HP PCL6 (PCL XL)
© Copyright 2002 HP Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.
Status of PCL6 in 2021
In 2021 PCL6 continues to be HP's fully supported and preferred printer language for enterprise and managed printers.The PCL6 documents shown below are valid for use by Independent Software Vendors.
PCL6 (or PCL XL) was introduced around 1995 with the HP LaserJet 4000 series of printers. It came in these flavors:
- PCL6 Standard: Equivalent to PCL5e or PCL5c, intended to provide backward compatibility.
- PCL6 Enhanced: An object-oriented PDL optimized for printing from GUI interfaces such as Windows and compressed to optimize throughput.
Formerly known as PCL XL or PXL.
- Font synthesis: Provides scalable fonts, font management and storage of forms and fonts.
- Feature Reference Protocol Class 2.0
- Feature Reference Protocol Class 2.1 Supplement
- Feature Reference Protocol Class 3.0 Supplement
- Fonts Dynamic Library
PCL6 document archive
PCL6 reference documents from 1998.
Zipped files attached at the bottom of this page:
- PCL6 True Type library in the lxttlib.zip file
- C++ files in the jetlib.zip file
- Draw tools: Support drawing lines, arcs/ellipses/chords, (rounded) rectangles, polygons, Bezier paths, clipped paths, raster images, scanlines, raster operations.
- Color handling: Support 1/4/8-bit palettes, RGB/grey color space. Support custom halftone patterns (max 256 patterns).
- Compression: Supports RLE.
- Units of measurement: Inch, millimetre, tenth of millimetre.
- Paper handling: Support custom or predefined sets of paper types, including common Letter, Legal, A4, etc. Can choose paper from manual feed, trays, cassettes. Paper can be duplexed horizontally or vertically. Paper can be oriented in portrait, landscape, or 180 degree rotation of the former two.
- Font: Supports bitmap or TrueType fonts, 8 or 16-bit code points. Choosing character set uses different symbol set code from PCL 5. When bitmap font is used, many scaling commands are unavailable. When TrueType font is used, variable length descriptors, continuation blocks are not supported. Outline font can be rotated, scaled, or sheared.
- Compression: Added a proprietary JPEG compression called JetReady.
- Paper handling: Media can redirected to different output bins (up to 256). Added A6 and Japanese B6 preset media sizes. Added Third cassette preset, 248 external tray media sources.
- Font: Text can be written vertically.
- Color handling: Added Color matching feature.
- Compression: Added Delta Row.
- Paper handling: Orientation, media size are optional when declaring a new page. Added B5, JIS 8K, JIS 16K, JIS Exec paper types.
- Color handling: Allow using different halftone settings for vector or raster graphics, text. Supports adaptive halftoning.
- Protocol: Supports PCL passthrough, allowing PCL 5 features to be used by PCL 6 streams. However, some PCL 6 states are not preserved when using this feature.
- Font: Supports PCL fonts.
- Viewer/Converter: Ghost PCL is an open source viewer for PCL5 or PCL6. (https://www.ghostscript.com/GhostPCL.html)
PCL 6 has three key components.
The first component, referred to as PCL 6 Enhanced has been optimized for printing from graphical user interfaces (GUIs) like Microsoft Windows and OS/2.
The second component referred to as PCL 6 Standard provides complete backward compatibility with past HP LaserJet printers.
The third component referred to as Font Synthesis provides scalable fonts