Zebra zpl programming guide

Updated April 17, 2017

Zebra programming language (ZPL) is a proprietary command language for label printers made by Zebra Technologies. The language allows you to control the appearance of printed labels. For example, you can add barcodes to labels along with a company name and address.

Command Syntax

The ZPL syntax is: "^XA," which starts every format command; "^FO," which is a field origin command; "^FS," which is a field separator command; "^FD," which is a field data command; and "^XZ," which ends every format command.

Label Appearance

Various commands allow you to adjust the fonts and other aspects of the label's appearance particularly text. For example, the "^A" command specifies the font to use in a text field and the "^FD" command defines a data string for a field.

Drawing Boxes and Lines

The "^GB" command allows you to draw boxes and lines to, for example, divide labels into distinct areas. Parameters for the "^GB" command allow you to format the boxes and lines. For example, you can indicate the border thickness or the degree of corner rounding.


The "^B" command allows you to print barcodes on labels, including industry standards Code 11 and Code 39. You can modify certain aspects of barcodes including orientation and height.

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About the Author

Joy Prescott has over 12 years experience as a technical writer. Since 1980 she has been a professional crochet pattern designer, publishing in many crochet magazines including "Crochet!" and "Crochet World," and in books such as "Today’s Crochet: Sweaters from the Crochet Guild of America." Prescott has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.