You can upload ZPL label templates to Benchling, which you can design using a number of label design programs. Zebra Designer Pro (V3) is free and provided by Zebra, but any software that can produce ZPL should be compatible.

This article explains each step for creating labels in Zebra Designer.

Getting Started

You need to have at least one Zebra printer installed on the computer you're using. For help configuring your printer, visit Configure printers for label printing.

Zebra Designer Pro is not compatible with macOS. To run the Zebra Designer software on a Mac, you need an emulator, like a virtual box, PaperSpace, or another program that generates ZPL files.

Create a label

For this example, let's create a label for a container with a cell line in Benchling.

  1. Open Zebra Designer Pro and click Create new Label.

  2. In the modal, select your Zebra Printer and click Next.

  3. In the next page, set the label page size, then click Next.

  4. Click Landscape or Portrait to select the label orientation, then click Next.

  5. On the next page, set the label dimensions. Click Next, then click Finish.

  6. On the label setup page, click Barcode in the left-side toolbar, then click and drag the barcode to the desired location. For more barcode options, click Barcode in the Properties-Barcode modal on the right side.

  7. In the Properties-Barcode modal on the right, enter benchling.container.barcode into the text area. When designing your labels, you can use keywords that Benchling recognizes to pull in data related to the item on to the label.


  8. To add text to the label, select Text from the Data drop-down menu in the Properties-Barcode modal. You can add any text as plain, human-readable text or Benchling-specific information with the following format:
    benchling.<entity/container/plate/box/location>.<field name>

    1. Note: You must set the font to Zebra font for Benchling to read the label correctly. All other fonts will be unrecognizable. Select Fixed Text from the Data drop-down menu.

  9. After creating your label, click File and select Print to export the label as ZPL.

  10. Set the speed and darkness, check Print to file, then click Print.

    • Note: We recommend using a lower speed than the default 5 and a darkness above 15, as shown in the example above.

The image below is an example .prn file that contains the ZPL label code.

Next steps

Upload your label to Benchling or preview label templates.

To print labels, visit Printing labels.

If your labels do not print anything for the attributes you specified, ensure the label specifies the correct item type you are printing the barcode for. For example, benchling.entity to print entity metadata or benchling.container for container metadata.

Related topics

Creating ZPL labels for printing

Configure printers for label printing

Preview label templates in Benchling

Printing labels

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