“Printing…” Message Appears, But No Labels Print – Zebra Printer Problem

Target Audience: Basic User, Advanced User, IT Manager
Article #: 12658


The Zebra print engine is often installed in a print applicator that will control the print and apply process. The printer applicator uses sensors to trigger label printing and subsequent application. However, if not properly setup, the “Printing…” message appears on the print engine’s panel, but labels don’t actually print.

Situation and Symptoms

  • Print job has been sent to the printer
  • The data indicator light (circled, below) illuminates.
  • The “Printing…” message appears on the LCD panel, saying “Printing (X) of (X)”.
  • Pushing the Feed button successfully outputs a blank label.
  • The label does not print.
  • There are not any error messages or error conditions indicated.
  • You are printing to a Zebra print engine such as the ZE 500 or PAX4.


In the incident that lead to this article, the print applicator was set up in a test bed and not connected to a conveyor system. As a result, the photo eye sensor used to trigger the printing was not installed.

When print jobs were sent to the ZE500 print engine, the print applicator stored the jobs into printer memory. This caused the Data indicator light to illuminate normally. And, the “Printing…” message appeared on the print engine’s LCD screen (see image, above). The print engine waits for the applicator to trigger the actual printout.

In a typical print sequence, the sensor will trigger a new label to print and then be applied. Another option is for the trigger to prompt the applicator to apply the last printed label and THEN print the next one. In either case, the print-and-apply sequence requires a trigger. The photo eye sensor detecting a package is the most common trigger.

An example of a label print-and apply chain.

However, since the sensor was never installed in this text environment, it never sent the signal needed to print. Instead, the printer kept waiting for the trigger. During this time, the Data indicator light remained lit and the LCD kept the displaying the “Printing 1 of 1” message without outputting a label.


In the case of a similar test bed situation there are two solutions:

  1. Install the photo eye sensor so that it can be used to trigger the print.
  2. Change the settings on the print applicator so that it does not require the sensor to trigger a print.

Additional Comments

Issue found with IDT 252 Applicator using the Zebra ZE500 print engine.

If you need further assistance, please contact us.


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