PeriPage Printer tool for Royal Mail label PDFs

Printers absolutely suck, which is why I switched to a small consumer thermal printer called the PeriPage. Yes thermal printing has some issues, but it is more affordable than ever, you never have to buy ink and China is bringing out some which are pretty cute.

However, like many people in the UK, I sometimes have to send things through Royal Mail. Thankfully their PDF labels tend to come from a more central “Click and Drop” system these days. Royal Mail produce these PDFs ideally to be printed out onto A5. A5 is a lot bigger than the tiny receipt paper PeriPage uses.

Click and Drop produces PDFs which are fairly easy to pick apart and then re-lay the elements out in a way where a human can read the details and a computer can read the barcodes. So, armed with a Javascript PDF library I did just that.

Once the pieces have been taken apart, the easiest way I’ve found of printing stuff through PeriPage is to produce an image. This is easily done using HTML5 canvas. With some code to ensure everything is after one another, it appears almost quite professional.

Hopefully Royal Mail doesn’t change up the PDFs too much. If I come across one that doesn’t work, or if I’m sent one, I’ll update the tool to handle it.

PeriPage showing a printed Royal Mail receipt

The only real downside to this method of printing things is that the PeriPage app is insanely locked down and it’s not the easiest thing to use. Maybe one day these devices can have some open source print drivers/apps.


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Joe

I like pushing buttons to make seamless, almost invisible experiences for people. It's a little abstract of a vision, but it's entirely possible.