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Filemaker Printing - A Mystery

Ted S

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Rant coming, be forewarned.

I've been working with Filemaker since version 3. I really like the product for the most part but for me printing and has always been a mystery at best and downright annoying and frustrating much of the time. I'm Windows only so maybe that is at the heart of my problems but I just can't seem to depend on Filemaker to print things correctly or sometimes at all.

In the early days of v3 and v4 if you removed a workstation's default printer and replaced it with something else it would routinely cause the FM client to completely bomb. Not just while printing but the whole darn Filemaker application would blow up while simply opening a file. And of course, in a client server environment, clients routinely exploding while latched onto shared data is a recipie for disaster. Thankfully our friends at FMI seem to have solved this problem in the 2000's.

Today my source of frustration is in printing labels. Let me explain my setup. I'm running FMP 8.5v1 Advanced on Windows XP. I also have an Intermec EasyCoder PD4 label printer connected to the network. This label printer uses labels that come in a roll so I don't have to worry about how many labels fit on a page; there is only one label per page. I have configured my PC to access this printer via TCP/IP port. I built a layout in Filemaker that has no header, footer, or any other parts other than the body. The body dimensions match the size of the label which is 4" x 2-3/8". Sometimes I can get a the labels to print correctly, sometimes not.

We will be making lots of labels. Sometimes in batches of a few dozen, sometimes one-offs. We will be doing this very often so I want the process to be as seamless and as quick and easy as possible. So I created two scripts. One is intended to print the onezies, the other will print the entire found set. I don't what to make the the user to have to choose the printer, then choose between portrait or landscape, then paper size, then current record or found set, etc. everytime they want to print a label. It want this to be a single button push. So both scripts both contain both the Print Setup and Print scipt steps with the No Dialog option chosen. This should work right? Nope. Filemaker 8.5 seems to be incapable of retaining the paper size. It will print fine if I set everything manually but if I script the actions, the paper size reverts to something else and I only get every 4th label.

With most other normal (8-1/2 x 11) printing I have taken to making PDFs because they seem more controllable than native FM printing but with the labels I can't do this.


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I now see that the DYMO printers and 8.5 don't play well together - I have a series of layouts and scripts that were working perfectly with 8.0 and earlier which don't print correctly with 8.5 - don't preview - don't print - even though the setup hasn't changed at all.

Backing down to 8.0 resolved (worked around) this issue. :D

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Thanks again Keith!

This is some serious stuff. It's not like printing is just icing-on-the-cake. It is core functionality. Like you, I will likely have to revert back to 8.0 which is NFG.

I've caught bits-and-pieces of other printing problems in other threads as well. I think there is a problem with printing long reports too.

I wish there were a single place where FM users could go to see the bugs in a particular version; especially the current version. I know that if I search a half dozen bulletin boards and pore over a few thousand list messages the information is in there. But it's like looking for a needle in a haystack. There are a couple FM Wikis. I wonder if there is such an animal there? I wonder if some enterprising folks could add a "known or suspected bugs section"? I wonder...

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My DYMO was working fine for me in 8.0v3 and then I tried out 8.5 and it was printing blank labels so I downgraded back to 8.0v3 and they're still blank. Grrrr. Any suggestions? It really is annoying that FileMaker "fixes" things that aren't broken when they upgrade.....

btw I'm using OSX 10.4.7

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Prinitng is FMP weakest link. I wish I had an answer for you, I am struggling with my own printing issues...that is why I popped in here tonight!

In another thread one of the listers mentioned a plugin withiut naking it that would allow you to "restore" a printer for a user so you could actually script which printer (or paper tray) that you want a job to print at.

I have a solution that needs to print a tractor fed invoice and a thermal label as part of a routine. I can not get this to work with keeping the Perform Without dialog Off. This sucks though becuase then I have to "man" the printer waiting for one job to end and the next to begin.



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