ESC/P (Epson Standard Code for Printers) is a command language developed by Epson to control computer printers. It was mainly used in dot matrix printers and some inkjet printers. During the era of dot matrix printers, it was also used by other manufacturers (e.g. NEC), sometimes in modified form. At the time, it was a popular mechanism to add formatting to printed text, and was widely supported in software.
ESC/P derives its name from the start of the escape sequences used, which start with the escape character ESC (ASCII code 27). As an example, ESC E will switch to printing in bold font, while ESC F switches off bold printing. The ESC/P control codes are sometimes also referred to as Epson LQ codes, as they were made popular by the Epson LQ series of dot matrix printers, even though ESC/P was introduced long before LQ printers.
There are several variants of ESC/P, as not all printers implement all commands. Epson refers to a more recent variant of ESC/P as ESC/P 2. ESC/P 2 is backward compatible with ESC/P, but adds commands for new printer features such as scalable fonts and enhanced graphics printing.
Another variant of ESC/P is ESC/P-R, which is now used by Epson on many inkjet printers.
Some current Epson impact printers use ESC/P, and some Epson Stylus inkjets still seem to be using some variant of ESC/P. See the Gutenprint (Gimp Print) project for source code examples.
- Epson Escape/P 2 Reference Manual
- Epson Developer Site
- List of Epson FX printer codes
- Gutenprint CVSweb view of printers.xml