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PCL - Printer Command Language  sequences always begin with the non-printable Escape code (hex: 1B, Dec: 27).  Some systems can not use or send binary data to a device. Binary means any character other than a letter, punctuation or a digit. Such systems include Mainframes where printers are connected to terminals, and IBM AS/400 computers. It can prevent you from using the HP PCL language, and from using Barcodes. With the FREE-ESCAPE feature, the Escape code has a synonym, a user-defined Escape Code or Alternate Escape Code (AEC). That character acts exactly like the standard Escape Code when found at the beginning of a regular PCL sequence.

FREE-ESCAPE is smart enough to ignore the EAC if it is found as pure data. You can also mix regular Escape Codes and Alternate Escape Codes. The AEC can be any character.

There is a new escape sequence to change the Alternate Escape Code:
<Esc or AEC>**#J

Where # is the ASCII code of the new AEC: Examples: 34 ("), 35 (#), 36 ($), 47 (/), 92 (\), 63 (?), 123 ({), 125 (}), 124 (|), 126 (~).

Default value for the AEC is the TILDE "~". If you can't send down the ESC sign and you don't want to use tilde as the AEC sign, then select any other sign for AEC from above list using the following ESC-sequence:  ~**#J and enter for # the ASCII value for ASC.

Another method to define the AEC character is to use the KEY Free_Escape_Char in the ini command file. Here you can also turn on and off this ELP function.


  • By default ELP has this function turned OFF! See section GLOBAL   in the ini-file.
  • Is the Function turend on, then the AEC can't be part of the user barcode information. So for example in Code 128 or EAn 128, this user data for barcoding is illegal: 123~456. In that case you need to reassign the AEC sign to a character whch is never used.
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