March 22, 2006
Zebras new Global Printing Solution now includes Unicode-compliant encoding and font support on its bar code, label and receipt printers. Full release:

Zebra’s new Global Printing Solution now includes Unicode-compliant encoding and font support on its bar code, label and receipt printers.

Full release:

Vernon Hills, Ill., March 7, 2006—Zebra Technologies (Nasdaq: ZBRA), a global leader in printing solutions for business improvement, has taken the expense and complexity out of printing international characters on demand. Zebra’s new Global Printing Solution now includes Unicode-compliant encoding and font support on its bar code, label and receipt printers. All major European, Middle Eastern and African (EMEA) languages, plus custom characters and logos, can be printed right out of the box. Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other Asian languages can be added via a simple font upgrade. Zebra is the first thermal printer manufacturer to provide native Unicode-compliant encoding support for printing multiple languages, even on the same label.

"With more companies transacting business in more countries, it’s more important than ever to be able to identify parts, products and pallets of goods – plus their ports of call – in different languages on the same label," said Dave Crist, vice president of sales for Zebra. "Our Global Printing Solution gives customers a convenient, comprehensive and scalable way to meet multiple language printing needs, and helps them eliminate the expense associated with recurring font and configuration changes."

The Zebra Global Printing Solution is available for the company’s industrial and high-performance Xi series, 105SL, and Z4Mplus/Z6Mplus model printers and PAX4 print engines. It is standard for all applicable printers and printers shipped in EMEA, which are pre-loaded with a compatible font that supports dozens of languages.

Unicode is a universal codepage (which converts numeric code points into characters) that can be used with any compliant computer platform or software application. ASCII and most other traditional codepage encoding systems support 256 characters or less. Unicode can support almost 100,000 characters from all the world’s major languages, including complex, non-Western languages that can be challenging to print.

Organizations that need to print labels in multiple languages have traditionally upgraded their printers by purchasing supporting fonts and the additional memory required to store and process them. As businesses expand into new regions, these printing systems become complex and expensive to manage due to the font licensing, installation and printer configuration required to support each new language. Another option has been to treat international characters as graphics, which often results in extremely slow printing. Zebra’s Global Printing Solution eliminates these challenges.

The Zebra Global Printing Solution lets the printer automatically output any language, with no need for an operator to select the language, font, codepage or otherwise configure or adjust the printer. This printer-resident capability provides fast first-label output and seamless multi-language printing. Optional fonts to support Asia-Pacific languages, which have thousands more characters than other languages, can be purchased separately and used concurrently with the printer-resident Unicode-compatible font. An optional 64M memory upgrade will also be available for storing label formats and large Asian fonts to further enhance print speed.

Zebra’s Global Printing Solution also supports the GB18030 encoding standard, which is now required for all computer operating systems sold in China, for multilingual printing from GB18030-compliant devices.

The flexible solution also enables companies to create private libraries of logos and special characters, and to easily include them in labels. This is extremely valuable for creating shipping labels in Asia, because Asian fonts frequently do not support characters for family names, street names and other proper nouns. The Zebra solution also includes special features for quickly and accurately printing Arabic, Hindi, Thai, Vietnamese and other languages that may require bi-directional printing or complex text and character layout.

Many leading IT systems and enterprise software applications now support Unicode. By networking a compatible Zebra printer to these systems, organizations can print international language labels directly, from within their applications.
For more information about Zebra’s international language printing capabilities, visit