Zebra Label Printers: Why No PDF Support?

From time to time, our customers ask why our software doesn't support printing PDFs to Zebra label printers. After all, you may be aware of cases where companies have their users print PDFs to Zebra printers from desktop software like Adobe Acrobat.

While Zebra printers can be made to print PDFs by using print drivers, those drivers are OS-specific, may not exist for a particular OS, and customers may not be able to reliably install drivers on servers where they run Robot Morning's automation software.

Other reasons our software uses ZPL:

  • Zebra printers’ first-class printing language is ZPL

  • All Zebra printers natively support ZPL

  • Not all Zebra printers natively support PDF

  • ZPL creates crisp, highly-readable barcodes

  • PDF may have a low resolution, resulting in barcodes that cannot be scanned

  • Print drivers may cause barcodes in the PDF to print poorly, resulting in barcodes that cannot be scanned

  • Mismatches between the PDF’s original dimensions and the dimensions supported by the Zebra printer can cause scaling or clipping of the PDF, resulting in barcodes that cannot be scanned

Because of the formatting risks and the printer driver limitations, we choose to have our software speak directly to Zebra printers using their native ZPL.

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