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Thread: Trouble Printing on Pre-Formatted Forms

  1. #1
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    Chris
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    Default Trouble Printing on Pre-Formatted Forms

    I am trying to print on a pre-formatted form. I have created a letter with all the information, but cannot get the vertical spacing right. I am having trouble getting the printer to respond to font size. I just purchased an Okidata Microline 320 dot matrix printer. Can anyone help on the font to use or any special set-up needed to make this work? I am printing in the typset mode and can get some different style characters, but cannot get them to change font size!!!

  2. #2
    VAR davej's Avatar
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    Dave Jampole
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    Default RE: Trouble Printing on Pre-Formatted Forms

    Chris,

    You might have to play with printer emulation with the Oki.

    One of my clients had an oddly sized receipt that neaeded to be printed and one I got the sizing worked out, there was never any problem. If memory serves, I found the horizontal and vertical positioning a bear to get right - went through LOTS of paper experimenting, but it is doable. The one thing that comes to mind is that I needed to use a mono-spaced font. Proportional speced fonts will drive you nuts and will NEVER work.

    Trial and error is the key.

    Dave

  3. #3
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    Default RE: Trouble Printing on Pre-Formatted Forms

    I have gone through a lot of paper already!!! What are mono-spaced fonts? The whole problem is that I can't find a font that will print a 1-4 point empty space to correct vertical spacing.

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    Default RE: Trouble Printing on Pre-Formatted Forms

    I figured out what mono spaced fonts are, but that's not the problem. All the fonts I'm trying are fixed pitch so the size can't be changed. Some can go slightly bigger, but nothing smaller than 10 point so far. Any other suggestions?

  5. #5
    VAR davej's Avatar
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    Default RE: Trouble Printing on Pre-Formatted Forms

    Chris,

    Okay, take a look at the Report Parameters (from Report Layout, tap [F7] and select Report Parameters. Measure the printing width your paper (ex: 8"), multiple by the character width you want (ex. 17 cpi) and you get 136. Set Report Width to 136.

    Keep in mind that I'm NOT talking about your printer, but the one my client used - an HP Deskjet Series Portrait - in their case.

    I had to experiment with the different printer available in Alpha to find one that worked for my client. You'll have to experiment to find the closest printer in the Alpha list that works for you.

    Dave

  6. #6
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    Default RE: Trouble Printing on Pre-Formatted Forms

    Dave,

    I'm not sure if you understand that I am using a dot matrix printer as it has to print through a multiple part form. A deskjet printer would be easy as I could change the font size, therefore affecting the heights. Any ideas with a dot matrix? I'm really having a tough time with it. Would moving up to the most current version of Alpha 4 do me any good as far as print capabilities go, remembering that O have to use a dot matrix?

    Thanks!

  7. #7
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    Paul French
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    Default RE: Trouble Printing on Pre-Formatted Forms

    A reference manual should have come with your printer. If not, you can download a .pdf version from the Oki web site.

    What you're looking for are the printer control codes for line spacing so that you can modify how far the paper advances each time a line feed is sent. You may have to go in and modify one of A4's printer setups (copy the original settings before you start so you can get back to where you started, if necessary) to get the line spacing you want.

    Dot matrix printers can easily be switched to 8 lines per inch (the Oki codes are 27 56 to switch it into 1/8" mode), but if it doesn't fit either the standard 6 lines per inch or the 8 lines per inch, it's still doable if the spacing on the form is at least consistent because dot matrix printers can be set up to advance the paper any number of 144ths of an inch with each line feed (the Oki codes are 27 37 53 n where you want it to advance n/144" with each line feed). If you have your Oki set up to emulate a different printer, the codes may be different. You can find them in the reference manual.

    A good quality ruler helps when trying to figure out what spacing you need.

    As far as character size goes, with some printers, you can switch into superscript or subscript mode to get smaller characters, if that's what you need.

    If you've played around with spacing and other settings it also usually helps to use a form feed to advance to a new sheet each time rather than issuing a series of line feeds, although the opposite sometimes turns out to be true.

  8. #8
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    Default RE: Trouble Printing on Pre-Formatted Forms

    Paul,

    Thanks for the reply. I've been beating my brains out on this one. The printing of line feeds n/144th of an inch is exactly what I need to solve the problem. As far as sending line feeds, will a carriage return in a letter suffice or do you need to send a code for a line feed?

    I did briefly try this last week when Okidata faxed me all the codes. Could not get it to work. I'm using a letter form and was inserting the control codes through the menu options. I was using typeset printing. Should I be using typeset printing or just standard print? Character size is not an issue at all, my only issue is vertical spacing between lines.

    Lastly, you mention possibly adjusting the printer set-up codes. What would you change in there? There is not much that looks like it would help. Only underline, italic, and bold codes.

    Thanks again for your help. I really appreciate it and think I'm getting closer to the answer!!!

  9. #9
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    Default RE: Trouble Printing on Pre-Formatted Forms

    I presume that once you determine how many n/144th each line needs to be, the entire page will have the same line spacing.

    I think I'd create a new printer configuration, starting with a duplicate of whichever driver you've tried that comes closest to meeting your needs.

    Change the "Description" to something that will clearly distinguish this printer configuration from others you may use.

    Change the "Page Advance by" setting to "Formfeed" if it isn't already specified.

    Change the "Lines per page (1-99)" setting to the number closest to the number of lines that will fit on the length of paper you're using with line spacing set to n/144" (if you're using 11" paper, multiply the number of lines in an inch times 11).

    Try appending the codes for n/144" spacing to whatever "Set-up codes" you find already there.

    Add the necessary codes to change back to 1/6" linespacing (or printer reset codes) to whatever is already in the "Close-out codes" area. If you don't do this and change to another printer configuration for other print jobs, your altered line spacing settings may persist (depending on how the other printer configuration is set up).

    You'd then use your new printer configuration to print the form on which you need the custom spacing and use the "normal" printer configuration for other printing.

    Without knowing which print driver you're using and a more about what you're trying to do, I have no idea how well that will work, but it should get you headed in the right direction. You may have to look up whatever codes are already being used in each section of the printer configuration screen to figure out exactly what's already being done as some printer codes reset others and some have a cumulative effect.

    Another interesting note is that you don't have to use Bold, Italic, and Underline for their intended purposes. You can substitute codes for other functions you may find more desirable, and when you insert the code for bold in a layout, you get feature whose code you substituted in the bold section of the configuration screen. There are obviously some printer features that won't work very well that way, but you can do more with the printer configuration screen and a reference to you printer's control codes than it first appears.

    Good luck.





  10. #10
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    Default RE: Trouble Printing on Pre-Formatted Forms

    Paul,

    Thanks again for all your help. I'm going to try your suggestions in the next few days. One question though, when I set the line spacing to "n", will it move that amount for every carriage return in the letter? Say I make n=12, when I have 2 lines in a row, they will be spaced 12/144 or 1/12th of an inch from each other, right? If I just have 3 carriage returns in a row will it move the print head down 1/12th 3 times or will each carriage return be the height of the characters I'm using with 1/12th of an inch between the empty lines?

    The reason I ask this is that I am filling forms with boxes and one of them has several boxes on the top of the form that are say 1/4" tall and then half way down the form the boxes are 3/8" tall. Therefore I have to adjust vertically as I go down the page.

    On other forms the boxes are the same all the way down and your original suggestion should work fine.

  11. #11
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    Chris DiBianco
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    Default

    I have been trying to accomplish this same feat using the same model printer with absolutely no luck. I have gone through many sheets of paper experimenting. Has anyone accomplished this that could provide some more insight, or available to set it up for a fee?

    Thanks!

  12. #12
    Member Mike Konoff's Avatar
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    Default

    I used to print my packing slips and invoices on blank 3-part forms, not pre-printed forms. I printed in Standard Mode, not Typset. one line = one line and one space = one space (mono spacing). Worked fine for me.

    OH...I did not do my printing to a letter, I did it to a report. I don't know if that makes a difference or not, but I have NO experience using the Letter.

    I was able to use the printer control codes that are available from the Oki manual. I too went through MANY pc's of paper setting this up too. I think that I tried typset to make them look prettier, but found the settings too finicky and gave up for the Standard mode, which worked fine for years.

    If you wish to go to Standard mode, I may be able to help. But since I gave up on and did not use Typeset, I can't offer much, if anything.

    Sorry,
    Mike
    Thank you,
    Mike Konoff

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