, 16v indicates a 16 point font. Only the last command in the PCL string should be capitalized (to indicate the end of the command). Although there can be multiple PCL commands per line, each new command string must start with an <Esc> code.
NOTE: Some variable must be strung together in a specific order to function correctly. For more information, see the PCL references mentioned at the end of this article.
The first line of any separator file is a delimiter character by itself. The separator file interpreter looks for the backslash (\) character on the first line, and uses it as the delimiter for its command strings in the rest of the separator file.
\H1B\L%-12345X@PJL ENTER LANGUAGE=PCL
If you want to send printer language commands, and those commands include unprintable characters, you must send those characters by writing "\H" followed by the character's hexadecimal value. Because most PCL commands begin with an ESC character (hex value 0x1B) and are followed by printable text, many PCL separator file lines begin with \H1B, followed by \L, and then a literal string containing the rest of the PCL command. Remember that PCL commands are case sensitive. The line above tells HP print devices with multiple languages ("personalities") to switch to PCL.
This line toggles job separation and moves the cursor down one line.
There are two PCL commands in this line; the first sets the symbol set and the second sets the font spacing, size, and name:
<ESC>(19U sets symbol set to 19U (Windows 3.1 Latin 1)
<ESC>(s1p sets spacing to 1 (1=proportional, 0=fixed)
16v sets font size to 16 points
0s0b16602T sets font to Arial (Plain)
If you want to use a different symbol set, size, or font, you need to change this command (spacing is usually defined by the font, and is not configurable). To get a list of the available fonts on an HP 4 Si print device, use its front panel: from the TEST menu, choose the PCL TYPE LIST entry and push the ENTER key. The resulting pages include lines that provide the commands to set the font spacing and name. For example:
<esc>(<xx><esc>s1p<yy>v0s0b16602T I 029
where <xx> represents an open box symbol designating "Symbol set" and <yy> represents a closed box symbol designating "Point size"
Note: You will see the above all on one line.
The <xx> box is a placeholder for the symbol set value. The example PCL command above sets this value to 19U; other useful values are 579L (Wingdings), 19M (Symbol), 10U (PC-8, code page 437), and 12U (PC-850, Multilingual). Symbol set lists are available in many printer user manuals, and in Appendix C of the PCL 5 Comparison Guide (available from Hewlett-Packard).
The <yy> box is a placeholder for the point size.
\H1B\L&a10L\LDate: \D\H1B\L&a60L\LJob: \I\H1B\L&a94L\LTime: \T
The PCL command <ESC>&a#L sets the horizontal cursor position on the current line to column #. This line positions the Date:, Job:, and Time: labels horizontally at columns 10, 60, and 94, respectively, and prints the current date, the job number, and the time after their respective labels.
This line moves the cursor position down 14 lines. The \n separator file command moves the cursor down n lines. Although n must be a single digit (0 through 9) number, you can move nine lines, and then five lines, to move a total of 14 lines.
This line redefines the current font, increasing the size from 16 to 36 points.
These lines set the left margin at column 17, print "\\Server\Share", and then move down 15 lines. You can change the "Server" and "Share" strings to the names of your print server and it's print share. This command sets the left margin at 17 because this roughly centers the text "\\Server\Share" horizontally. If your server and share name create a longer or shorter string, you may want to adjust this margin to maintain the centering. There is no separator file command to center text automatically.
This line redefines the current font to 96-point Marigold Windows 3.1 Latin 1 symbol set). This example uses the Marigold font simply to demonstrate that you can get multiple fonts on the same page; you can change it to the font of your choice.
This line sets the left margin to column 10 and then prints the user's name.
There are two final lines in the file. The first is a PCL printer reset command (<ESC>E), and the second is the carriage return-linefeed pair that follows the printer reset command. Don't forget the carriage return-linefeed pair.
Description of Output From the Separator File ExampleThe precise output you get when you use the sample separator file varies depending on the values for the date, job number, time, the share specified, and the user's name. However, the basic layout of the page may be described as follows: near the top of the separator page you will see one line with the word "date" with a value on the left, the word "job" and a number in the center, and the label "time" and its current value at the right. The text in this line will be in Arial 16 font. Roughly centered on the page will be the "\\Server\Share" name in the Arial 36 point font. On the lower half of the sheet, and also centered left to right on the page, will be the user name in a 96 point script font.
Separator File Command Summary
Escape Code Function ---------------------- \ On its own line, at the very beginning of the separator file, defines the "\" character to be the command delimiter character for this separator file. \N Prints the user name of the person that submitted the job. \I Prints the job number. \D Prints the date the job was printed. The representation of the date is the same as the Date Format in Control Panel (International). \T Prints the time the job was printed. The representation of the time is the same as the Control Panel (Time). \Lxxx Prints all the characters (xxxx) following it until another escape code is encountered. \Fpathname Prints the contents of the file specified by pathname, starting on an empty line. The contents of this file are copied directly to the print device without any processing. \Hnn Sends the nn (hexadecimal) ASCII character. \Hnn is often used to send a printer-specific control sequence. To determine appropriate control sequences, see your printer manual. \Wnn Sets the width of the separator page. The default width is 80; the maximum width is 256. Any printable characters beyond this width are truncated. \B\S Prints text in single-width block characters until \U is encountered. \E Ejects a page from the printer. Use this code to start a new separator page or to end the separator page file. If you get an extra blank separator page when you print, remove this code from your separator page file. \n Skips n lines, where n is a digit from 0 through 9. Skipping 0 lines simply moves printing to the next line. \B\M Prints text in double-width block characters until \U is encountered. \U Turns off block character printing.
For more information on the PCL language see:
"PCL 5 Printer Language Technical Reference Manual," Hewlett Packard, HP Part No. 5961-0509, October 1992.
"PCL 5 Comparison Guide," Hewlett Packard, HP Part No. 5961-0634, May 1994.
For more information on the PostScript Language see:
"PostScript Language Program Design," Adobe Systems, Imprint by Addison-Wesley, 1988.
"PostScript Language Reference Manual(New Red Book), Adobe Systems, Imprint by Addison-Wesley, 1990.
"PostScript Language Tutorial and Cookbook," Adobe Systems, Imprint by Addison-Wesley, 1985.
Article ID: 131714 - Last Review: November 1, 2006 - Revision: 2.1