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PHP : Function Reference : Printer Functions

Printer Functions


These functions are only available under Windows 9.x, ME, NT4 and 2000. They have been added in PHP 4.0.4.


This » PECL extension is not bundled with PHP.

Windows users must enable php_printer.dll inside of php.ini in order to use these functions. Unbundled PECL extensions may be downloaded from: »

Runtime Configuration

The behaviour of these functions is affected by settings in php.ini.

Table 270. Printer configuration options

Name Default Changeable Changelog
printer.default_printer "" PHP_INI_ALL Available since PHP 4.0.6. Removed in PHP 4.1.1.

For further details and definitions of the PHP_INI_* constants, see the Appendix I, php.ini directives.

Resource Types

This extension defines handles to a printer connection, to a brush, to a font and to a pen.

Predefined Constants

Table of Contents

printer_abort — Deletes the printer's spool file
printer_close — Close an open printer connection
printer_create_brush — Create a new brush
printer_create_dc — Create a new device context
printer_create_font — Create a new font
printer_create_pen — Create a new pen
printer_delete_brush — Delete a brush
printer_delete_dc — Delete a device context
printer_delete_font — Delete a font
printer_delete_pen — Delete a pen
printer_draw_bmp — Draw a bmp
printer_draw_chord — Draw a chord
printer_draw_elipse — Draw an ellipse
printer_draw_line — Draw a line
printer_draw_pie — Draw a pie
printer_draw_rectangle — Draw a rectangle
printer_draw_roundrect — Draw a rectangle with rounded corners
printer_draw_text — Draw text
printer_end_doc — Close document
printer_end_page — Close active page
printer_get_option — Retrieve printer configuration data
printer_list — Return an array of printers attached to the server
printer_logical_fontheight — Get logical font height
printer_open — Opens a connection to a printer
printer_select_brush — Select a brush
printer_select_font — Select a font
printer_select_pen — Select a pen
printer_set_option — Configure the printer connection
printer_start_doc — Start a new document
printer_start_page — Start a new page
printer_write — Write data to the printer

Code Examples / Notes » ref.printer


You can print in XP. AND, you can print to a shared printer with XP. The drivers for the printer MUST be installed on ther server as well as on the computer you wish to print with. Also, the printer must be shared on the client computer.
I am using a Zebra LP2844 Thermal Barcode Printer in my application. I am running XP Pro,Apache 1.3.27, PHP 4.3+.
Here is a function I use in our churches checkin system.  I use this to print directly to our printer with out having to use any Javascript.
First, i give the function the name of the shared printer.
Second, I get the client computers host name. You could use just REMOTE_ADDR too I suppose.
Then I return a correctly formatted Windows path to the shared printer for the
function getPrinter($SharedPrinterName) {
   global $REMOTE_ADDR;
   $host  =  getHostByAddr($REMOTE_ADDR);
   return "\\\\".$host."\\".$SharedPrinterName;
$handle  =  printer_open(getPrinter("Eltron"));
So, as long as you KNOW the computers are suppose to have a shared printer called "Eltron", you're all set to start sending info to the printer with the other Printer functions.

arne dot briesenick

Printing in UN*X is possible too:
function lpr($STR,$PRN) {
 $prn=(isset($PRN) && strlen($PRN))?"$PRN":C_DEFAULTPRN ;
 $CMDLINE="lpr -P $prn ";
 $pipe=popen("$CMDLINE" , 'w' );
 if (!$pipe) {print "pipe failed."; return ""; }
} // lpr()
You pipe the stream/string/char/sign whatever to the system. In the example shown above you have to add at least the string for printing in the function call. The second arg is a printer name which if you don't set will be set to the C_DEFAULTPRN. This is a constant definition from an ini file.
Hope this will help to save a lot of time ;-)


Please notice that what is printed is NOT measured in pixels, it is measured in pronter's dots.
Apply to fonts, coordinates and bit maps.


If you want to address the printer from your PHP-application in a Un*x environment:
This is possible if you use a different method.
In Unix it would not be logical to address your printer directly from php, but you could for instance generate a PDF-file with PDFlib (or a textfile, or a PNG/JPEG image with GD or what have you) and write it from your php-script to a directory that you use as a "printer-outbox."
Next, you write a shellscript that calls some unix tool to print all pdf or other documents in your "outbox" directory and then deletes all files in that directory.
Then you use crontab to run this script every minute or as often as you think it's neccessary.
You could of course also call the shellscript from your php-application with exec() but you'll probably want to avoid using exec() and the like for security reasons.


I was able to print nice looking reports (under unix) by sending out formatted text out through 'enscript'.  The various configuration options on enscript took care of fonts and headers etc.  The result was a postscript file which I just sent to the server's local printer.
One could also pipe it through a PS to PDF filter and send it back to the user, I suppose.
For another job, I learned how to write postscript and just wrote directly to postscript files.  Learning how to write postscript is probably only marginally harder than learning how to use this API, and is probably more portable.


I have noticed the for unix based systems you can also do this:
system("lp $filename")


I have gotten very reliable printing using this set of functions coupled with Windows 2000, IIS, the PECL extension, and the php_printer.dll.
Basically I have a linux web server that sends a request to the windows 2000 IIS web server (acting as the role of print server) sending the information to be printed in the query string.
I use this primarily for printing barcoded labels, where the barcode itself is a barcode font found on the web.  
I got terrible reliability out of all versions of apache running on windows 2000 and xp.

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