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Alpha 4 6.2: pre-formatted W-2 forms on Laser

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  • Alpha 4 6.2: pre-formatted W-2 forms on Laser

    I'm having line-spacing problems with sending payroll data to preformatted W-2 forms in DOS Alpha 4 ver 6.2. The preformatted forms are normal, two-W2 per page. Printer is HP LJ IIP compatible (NEC 870). I've tried all combinations of no. of lines in Printer Configuration (60, 66), Printer hardware setting for lines per page (60, 66), Alpha 4 report parameters "non-standard lines per page" (60, 30, 33), and adding/removing lines on report itself. I can get the two forms on the first page printed ok, with extra lines at top on second page. Or, I can get the top form on the second page to line up ok, but second form on each page starts too low. And so on ad nauseum. Has anyone attacked this particular problem with success? If so, would you kindly share your settings?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    RE: Alpha 4 6.2: pre-formatted W-2 forms on Laser

    Larry:

    I have been printing 1099-MISC on my HP IIIP for several years using Alpha 4. For 1099's, I set the report layout to handle 3 forms per page and set the paper size to 8 1/2 x 14 to avoid the problem of trying to use too many lines on a page. With normal 6 lines per inch vertically, each form is 22 lines long. The printer is set up for manual feed. I prepared a custom printer driver for use with the 1099's. This is something that Alpha 4 lends itself to do for specialized applications.

    I hope this helps.

    Al Palmer

    Comment


    • #3
      RE: Alpha 4 6.2: pre-formatted W-2 forms on Laser

      Al:

      Thanks for the suggestions. I attempted to convert and use some of your logic, but I'm still having problems. Would you have time to be more specific about how you set up your layout and printer driver? Or perhaps you could send some file attachments containing your printer driver and report format?

      Thanks again.

      Comment


      • #4
        RE: Alpha 4 6.2: pre-formatted W-2 forms on Laser

        Larry:

        Printer configuration I use for an HP IIIP to print 1099's"
        Left Margin: 0
        Top of Form Delay: 5
        Printer Port: LPT2
        Page Advance by: Formfeed
        Lines per Page: 66
        Set up Codes: 27 69 27 38 108 50 104 27 38 108 55 50 112 27 38 108 49 50 48 90
        Close-out Codes: 27 69
        Normal codes: 27 40 115 48 66 27 40 115 48 83
        Bold Codes: 27 40 115 53 66
        Italic codes: 27 40 115 49 83
        Uline on codes: 27 38 100 68
        Uline off codes: 27 38 100 64
        Compressed on: 27 40 115 49 54 46 54 72
        Compressed off: 27 40 115 49 50 72

        There may be more efficient ways to set up the setup codes. I dug these out a few years ago.

        As to the actual report parameters, the only out of ordinary settings are Split line count=21, max records per page=3, standard page length=No, and Page length=22.

        You would have to adjust this to do W-2's because they are probably laid out differently. If you want me to translate the printer codes into words, it will be a couple of days to get to it. Hope this information helps.

        Al Palmer

        Comment


        • #5
          RE: Alpha 4 6.2: pre-formatted W-2 forms on Laser

          Al:

          Thanks for your detailed message. I interpreted your setup codes to see what it might reveal about my own setup, then used your other printer and report settings, adjusted for my W-2 forms. Still no luck. However, I did find a solution. After spending a massive amount of time on this matter, I turned to an old standby: compiled basic. Essentially, I set up Alpha four to print to a DOS file, then wrote a BASIC program to read that output and format it correctly for my laser forms. (Certainly, I would have just typed the things were it not for the fact that I must do this for 86 different companies.)

          I sincerely appreciate all your help, and hope I can reciprocate sometime.

          Larry

          Comment


          • #6
            RE: Alpha 4 6.2: pre-formatted W-2 forms on Laser

            Larry:

            Just out of curiosity, what specific problems were you having when trying to get Alpha to print the forms. I've use Alpha to print other preprinted forms and never had any problems. Maybe I was just lucky!

            Al Palmer

            Comment


            • #7
              RE: Alpha 4 6.2: pre-formatted W-2 forms on Laser

              AL:

              As useful background, I also did a report format for 1099's without problems. You can thus imagine my consternaton at not being able to do likewise for W-2's. Basically, I was attempting to print on preformatted laser-oriented W-2 forms, 2 per page. I tried all conceivable combinations of (1) non-standard page length in the report format, (2) page lengths in the A4 printer definition, (3) page lengths in the physical printer's hardware configuration, and (4) various extra line feeds before and after (and without any extra line feeds) the report itself in the A4 report format. I am familiar with the necessity to get everything (especially the page lengths) in sync to avoid extra pages and creeping margins. A typical result would be to get the first page to come out perfectly, but have an extra inch (6 lines)on the second page of W-2's. No combination of page lengths, etc., in the various locations would resolve this. (Of the 86 companies I have to deal with, some may have 1 employee, some 2-3, and some as many as 8-11, so the ability to go well beyond the first page is essential.) I consider myself reasonably adept at programming (including report formats, scripts, etc), but this one stumped me. I eventually turned to BASIC out of sheer frustration, and solved my problem in about an hour. I strongly suspect that you are right - that there exists a solution solely within Alpha Four, but I ran out of patience and probably used a steam shovel to dig a post hole. I'm sure you are busy like everyone, but if you have the time, as a programming exercise you might want to get a copy of a laser W-2 and try it. I don't know why it would be massively different from 1099's, but it seems to be. I'm going to attempt to attach my report format to this message, which process may fail, but I'll try.

              Thanks again for your willingness to help.

              Larry


              Comment


              • #8
                RE: Alpha 4 6.2: pre-formatted W-2 forms on Laser

                Larry:

                Please send me an empty copy of the .dbf file and I will take a shot at it. (I need to know the names of various field when I try to open the report.) I enjoy the challenge because I know that Alpha 4 can handle it and I just have to figure out the right touch on the reins. I will enter some test data and see if I can make something work. The main reason I invested so much time and effort with Alpha 4 was because the report generator was by far the simplest to learn quickly and I could develop good printouts quickly and effectively.

                Al Palmer

                Comment


                • #9
                  RE: Alpha 4 6.2: pre-formatted W-2 forms on Laser

                  AL:

                  I appreciate your being receptive to a challenge. Actually, the report is housed in a "SET" which links three different databases, a paycheck file, an employee file, and a "complex" file (each company is actually a separate apartment complex). All three are required to do the report, so it might be just as easy to provide the entire application, databases, etc., and dummy up the data file a bit to protect the privacy of those companies and employees. When I zipped the entire directory, it resulted in only a 524K zip file. Let me see if I can reduce the data files and change some names, and I'll get back with you. May be a few days before I respond.

                  Thanks,

                  Larry

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    RE: Alpha 4 6.2: pre-formatted W-2 forms on Laser

                    AL:

                    I took the time to strip my databases of relevant data and make up some so you could easily experiment with the report format. Attached to this message is PR.ZIP, a 204K file which contains all associated files. Please unzip them to a folder, and read the "W2NOTES.TXT" file which contains a quick explanation of how to set up to print W-2's using my existing format (the one which doesn't work). Somehow my application itself became essentially nonfunctional in this set of files, but you have enough to look at the report.

                    Let me know if you have any luck.

                    Thanks,

                    Larry

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      RE: Alpha 4 6.2: pre-formatted W-2 forms on Laser

                      Larry:

                      I finally got enough time to look at your printing problem. When I set up your data to print on my printer, the second page places everything in the same relative position on the page. I think your problem is that you must set your printer to handle 66 lines of regular print -- no more no less and your report must say 33 lines. If I tell my HP IIIP printer to expect 66 lines, it can use 66 to actually print if I tell the printer that my page length is 72 lines. It is expecting legal sized paper (longer than standard) in the manual feed tray. Is there some way you can "fool" your printer into thinking it's dealing with larger paper?

                      What you printer is doing is saying "I can only use 60 lines per page so I'll take those other lines and put them on top of page 2. Hence the 1 inch per page creep.

                      Let me know if this explanation helps. The only other suggestion is to purchase a used HP laser printer because this works on all that I am familiar with.

                      Al Palmer

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        RE: Alpha 4 6.2: pre-formatted W-2 forms on Laser

                        Al:

                        Thanks for the effort, but it didn't help my situation. I had already tried setting the printer to 66 lines per page, which is accomplished via software control - a printer control program run at a DOS prompt. When it does this, it takes the printable area on the page and divides it into 66 lines by changing the line spacing. Yes, this does result in the second page typewritten lines lining up with the first, but neither page "fits" within the cells preprinted on a laser W-2 form. To see this, you must have a preprinted W-2 to hold up to a bright light and view the results of your output through the W-2 form. I could find no way within A4 to change the spacing in my report to accommodate this new spacing and line up properly on all pages. Again, I appreciate all your efforts, but I did find a workable solution by writing a BASIC program to handle the spacing problem. However, it does seem illogical that I can't get A4 to handle this situation without resorting to external programming.

                        Thanks again,

                        Larry

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          RE: Alpha 4 6.2: pre-formatted W-2 forms on Laser

                          Larry:

                          I'm not familiar with your printer. Is there some way that you can tell it that you're not using 8 1/2 x 11 paper? Does it have a manual feed tray?

                          Al

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            RE: Alpha 4 6.2: pre-formatted W-2 forms on Laser

                            Al:

                            My printer is an NEC 870, which emulates an HP Laserjet IIP. Yes, you can tell the printer what size paper you are using through software control, either using its DOS control program or by sending escape codes.

                            Larry

                            Comment

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