What is Printer Emulation mode?
Printer Emulation mode is an alternate way to send Square orders to your Fresh KDS tablet. It's better suited for environments with poor or unreliable internet access but cannot recover lost tickets resulting from network hiccups.
Printer Emulation also supports open tickets, which are not yet supported by Square's API.
Why would I used Printer Emulation mode?
However, if you have an unreliable internet connection, you may find better order transmission reliability & speed using an alternate order transmission process called Printer Emulation.
Printer Emulation mimics a physical ticket printer. This process does not rely on an active cloud connection, but instead works across your local network.
Setup is more complex, and the connection can be more sensitive to local environmental factors, but sometimes it can be a helpful alternative in low connectivity situations.
Before you begin:
Ensure that the tablet you are using for Fresh KDS and the tablet your are using for your Square POS are both connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
Ensure that the Fresh KDS app is open and running during the setup process. This is required for Square to detect Fresh KDS as a printer.
1. Setting up Fresh KDS for printer emulation
Open the Fresh KDS app then navigate to Settings > General Settings > Integration Type.
If you do not see this menu option, you are already on using Printer Emulation.
This was the default mode until we introduced Square oauth in early 2022. If you signed up for Fresh KDS before then, and have not connected your Square account to Fresh KDS, you will not see this menu option.
Select Printer Emulation.
Click KDS home at the top left to go back to the Main screen
2. Create a Printer Station in Square:
From the Square app, tap the Three Lines icon from the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen
Navigate to Settings > Hardware > Printers
Tap Create Printer Station
Enter a printer station name
Tap Select Printer and select Fresh KDS
To test your connection, tap Test Print
Tap the Back Arrow to go back
Select In-person order tickets and toggle this setting on
Tap the Back Arrow to go back
Complete Step 2 for any additional Square devices that print to Fresh KDS
Now, any orders you ring in through your Square POS will be sent to your Fresh KDS tablet using Printer Emulation.
Switching back to API Order Transmission
If you'd like to switch back to cloud-base API order transmission, it's easy.
API Transmission vs Printer Emulation
Here are some more technical details about the differences between the two transmission modes.
API requires an internet connection to get tickets. Printer Emulation gets orders over the local network without an internet connection.
The API connection checks for new orders every 15 seconds.
The Printer Emulation connection receives orders as them are printed from the POS
The API connection is able to check for any missed tickets and retrieve them due to a gap in internet or WiFi connectivity. For this reason, it can be more reliable than printer emulation.
The Printer Emulation connection cannot recover a lost order if it is missed due to a network hiccup.
API does not include the Square order types. Printer Emulation contains all order modes.
All API orders except for Delivery and Pickup orders are listed as For Here.
We have asked Square to update their API to include this information, but it is not currently available.
API does not include open tickets. Printer Emulation prints tickets exactly as they would go to a ticket printer.
API is less likely to issues when 'parsing' square orders.
The API is Square's preferred integration type and is therefore less prone to parsing issues
The Printer Emulation is more sensitive to Square's
API does not require the KDS to be set up as a printer within Square
There is less set up required to use the API than to use printer emulation