File Formats: Printer Command Language Format (PCL)/(PCL-XL)

The Printer Command Language (PCL) vector format was developed by Hewlett-Packard specifically to allow computers and printers to communicate with each other. The PCL files consists of  commands. The HP printers parse and decode those commands. The PCL format also supports HPGL. For more information about HPGL, refer to PLT.

In the raster toolkits, PCL files are rasterized when loaded but cannot be saved. Loading and saving this format as a vector file are provided in the LEADTOOLS Vector Imaging Pro toolkit and are unlocked when the Vector features are unlocked.

LEAD supports version 3.0, 5.0 and 6.0 of this file format.

The default extensions used by this format are: PRN, PRT, PCL and Pxl.

LEADTOOLS supports loading this format as raster image, vector or SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) document.

This format is used by Visual PCL, PCLTOOLS, redtitan EscapE and AutoVue.

This file format does not support layers or grouping, but it does support embedded raster objects.

PCL filter provides support for:

File constants associated with this file format are:


Read Support

Write Support


FILE_PCL Yes Yes [251] Printer Command Language Hewlett Packard.
FILE_PLT Yes Yes [137] HPGL Hewlett-Packard.
FILE_PCLXL Yes No [349] Printer Command Language XL/6- Hewlett Packard.
FILE_PCL_TEXT_AS_POLYLINE Yes Yes [299] Used to enforce saving text as polyline.

When PCL files are rasterized, they are 24 BPP. You can read and write vector PCL files at 24 BPP.
When PLT files are rasterized, they are 4 BPP.

The following table indicates which objects LEAD can load and which objects it can save:




Arc Supported Supported
Circle Supported Supported
Lines Supported Supported
Pie Supported Supported
Point Supported Supported
PolyBezier Supported Not Supported
PolyDraw Supported Not Supported
Polygons Supported Not Supported
Polyline Supported Not Supported
Raster Supported Supported
Rectangle Supported Supported
Text Supported Supported

Required DLL: LFPCL. For a listing of the exact DLLs needed, based on the toolkit version, refer to Files To Be Included With Your Application.

Related Formats: CGM - Computer Graphics Metafile, CMX - Corel Presentation Exchange Format, DGN - Intergraph Format, DRW - Micrografx Designer DRaWing, DWF - DWF Format, DWG - DWG Format, DXF - Drawing Interchange Format, EMF - Windows Metafile Formats, GBR - Gerber FormatPCT - Macintosh Pict Format, PDF - Portable Document Format, PLT - PLT / HPGL Format, PS - PostScript Document Format, RTF - Rich Text Format, SHP - ESRI Shape Format, SVG - Scalable Vector Graphics Format, VEC - LEADTOOLS Vector Dump Format, VPG - WordPerfect Vector Format, WMF - Windows Metafile Formats, WMZ - Compressed Windows Metafile Format, E00 - ArcInfo Interchange File Format, MIF - MapInfo Interchange File Format.



Win32, x64.

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