Printer Emulators


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The high costs of printer hardware can make a developer's job difficult when designing a product which has printing capabilities. Various methods exist for printing to virtual printers which avoid the need to purchase physical hardware during the research and development phases of a project as well as baseline troubleshooting of functionality.

Printer emulation is a critical part of reducing the overhead associated with a development lifecycle. Listed below are common printer hardware emulators/methods.


OS Name Pixel Comments
Windows PDFCreator ✔️ Recommended choice for Windows. Download
Windows CutePDF ✔️ Good alternative to PDFCreator
Windows PrimoPDF ✔️ Good alternative to PDFCreator
Windows Microsoft XPS Document Writer ✔️ 600 dpi only; known to degrade image quality
Windows Microsoft Print to PDF ✔️ 600 dpi only; known to degrade image quality
macOS RWTS PDFwriter ✔️ Recommended choice for MacOS. Download
macOS Lisanet PDFwriter ✔️ Requires workarounds for macOS 10.10+
Linux CUPS-PDF ✔️ Recommended choice for Linux. Download via apt/dnf/etc


OS Name Raw Comments
All esc2html ✔️ ESC/POS See escpos-tools GitHub project
Windows QPCPrint ✔️ ESC/P2 Windows 7 or lower, disable UAC. Download
Windows Bematech ✔️ ESC/Bema Download (Portugese language)
Windows FILE: ✔️ Raw Configure, Inspect output using XVI32 hex editor
Windows PSA Output Manager ✔️ IGP/PGL (Printronix Graphics Language) Recommended for IGP/PGL/Printronix testing. Please inquire with TSC support for a link to this software.
Windows Virtual ZPL Printer ✔️ ZPL Recommended for ZPL. Visit site
All Labelary ✔️ ZPL Recommended for copy/pasting ZPL. Visit site Can use from other OSs through socket connection
All Zpl Printer (Emulator, Chrome app) ✔️ ZPL Requires Chromium 108 or older. Download
  1. Install the app from the Chrome Webstore
  2. Find the app by searching Start/Spotlight
  3. Edit the settings and increase the buffer to something large (e.g. 50000B).
  4. Edit the settings to set the paper size
  5. When printing using QZ you may use "set to host" to print. Alternately, you may add a local raw printer which points to with the emulator also listening on
  6. Last, and this is important, make sure to toggle the emulator back "On" after making changes.
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