HP 41 Barcode Generation


Does anyone know who can produce barcodes for HP41 programs on a letter size paper. I would like to know. Txs in advance for your comments...Efrain


Hi, Efrain;

There is a program that can produce such barcodes. It is hp41uc.exe, and runs in DOS environment. There is also another code that eases its use under Windows. I've been using hp41uc.exe for some time, and it runs O.K. in the DOS PROMPT from Windows.

ONE IMPORTANT THING: I did not get success printing the generated files (PCL, if I am not wrong) under Windows. I had to restart the computer, press [F8] and select Comand Prompt Only. Then I could print the file with the barcode image.

I`m sending you an e-mail with hp41uc.zip right now, O.K.?

If there is anything else, let us know.



Dear Luiz,
Can I have a copy of the hp41uc.exe too.
Thanks in advance
Chan Tran


You can download it from this site here;



taking a ride in this thread, I've been looking for a converter that would take the PCL-format file generated by hp41uc.exe to other vector-based format, say, DRW, DXF, EPS, WMF or another that can be handled by windows-based text processors (Word, PageMaker, StarOffice). I found a converter from PCL to GIF (TIFF?), but it 'eats' the rows' labels as they are vector-based digits that, when converted, are too small to be more than simple bitmap-type dots.

That's why I am trying to find a converter that can generate vector images, easier to handle.

Thanks and cheers.


I've just (hopefully) added HP41 barcode generation to my 'lif utilities for linux' distribution.
What I did was to split the process of printing barcode into 2 parts. The first program takes in an HP41 program file and outputs a 'barcode' file. The second program reads in the barcode file and turns it into postscript (as I have a Postscript printer).
That way, if I want to produce barcode for a different printer (say PCL), all I have to re-write is the second program. I've written another program that turns SDATA files into data barcode, and of
course it uses the same barcode file format (and thus the same Postscript printer program).
Of course under linux (and other unices) it's trivial to link programs together using the pipe operator.
Anyone is welcome to use this 'barcode' file format in their HP41 barcode programs, either as the only output format or as an option. The only disadvantage is that I've made no
provision for labelling the rows of barcode, so my program barcode printouts don't have the program line numbers corresponding to each row printed on them. I've never found that feature useful, though.
Oh yes, the file format. It's a series of variable length logical records, in binary. The low nybble of the first byte + 1 is the number of data bytes in the record (so 1 to 16 data bytes). The high nybble is ignored. The next n bytes are the data for that row
of barcode, leftmost byte first. Then you have another record, starting with a byte giving its length, and so on.


Thanks, Tony;

Falks; all that is discussed bellow is related basically to barcode formats used in the HP41. Please, I tried not to be off-topic; right?

I have Linux in my computer, but I did experience some trouble configuring the babe for Internet and Network (both MODEM and LAN card cannot be found). I`m about to update the distribution (any clues?) and the kernel (I must check it up for the actual I`m using), and I believe I`ll be able to got through your tips soon.

Anyway, I searched the Internet for a program that would do the conversion from PCL to some sort of vector-based drawing. The best (not vector-related) would generate a bitmap-based image for the .pcl files. The problem was the row numbers, that it replaced for a group of big dots (resolution, I believe). As I intended mixing the barcode images with text in a word-processor, I needed a graphics version of the barcodes. I thought about .eps, .drw, .cdr extensions, but could not find any.

At least I know which door I`ll knock later, when Linux is running alright... May I?



Firstly, just for clarification, my linux programs do not incldue a PCL->anything translator. In fact they don't produce PCL either. The barcode programs (turning HP41 programs and data files into barcode) output data in the format I mentioned in the last message. The
only printer driver is a postscript one which _certainly_ doesn't meet the eps spec.
Of course you're welcome to write your own translators from the barcode file into PCL or whatever word processor format you want. That's the whole point of having the 'barcode' files.
Secondly, is PCL a vecotr format? I've nevertried to produce it, but the old HP printer manuals I have seem to imply it's a raster (bitmapped image) format with the ability to put text characters on the page as well. In which case turning PCL into a vector format is not a totally trivial task.
It should be possible to turn it into other bitmapped formats, like .gif, etc though, fairly easily.
My guess as to why your row labels didn't turn out right after conversion is that the conversion program didn't know the font used, or didn't know how to scale it properly, or something like that. So it couldn't handle the text for the labels but could handle the bitmapped data for the barcode. But it would take a little investigation to prove that.


Hi, Tony;

thanks for clarifying. I have been using HP41UC.EXE for the last year and I found it very usefull cause I could create a paralell lib with some of my programs in barcode, hardcopy format. The fact is that the only format I got success printing was the PCL one. I don`t know why, I just tried printing the resulting file in Windows environment (98SE, printer HP 1100 laserjet, I believe PostScript Ready) and the system crashed. In DOS mode, everything is fine; a single DOS output command with a >prn at the end of the command line.

And I am completely sure your conclusions about the row labels are right. I agree with them. But I still intend doing what you have done, mostly cause you have used Linux. And the .pcl files are something like this: (just a little piece of one PCL file)
&k0S&l8D*r640S (s1BHOURS_FMT(29.04.2001_LCVieira_XFunc)(s0B

Program Registers Needed: 10

ROW 1 (1 - 6)*rA*b0W*b0W (... and many other characters)

They are not vector-format, but the text that is printed between the bars and in the headings appear unchanged, meaning they are not exactly bitmapped. I`ll continue my investigations and if I find something new, I`m posting here.

Thanks for your valuable informations.


From what I remmeber about PCL (gained by reading some ancient-ish HP printer manuals, which may not be fully PCL compatible), text can be printed as ASCII characters, and things like font changes, bitmapped graphics, underlining, etc are
done by escape sequences. That would explain the ^[ characters in your file -- they're <esc> characters (0x1b). I don't have the manual to hand,
so I can't look up all the sequneces used there, but that's what the file looks like to me.
I've never used the MS-DOS HP41 software -- what other printers can it handle for barcode? It may be that one of the others (if there are any) is going to be easier to translate into a word processor input file.


Tony, thanks again for your kindness and effort helping me in such an off-topic matter.

You have suggested that the barcodes should have a kind of bitmap format in such a way they could be managed in a text processor, maybe the way HP used in their own hardcopy material.

As I have told, there is a SW that already translates PCL to a bitmap-based image that can be handled by WinWord(!). In fact, I intend using it for final docs -.pdf- to share information about the HP41 in my almost-ready-to-go homepage. I just have to print the final docs and test if the wand can read them.

I`ll do it ASAP and I`ll post final results.

Thanks again. If there is another valuable suggestion, please, post it.

Best regards.

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