ESC/P, short for Epson Standard Code for Printers and sometimes styled Escape/P, is a printer control language developed by Epson to control computer printers. It was mainly used in dot matrix printers and some inkjet printers, and is still widely used in many receipt thermal 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.
- ESC/P J84 adds special support for Japanese computers.
- ESC/P2 is a more recent variant of ESC/P by Epson. ESC/P2 is backward compatible with ESC/P, but adds commands for new printer features such as scalable fonts and enhanced graphics printing.
- ESC/P-R is a variant now used by Epson on many inkjet printers.
- ESC/POS is a variant for controlling receipt printers as commonly used at the point of sale (POS). An open source project listing almost all the ESC/POS compatible printers and their capabilities is available here.
- ESC/P-K adds special support for Chinese computers.
As of 2014, few modern/office/consumer non-Epson printers use ESC/P; instead most are driven through a standardized page description language, usually PCL or PostScript, or they use proprietary protocols such as Hardware Code Pages.
Note many current clone thermal receipt printers still continue to use the ESC/POS command set.
All current Epson impact printers still support ESC/P , all current Epson receipt/thermal printers support ESC/POS 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.
- "ESC/P-R Library - Innovation - Epson". Global.epson.com. Archived from the original on 4 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
- "FAQ about ESC/POS" (PDF). Seiko Epson Corporation.
- "Driver: eplaser-jp - OpenPrinting - The Linux Foundation". Openprinting.org. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
- "FX-890 Impact Printer". Epson America, Inc. Archived from the original on 8 July 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
Printer Language: Epson ESC / P, IBM PPDS, Okidata Microline (FX-890 Okidata Mode only)
- "LQ-590 Impact Printer". Epson America, Inc. Archived from the original on 8 August 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
Printer Language: Epson ESC / P3, IBM PPDS