Extracting data from Brother P-Touch Label Printer .lbx Files.

We recently had to extract barcode data from a large directory of .lbx files, which is the file format used by Brother P-Touch Label Printer software. We could have found the software, opened each file in turn and cut and pasted the data into a spreadsheet, but this didn’t seem very efficient.

Opening the files in a text editor revealed that .lbx files are actually standard zip files – if you change the extension from .lbx to .zip you can open them up to reveal two files inside – label.xml and prop.xml, both standard XML files. The contents of the label can then be found by opening the label.xml file and looking for a node called ‘pt:data’.

We wrote a quick and dirty PHP 5.2 script that extracts all the label data and displays it in a basic html table:

// Eg my_web_server_dir/data_dir/labels
$labelsDirectory = 'labels';

echo '<table>';

foreach (new DirectoryIterator($labelsDirectory) as $fileInfo) {

if ($fileInfo->isDot() || (!stripos($fileInfo->getFilename(),'lbx'))) {
continue;
}

$zip = zip_open($labelsDirectory . '/' . $fileInfo->getFilename());

do {

$entry = zip_read($zip);

if (!is_resource($entry)){
continue;
}

$entryName = zip_entry_name($entry);

if (trim((string)$entryName) != 'label.xml') {
continue;
}

$entryContent = zip_entry_read($entry, zip_entry_filesize($entry));

$xml = simplexml_load_string($entryContent);

$matches = $xml->xpath('//pt:data');

$barcode = '????';

if (isset($matches[0])) {
$barcode = $matches[0]->__toString();
}

echo '<tr><td>' . str_replace('_', ' ', str_replace('.lbx', '', $fileInfo->getFilename())) . '</td><td>' . $barcode . '</td></tr>';

} while ($entry);

}

echo '</table>';

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