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Form Printing Problem???Need Help.

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    Form Printing Problem???Need Help.

    Trying to upgrade to Win XP Pro, & I'm having a major problem. All of a sudden my defined form is printing dots across the back of the form it prints. It is printing a screen preview with the win3d backdrop.

    1 How or where do i tell it to stop doing this?

    This is occuring on several machines running WIN98, & 1 machine with WIN ME. This problem has occurred when trying to setup replacement system with XP Pro & now it is effecting the whole server network.

    I have set up a ANOTHER network operating 6 machines using XP Pro to resolve this issue. Need to replace all computers on network. All of which will be running XP Pro. We will be dumping the Win98 & ME (due toi older machines w/hardware failure).

    Currently using the same printers. I have new drivers and installed on secondary sytem trying to correct problem. The only problem was the XP machine couldn't print when connected to the original network running WIN98. When you set it up to print the win98 machines wouldn't print. Then after resetting the win98 everything was fine for about 2-3weeks then I started having problems with printing the invoice printer on 1 machine (now 3 of 6). It started doing the background print. The packing list is same printer, & driver but the form is a little different, it prints same as before, no problems. Both are the 8.5 x 8.5 fanfold using Panasonic KX-P2130. I have reformatted the ME machine.

    The error message is as follows:

    Some of objects on this report do not fit within the printer page (Conflicting values are shown in red and marked with an asterik)

    Printer Margins Report Margins
    Left 0.25in Left 0.05in*
    Top 0.00in Top 0.00in
    Right 8.25in Right 8.45in*
    Bottom 8.50in Bottom 8.50in

    In Alpha, under form propeties, page

    Left Right
    0.05 0.05
    Top Bottom
    0.00 0.00

    On all machines I have set up & defined printers. Using the Panasonic KX-p2130. Under Server Properties I created a custom form called "Invoice" Size is as follows:
    width 8.50in left 0.05in top 0.00in
    height 8.50in right 0.05in bottom 0.00in

    Printer printing preferences, I selected the paper "Invoice"

    Note: I have changed the right & left setting several times trying to correct. No effect. The only way to get to print is to go into Alpha5 and change the form setting. The Win98 custom form was set to 250 left and right.
    If I adjust form size I can get to print, but it prints the dots across background & it cuts off part of text box.
    This is same problem I currently have on older machines.

    Recent upgrade to XP Pro. Panasonic KX-P2130 prints dots across forms. I have custom forms set to print correctly. But it keeps printing background of DOTS, shows all forms settings with clear boxes. I had this problem when we first setup from DOS to Windows 98. Don't remember what we did to correct. Any help would be appreciated.

    So far Tech support has been no help. Including a paid consulting firm which ALPHA recommended.

    I need to replace all machines ASAP & resolve so we can continue to operate.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thank You.


    P.S. Note: Alpha 5 ver 4.03 build 230 (current version)
    Consultant is now telling me ALPHA don�t do form, must convert to reports?
    This has worked for several years, WHY NOT NOW????????

    RE: Form Printing Problem???Need Help.


    You asked why it isn't working now, and I think you answered your own question. Trying to print a form is at best a hit or miss operation and is normally not recommended for normal printed output. Most developers would suggest using a report. Printing a form on a dot matrix is especially challenging, since most dot matrix are not designed to print graphics. The fact that it ever worked is a surprise.

    Now you have moved to WinXP, which uses different print drivers. This is most likely one of the causes of the problem. As you pointed out, even older operating systems needed some tweaking to work. Since WinXP doesn't support DOS mode well, whatever tweak worked before may not work now, even if you knew what it was.

    Save yourself some additional headaches and create a report. This may not give the exact output you want, but will be much more reliable. This may not be what you want to hear, but I think you will get similar advice from any developer.



      RE: Form Printing Problem???Need Help.

      Not to sound redunted or stupid, but when I say form, let me make sure we are talking along the same line.

      We use a custom paper, it is 8.5" x 8.5" this is the form I'm refering to.

      As far as Alpha, it is a report. Their is a defined screen form we created for viweing purposes only. It is set up to show all the necessary information in the order we chose as well as linking seperate databases together. The report is setup to print on a button command. I have 3 different button print commands setup. All of which has worked correctly for several years. Only after logging the 1st xp machine into the network & trying to print with it's custom form setting did the problems start. Now We can't identify the reason why the error has occured.

      Microsoft Technician says it is an ALPHA software problem, not XP.


        RE: Form Printing Problem???Need Help.

        Microsoft will always say that, they don't have bugs, or so they would like you to believe. In this case, however, I would tend to agree that is is not an XP problem, per se. That does not mean it is an Alpha problem either. Alpha uses the supplied print drivers to create the output.

        It is more likely a print driver issue. If print preview is ok, then the printed output should be similar. The problem is that XP drivers are normally completely different than the drivers for earlier versions of Windows. Some printers either do not have drivers for XP, or may not even support XP. If they have a driver, that does not mean it will work correctly. Check the printer company for updated drivers.

        Panasonic does not show a driver for XP, but does have one listed for Win2000 which may or may not work. Check this link

        You can also try the WinXP built in drivers, but I assume you have already done that. If neither driver works, and the report did print correctly before on a different operation system, is is not an Alpha problem, but a printer to operating system problem. You may be forced to upgrade to a newer printer that supports XP. If you find a dot matrix, see if you can try before you buy. Some manufacturers are still guessing if their product will work in XP.



          RE: Form Printing Problem???Need Help.

          How come the only support is to convert to report instead of form use? When this was originally setup, ALPHA walked our tech thru the process. But now everyone says it is wrong & a bad idea to use form to print. Well bad news Report does same thing. If I print from the WIN ME machine it works. But the XP machine cuts text off by .50" to .75" on right margin. This is using the exact same printer with the 2k driver. The Win98 wont print. If I do from my home coputer which has XPPro with an HP Deskjet 722c, it was printing, now it prompts with PAGE MISMATCH ERROR. If I tell it to Shrink to fit, it prints background like screen preview. I'm not at final straw, we have all new equipment, just ordered a new Okidata printer (with xp drivers). After that I quess it will be square one, either create new databases or switch To a different program.


            RE: Form Printing Problem???Need Help.

            ALPHA text file says:


            Forms provide a detailed, one-record-at-a-time view of the data in your table or set. Forms are generally the type of layout that is used to perform data entry. For example, suppose you use Alpha Five to track invoices. By using a form, you can create invoices.

            The form displays each invoice record using data from the multiple tables that comprise the invoice set.
            In Alpha Five, a form is analogous to a paper-form such as an invoice, but forms can do things that paper-forms cannot. For example, forms can display calculations, and can be used with Query-by-form to order and select records. (Query-by-form is discussed in "Ordering and Selecting Records".)

            This section discusses creating forms using the Form Editor, and assumes you have some familiarity with the layout tools, such as using a toolbar, grouping and ungrouping objects, and dragging and dropping objects. If these terms are new to you, review "Layout Tools and Techniques". The concepts discussed apply to the other editors as well.

            � 1996-1997 Alpha Software Corporation

            This is exactly what we use it for. Now everyone says is bad idea. WHY?


              RE: Form Printing Problem???Need Help.


              I can't find the text you're citing in my A5V4 user's guide. Chapter 7 comes close, but is a bit different.

              In any case, the passage you quote says nothing about the level of printer support available for forms, now does it ?

              I'm not picking on you. It just seems to me that you're experiencing the same kinds of upgrade issues many of us have already encountered, as operating system after operating system is launched by Microsoft. Many would think it unreasonable of you to believe that a product released years before XP would be expected to perform exactly the same after you change the status quo on your system by installing a new op system. Those of us who've bumped into similar issues have offered a solution for you, but you're apparently unwilling to consider it.

              I wish I could tell you that even if you bought a new PC and upgraded to Alpha Five Version 5 you'd be assured of being able to print your form. However, I can't. The print support for forms is rudimentary at best. In contrast the report engine is robust.

              I join the others in recommending you give the report engine a shot.

              -- tom


                RE: Form Printing Problem???Need Help.

                Problem is existing on WIN98, need to fix before going to XP. THIS IS THE PROBLEM. The statement I posted is in the help file that came on ALPHA CD & is still there even after update patch file for ver4.03 build 230. Not talking about printer support, refering to use of form vs report. When this application was setup, we used form because of printing on a custom 8.5 x 8.5 form that is premade with our logo & all fields in place. Alpha is used to put the data in appropriatre fields. Now several years later & several new versions & everyone acts like it is a taboo use forms. I have no problem using report, even now. But once again the problem exists where we can not get it to print correctly. Printers do print our packing list form which is a 3 part. The problem is on the invoice form (2 part) it is not printing on 3 of 6 machines. The error is there about page mismatch, if you tell it to shrink to fit it does a screen print with backround of dots arounds all data text boxes. This is the problem. When installed on XP machine problem follows. EVEN with a new printer with a real XP driver. ???????????????/


                  RE: Form Printing Problem???Need Help.


                  It might help to focus on what's different between the machines or printers where the report is printing ok, and the machines or printers where the report is not printing ok.

                  If all the machines used to print ok, it would be helpful to identify the changes that were made on those machines where the report printing problem now occurs.

                  It's difficult to be more specific, I'm sorry.

                  -- tom


                    RE: Form Printing Problem???Need Help.

                    ok, so as you know there has been no change. The Invoice form, Packing List w/prices, & the Packing List w/o prices are all three the same form. Only difference is the no prices we left the price fields out. The printers are the same Panasonic KX-P2130 (originally using EPSON LQ800 mode)(as instructed by Alpha when 1st setup). The invoice form prints on a 2 part custom paper 8.5 x 8.5 the packing list prints on Panasonic KX-P2130 using a 3 part form. There is absolutely no differnece on the machines. All are running Win98, same cpu, same memory, etc. Thier is one machine using Win ME, this was printing for 3 years until all of sudden. The problem began when we indroduced the newest machine that has XP on it. The custom form setup in XP is different than that in the Win98 or Win ME. When we tried to setup printing of custom paper the problem began. Since this occured we have updated the Alpha to the most reent version of 4.03 build 230, now running a newer printer driver, also set as Panasonic instead of Epson. Still no effect. We have deleted forms & created new ones & same thing happens. So now you know what the differences are.


                      RE: Form Printing Problem???Need Help.


                      I think you answered your own question.

                      "The problem began when we indroduced the newest machine that has XP on it. The custom form setup in XP is different than that in the Win98 or Win ME. When we tried to setup printing of custom paper the problem began."

                      I wouldn't call that "no change". If the custom setup for the printer changed, then anything printing to it will not work the same as the previous print setup. The question is how to fix it. Without knowing what tweaking was done to make it work before, there is no way of knowing.

                      I have set up a couple dot matrix printers that print forms and each one has different margins, line spacing, lines per inch, character spacing, even fonts, etc. This requires much experimentation with layouts to get them to work. Change just one thing, like a new driver (WinXP normally uses different drivers than Win98), and the tweaking starts all over again. By your own explanation, you indicate the page setup changed, which I assume means margins, etc may be different. The only solution I can offer is to get the original designer who is familiar with the layout to make the adjustments needed to fit the new limitations.



                        RE: Form Printing Problem???Need Help.

                        Ok, to get XP to print we had to set up the custom paper in the server proerties. We called the paper Invoice. Set the setting & it didn't print (page mismatch error(had to shrink to fit)), it printed dots across the backround trying to emulated the screen print of WIN3d. Only setting that was changed was telling the form to print on the correct printer (on new install of Alpha on xp machine). When changed The setting never changed on server, it still prints even today. No actual settings were changed in the form, fields or anything. So needless to say & to constanly repeat myself, How DID I answer my on question? I have set everything up the way Alpha said to for form print. I do understand Report now, probaly will set new version this way. But that doesn't answer why this worked for several years with no problem. I know the problem exist in the action setting on button command. What I have no clue. I just don't like Alpha support from day one & it makes it hard to shell out more money for a newer version. Even if it does resolve this problem. What about furture complications? Is XP that unstable or is Alpha?


                          RE: Form Printing Problem???Need Help.

                          1. The print driver on the computer that initiates the print determines how the form / report prints, not neccesarily the printer settings on the actual printer. You state the problem occurs when you print from XP, not when you printed from Win98

                          2. Panasonic does not list a print driver for the KX-P2130 on WinXP. Drivers for other operating systems may work, but not predictably. I do not know what driver you are using.

                          3. Apparently you are still printing a form layout since you mention the attempt to print a WIN3d background. Reports don't have backgrounds. A form prints as a graphic. Dot matrix are designed to primarily print text. Printing graphics on any dot matrix has never been very reliable.

                          4. The Alpha program prints to the print driver which then sends the information to the printer. If the driver does not interpret the information correctly, the printer does not respond correctly.

                          5. The dots across the screen indicates that the driver is attempting to print a background, but is failing. WinXP uses a different background color and layout than Win98, WinME, Win2000.

                          So what are the likely reasons for your problems - all of the above.

                          You are attempting to print a graphic design from an operating system that has different graphic design layouts to a print format that doesn't support grahics well even with correct drivers. The printer doesn't have a manufacturer supported driver, so any driver used is emulating something, which may not be exactly correct. The fact that the program supplying the graphic happens to be Alpha probably has little to do with the problem you are having.

                          You can blame Alpha if you wish, but what you are seeing is a consequence of a number of factors relating to using dot matrix printers on XP. For example, our company will not use WinXP on any computer that prints to dot matrix. Even with Win2000, some printouts from text based reports from any program are not what we expect. At some point we may be forced to accomodate XP, but we are holding out as long as possible since we still print invoices on multi-part paper and need dot matrix support, although we are moving toward all laser printers. I would not even attempt to print a graphic under the conditions you have.



                            RE: Form Printing Problem???Need Help.

                            OK! Call this simplistic if you want but, why not scrap XP on the new machine and replace it with a Win98 operating system?


                              RE: Form Printing Problem???Need Help.

                              First of all, the problem is on the WIN98 machine. When we switched data to all new network running XP Pro problem still exist. XP does print the exact same thing the exact same way. As far as printer driver Alpha recommended running Epson LQ860 not panasonic. Even when I did talk to them about this problem they still said use EPSON setting. All this is a mute point. As to what caused it I don't even care anymore. All I want is to do is correct it under the XP Pro. This has been & is my goal. Support has not been there. It was recommended to me to look & to post here. I thank all who has READ the entirity of my posts & has listen to all details & for the serious help. As far as WIN98, that is not acceptable for many reasons. We are looking @ converting to reports instead of forms. This is what we intend to do. There is just a few concerns with the way screen preview was presented to me as required/option. That I now understand can be eliminated & therefore we are going forward from this point.