How do I print to a Bluetooth thermal printer in Android?

In this example we are going to create a simple Android application to print texts to a Bluetooth thermal printer. We’ll be using the Android library for ESC/POS Thermal Printer to develop this example.

We begin by creating an Android project with an Empty Activity. After the project is created we need to edit the app/build.gradle to add the required dependencies and the repository from which it will be downloaded.

...
...

dependencies {
    ...
    ...
    implementation 'com.github.dantsu:escpos-thermalprinter-android:2.0.11'
}

allprojects {
    repositories {
        maven { url 'https://jitpack.io' }
    }
}

Next, add the permission to access Bluetooth in the AndriodManifest.xml file.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<manifest xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
          package="org.kodejava.android">

    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.BLUETOOTH" />

    ...
    ...
</manifest>

Let’s now jump to the code snippet that will actually print our store receipt to the printer. The steps are quite simple.

After added the uses-permission in the AndroidManigest.xml we also need to check permission in the application, you’ll do it like this.

if (ContextCompat.checkSelfPermission(this, Manifest.permission.BLUETOOTH) != PackageManager.PERMISSION_GRANTED) {
    ActivityCompat.requestPermissions(this, new String[]{Manifest.permission.BLUETOOTH}, MainActivity.PERMISSION_BLUETOOTH);
}

Open the connection to Bluetooth printer by calling the selectFirstPaired() method of the BluetoothPrintersConnections class. This will give us an instance of BluetoothConnection. If the connection is good we create an instance of EscPosPrinter by passing some parameters like the connection, printer dpi, width in millimeter and the printer’s number of character per line.

BluetoothConnection connection = BluetoothPrintersConnections.selectFirstPaired();
EscPosPrinter printer = new EscPosPrinter(connection, 203, 48f, 32);

The next step is to prepare the text to be printed and called the printFormattedText() of the printer object and pass the text to be printed.

String text = "[C]Hello World!\n";
printer.printFormattedText(text);

Here is the full code snippet for our application.

package org.kodejava.android;

import android.Manifest;
import android.content.pm.PackageManager;
import android.util.DisplayMetrics;
import android.util.Log;
import android.view.View;
import android.widget.Toast;
import androidx.appcompat.app.AppCompatActivity;
import android.os.Bundle;
import androidx.core.app.ActivityCompat;
import androidx.core.content.ContextCompat;
import com.dantsu.escposprinter.EscPosPrinter;
import com.dantsu.escposprinter.connection.bluetooth.BluetoothConnection;
import com.dantsu.escposprinter.connection.bluetooth.BluetoothPrintersConnections;
import com.dantsu.escposprinter.textparser.PrinterTextParserImg;

import java.text.DateFormat;
import java.text.NumberFormat;
import java.text.SimpleDateFormat;
import java.util.Date;
import java.util.Locale;

public class MainActivity extends AppCompatActivity {
    public static final int PERMISSION_BLUETOOTH = 1;

    private final Locale locale = new Locale("id", "ID");
    private final DateFormat df = new SimpleDateFormat("dd-MMM-yyyy hh:mm:ss a", locale);
    private final NumberFormat nf = NumberFormat.getCurrencyInstance(locale);

    @Override
    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
        setContentView(R.layout.activity_main);
    }

    public void doPrint(View view) {
        try {
            if (ContextCompat.checkSelfPermission(this, Manifest.permission.BLUETOOTH) != PackageManager.PERMISSION_GRANTED) {
                ActivityCompat.requestPermissions(this, new String[]{Manifest.permission.BLUETOOTH}, MainActivity.PERMISSION_BLUETOOTH);
            } else {
                BluetoothConnection connection = BluetoothPrintersConnections.selectFirstPaired();
                if (connection != null) {
                    EscPosPrinter printer = new EscPosPrinter(connection, 203, 48f, 32);
                    final String text = "[C]<img>" + PrinterTextParserImg.bitmapToHexadecimalString(printer,
                            this.getApplicationContext().getResources().getDrawableForDensity(R.drawable.logo,
                                    DisplayMetrics.DENSITY_LOW, getTheme())) + "</img>\n" +
                            "[L]\n" +
                            "[L]" + df.format(new Date()) + "\n" +
                            "[C]================================\n" +
                            "[L]<b>Effective Java</b>\n" +
                            "[L]    1 pcs[R]" + nf.format(25000) + "\n" +
                            "[L]<b>Headfirst Android Development</b>\n" +
                            "[L]    1 pcs[R]" + nf.format(45000) + "\n" +
                            "[L]<b>The Martian</b>\n" +
                            "[L]    1 pcs[R]" + nf.format(20000) + "\n" +
                            "[C]--------------------------------\n" +
                            "[L]TOTAL[R]" + nf.format(90000) + "\n" +
                            "[L]DISCOUNT 15%[R]" + nf.format(13500) + "\n" +
                            "[L]TAX 10%[R]" + nf.format(7650) + "\n" +
                            "[L]<b>GRAND TOTAL[R]" + nf.format(84150) + "</b>\n" +
                            "[C]--------------------------------\n" +
                            "[C]<barcode type='ean13' height='10'>202105160005</barcode>\n" +
                            "[C]--------------------------------\n" +
                            "[C]Thanks For Shopping\n" +
                            "[C]https://kodejava.org\n" +
                            "[L]\n" +
                            "[L]<qrcode>https://kodejava.org</qrcode>\n";

                    printer.printFormattedText(text);
                } else {
                    Toast.makeText(this, "No printer was connected!", Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
                }
            }
        } catch (Exception e) {
            Log.e("APP", "Can't print", e);
        }
    }
}

The following image is the result of our code snippet printed on 48mm thermal printer.

Android Bluetooth Thermal Printer

Android Bluetooth Thermal Printer

You can find the complete source code in the following repository Android Bluetooth Thermal Printer Example. For more information on formatted text syntax guideline you can visit the project documentation website.

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