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Printer frustrations


LaRetta
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Has anyone figured out how to fix this problem of Windows XP changing print specs when scripted? No matter if I manually specify the print settings then remove dialog; nothing I do seems to matter ... Windows XP will print whatever it wishes whenever it wishes. I've even added a Print Setup script-step first, specifying all of my settings. I ended up running the print process and backing it up by printing to pdf in case the batch needs to be reprinted. But since 90% of the time it is printing wrong, I'm going to have to SKIP PRINTING entirely and just save to pdf. When print dialog was available to Users, it STILL wouldn't do what they specified PLUS they would incorrectly select Current Record instead of All Records. I'm in a catch-22 here. I manually printed everything - I specify color - it prints in black & white; I specify portrait - it prints landscape. What is the deal with Windows XP?!!?

I suppose I'll have to recommend an FM-ONLY printer which will not be touched after we get it to print correctly but even THAT doesn't feel safe or dependable after what I've experienced. I am desperate here ... can VB script help me at all? None of my scripted prints are dependable!

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I can not replicate your issue Laretta. I set up my Prints with a Print Setup [Restore; No Dialog] and then a Print [Restore; No Dialog] and it works.

Although the Print Setup from the File menu changes after running my script steps, the script printing works the way it should.

Maybe I am not testing it right?

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Ehm! This is a filemaker forum, debating printer issues, is just like debating the ethics of the youth or timely arrivals of trains or busses ...there is always something not quite as we wished it to be, and a sure bet for something always being able to occupy availiable bandwith if permitted to.....

--sd

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Who says I am debating Soren. I was merely reporting back my test results for Laretta.

As for debating Printing issues (which again I wasn't) since it IS related to FileMaker & Printing, if it is relevant then I say let it be. I dont find that a waste of bandwidth at all.

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Well I'm hinting to that "printer issues" hit's a whopping 60,000,000 when making a google search, where the hit ratio for the term "sex" yields 402,000,000 ...which quite unscientificly could be interpreted like; for every 6th time a person thinks of the distribution of his/her genes a printerproblem arises!

--sd

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Hi Laretta,

From my own experience I have learned that leaving the print dialogue open is the only reliable method ...

I always isolate the individual record before sending a layout to the printer if i only want the current one to print ...

I realise this is not an answer ... but i am not sure there is one really.

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LMAO. Ok Soren you win.

But since many people use FM to enter data and print reports with it, we must try to address these printing issues, stimulated or not. :o

P.S. Who would have ever thought that a FM discussion would go back to what most people would say every conversation eventually leads to... haha.

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I would agree...

But unfortunately i distribute a solution (so printers change from client to client) + It is also in a cross platform environment aswell...

Only solution for me is to avoid scripting it altogether.

I couldn't tell you the number of hours wasted on printing issues before i made this decision... but even then when OSX deployed PDF printing as standard (for preview too) i felt great for about a day before the calls started coming in... (page numbering was a write off as pdfs are one page even if preview is multi page, preview added a border so labels went to the printer from preview the wrong size) arrrghhh!!!

Printing will always be a nightmare.

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Well, thank you all ... quite interesting. I did NOT think my question out of line for the FileMaker Forum since it's with FileMaker that I'm developing and since it's Windows XP only that seems to have the issue of refusing to allow my scripts to remember their settings. When I used FM6 and stored the settings, they STUCK!! Now they don't. It's also peculiar that print to pdf always stores the pdf correctly as specified whereas the printers will not.

I am also not the only one that struggles with network printers and Windows XP reverting to default. If you disbelieve that, I suggest you study further. I asked hoping that someone had some workarounds. I asked in a VBScript section and NOT in the FM printing section. You don't call that a FileMaker issue? I disagree, Soren. And I have every right to 'waste bandwidth' (hoping that VBScript might help) as you do discussing your political views or philosophies in the Define Fields section, wouldn't you think?

John, Stuart, thank you for the input. I'm damned if I turn printers loose to Users and I'm damned if I attempt to lock the process down. However, *I* refuse to accept those options without a darned good fight. Come on, Soren ... take me on ... I'm in just the mood to go a round or two.

LaRetta

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I'm with L on this one. This is a very valid question and in the right forum too. Used to be in 6 you could reliably use Windows scripting to make printer changes and make them stick. That doesn't work anymore in 7 and 8, even the printer switching plugins have trouble with it.

So it's something filemaker users should be aware off, and it's something that needs to be brought up from time to time in case someone does find something clever that we can all use.

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I'm with L on this one.

Don't get me wrong - so am I, although printers are quixotic endevours by nature :o We're here dealing with conventions applied to abstractions. Does the measure of marble in a bank make it more solid? Does a banknote turn less of an abstraction the more zeros the first figure is followed by?

If we wish to print something is because we find that it can give sheet of paper a symbolic value ...and more important someone else recognizes this assignment over say "I gave him my word for it"

I just felt a need to air distraction - sorry!

--sd

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"Alle Reden von Wetter, Wir nicht"

Everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.

Simply, if we refuse to consider future options; if we always accept the norm then we will never resolve the issues. I decided to DO something about the weather, Soren. Intellectualize all you wish; I chose to instead solve the problem. And I have. Here is how:

Microsoft printers, across a network, reset the incoming print requests (from Users) to default settings. If a User prints a Word document in landscape, then FM requests a portrait print, Microsoft will change the FM request to print landscape (AFTER it leaves FM) no matter what you put in the print dialog from FM. Even if you precede your Print[] script-step with Print Setup[], Windows will change FM's request as it sees fit.

Download and use a printer PCL driver for all FM print requests that must be locked down. PCL drivers bypass Microsoft defaults and print as requested. Your script must include two script-steps:

Print Setup [ this pcl print driver ]

Print [ using this pcl print driver ]

The printouts I needed were critical forms which are used by our shippers to fill orders (called Pick Sheets). These sheets go into our warehouses (for manually filling orders on the floor) and are NOT changed during the shipping process unless a Change Order was sent through to override them. There are times (Soren) that printouts are NOT just eye candy but are part of a critical process (as in our case). Each day, we print over 150 (records) in batch prints. My scripts HAD to lock the print down. My scripts HAD to work right every time. Now they do.

No matter what I print before I request an FM print (whether landscape, duplex, black & white); no matter whether from MS Word, Excel or Quark, the PCL driver switches properly and it consistently prints as FM requests. I tested 150 different attempts from different computers and different programs using different configurations. Every single time, the PCL driver bypassed the Windows default and printed as specified by FM. It will not break.

So, Soren, did I waste bandwidth?

LaRetta

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Laretta thank you for taking the time on this as I just switched to 8.5 and have not yet tested all the printing scripts I have that print mass amounts of production labels, Shipping box labels, etc.

At least I know what direction to go if we do have the same problem. Although I do believe the print drivers on all the computers here are PCL type.

"So, Soren, did I waste bandwidth?"

No you did not. Thank you :o

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Hi Stuart,

I downloaded PCL drivers from both Lanier and Xerox (depending upon where I want to print my FM work). From my reading, it seems that a PCL driver is a generic HP-compatible driver (or printer language) which ignores Microsoft (God, how I wish *I* could ignore MS, ha ha). I'm no printer specialist - I only know what works and PCL bypasses network defaults.

Since Windows has attempted to take control of our prints, PCL allows us to take control back. That's all I know and all I NEED to know. We have control back again. I can't guarantee this will work for every printer made; some may not have PCL drivers at all. But, in addition to Lanier and Xerox, I spotted PCL drivers on several other printer websites as well. I think they're pretty common.

LaRetta

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I should add one caveat; most of my printed layouts have small borders. When changing to PCL driver, the bottom gutter cuts off half a line. I'll need to adjust all of these printouts. Is this a bad thing? On the contrary, it taught me that I must ALWAYS allow substantial margins on ALL layouts which might be printed ... enough to accomodate ALL printers which might be used, since they each have different 'unprintable' edges. I won't ever get caught by *this* one again; lesson learned. :wink2:

LaRetta

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Everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.

This interpretation leaves something out... eventhough the etnicity of americans indicates that more than 20% originates from german speaking locations in europe might this evaporate soon after stepping onto solid groun in Ellis Island??

These 3 "gentlemen" have caused some of the most radical changes to europe, from being colonial masters into ...well something else. Both holcaust and the cold war was build up in the 200 year before 1940'ies where it all culminated.

No democracy in europe is older than from 1849 and these 3 and Hitler have imposed all the "dialectics" they could lay their hands on, to jeopadize it, by not speaking of the weather!!!!!!

It seems your quixotic endeavour have paid off, even though one should choose ones battles carefully ...but making a survival on hacks and fixes on corrupt systems seems a little nomenklaturic...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomenklatura

--sd

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Funniest thing is Soren seems to be on a Mac (like me)

But does it make me a potential printoholic?? I work as hired hand only dealing with algorithms and relational structures, and if I do the sounds for someone is solely the inner musical mechanics in the performed music ...and not if the performance should have any commercial bearing such as being a hit among teenage girls or anyone concerned with their vanity.

--sd

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Soren,

Your first three paragraphs (in your response to me) wasted bandwidth. I don’t care how these ‘three gentlemen’ caused radical change in Europe and I CERTAINLY didn’t think seeing their picture was worth the bandwidth either. I want to be sure there are no misunderstandings between us, since you appear to have trouble understanding our American language – at least until you spout insults at which time you pull out all the stops and even have the nerve to provide links so a blonde, airhead, valley girl (or is it ANY American) can understand. So let’s clarify, shall we?

quixotic kwik-SOT-ik, adjective:

1. Caught up in the romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals; foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals.

2. Capricious; impulsive; unpredictable.

Romance of noble deeds? True. When it means providing good solutions, I plead guilty. Unreachable goals? Hogwash and I proved it. Impulsive? Guilty. Unpredictable? Nope, I shoot straight.

but making a survival on hacks and fixes on corrupt systems seems a little nomenklaturic...

Hacks? Corrupt systems? Are you calling my printer suggestion a hack or ME a hack? What corrupt systems are you referring to? The way I design? Or the fact that printing is important to me? Printaholic? Try getting off your high horse and enter the true world of administration and office needs. Printing IS important. Simply, Soren, you hold your ‘foreignness’ in front of you as a shield while you jab at others with your sword of condescending mannerisms. Are you a misogynist as well or is it just me you dislike? You say, “sorry” to Wim but dump on me; sycophantical behaviors don't impress me. If you were here in person, I’d slap you. How about THEM apples?

So now ... drop the quotes. Drop the foreign references. And drop the graphics and links. I want to talk to the Soren behind all the fluff. Is there a person behind the intellectual babble? Explain yourself or apologize ... I don't much care which you choose. But if you explain yourself, I want YOUR words and keep the weedle and smarm to yourself.

LaRetta

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The ability to question is our greatest possession...

I'm just joking while practicing the above quote you have found... It's an attempt to do the opposite of the two geezers in the balcon in the Muppet Show, where the first say "That was pretty good" the other one replies "It sucks" and start to whip up a sense of felt conspiracy - I do opposite I start cracking jokes and spread distractions instead of joining the mob.

You have never seen me joining the choir singing of "severe omissions, and betrayed loyalty" ...I usually say that we must have ignored something somewhere - Being well aware that professionalism require "we manage everything, don't worry", am I willing to admit I'm in doubt usually - permanently questioning dogmas as such!

--sd

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Well, as usual, I didn't understand everything you said but I clearly understood your tone and enough to understand where you were coming from. :wink2:

Thanks for clearing it up, Soren. Using a different printer control language, in an attempt to RESTORE what FM says it will restore (but can't) certainly isn't a hack! BTW, my 'saying' was made up. I don't recall ever reading such a phrase; it's just something I believe strongly in.

All happy again. :smile2:

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understand where you were coming from

It's perhaps a little more universal than you believe () - here are some showing same "decease" in Texas of all places - or just because it is???

http://www.ntskeptics.org/quotes.htm

--sd

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  • 2 weeks later...

This IS an Issue, depending on the settings in the print and print setup script steps, filemaker will (depending on weather or not "Preform without diolog" is seleted, and other factors), One of 3 differant printers may be used. The System defualt, filemakers defualt, or the active filemaker file also has a defualt. I still have a hard time sorting it out. I have made a script (combination of vbs and filemaker scripting) to set all three of these preferances before printing. It is not a pretty solution but does seem to work. (at least until the avalible printers change)

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  • 2 weeks later...

'the following vbs script will set the defult printer for the computer running this script and set the defualt printer for filemaker. A page setup script step is required to set the printer in an indivdual file.

'Save the following as a text file with extention .vbs

Set WshNetwork = CreateObject("WScript.Network")

set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

Serv = "Sbserver1" 'this is the server that the printer is on

Printhere = "Xerox Document Centre 340" 'this is the printer name, for this to work in a network enviroment the printer MUST be named and set up the same way on all work stations

AddSettings = ",winspool,10.0.0.200" 'Additional settings for filemaker, look in RegEdit at these value to determine what these are for you.

FullPrinterName = ("" + Serv + "" + printhere)'

WshNetwork.SetDefaultPrinter FullPrinterName 'This sets the default printer for the computer NOT JUST FILEMAKER

WshShell.RegWrite ("HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareFileMakerFileMaker Pro8.0Preferencesprinter"),FullPrinterName + AddSettings,"REG_SZ" 'this sets the default printer for the filemaker application.

'After this script runs you can do a Page Setup Script Step w/o dialog and it will use this printer.

WScript.Quit

'Im sure there is a better way to do this. I just haven't taken the time to find it.

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This is not an XP issue only. We have the same problem in 2000. And leaving the print dialog box open is not a viable answer. We need to print MSDSs (hundreds a day). The printer is dedicated, the script dictates duplex, 2 pages per side and FM 7 won't comply. We have similar issues with a thermal transfer printer and FM not saving the label size. Why does it work in FM6 and not in 7-8? We rely on FileMaker for all of our shipping and manufacturing records. Printing documantation for each shipment is vital for our life. What are we to do?

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Newbies

I have been struggling with this, since I need to send jobs to four different printers, and two different formats, and it would be nice to be able to do it by scripting to simplify user choices.

While also trying to chase down a way to control printing "current" vs. :records being browsed" I found a FM support Knowledge Base for "Print to only the current record." (KB answer ID 1098). It's for pre- V7 scripting, but does say that when configuring pirnting script steps "...accessing the file over the network will not configure the file properly."

Going to give this a try to see if it makes any difference with 8.5.

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It is possible (at least on XP) to create a Table within filemaker to hold all your Printer Information and use that table to provide all the info to create a vbs script that is then exported from a field (Using the Export Field Contents Script Step) and then run it.

I recomend Writing the VBS script, testing it using sample varibles, then coping it into a set field script step. (this will cause filemaker to make adjustments to the script, like the / before every ") Then go in and replace your sample varibles with the ones from filemaker.

(I have a script that allows the printer to be choosen and then executes the script) One of the problem is that sisnce Filemaker cannot tell if the VBS script has finished running you need to Pause the FM Script long enough for the vbs script to run.

It is also Possible, with very few changes, to have the VBS Script check to see if the printer exists and if it doesn't Create It. This is nice in a network enviroment where printers need to be set-up for each user. So, if a Printer is added to the network all you have to do is add it to your FM printer table. The First time the user wants to use it they run the FM Script and it creates it, making it avalible not only for filemaker but all applications.

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One of the problem is that sisnce Filemaker cannot tell if the VBS script has finished running you need to Pause the FM Script long enough for the vbs script to run.

One way around this is to stop your FM script at the point where it executes the VBscript and let the VBscript call a FM script when it's done. That solves all your timing issues. Makes the VBscript a bit longer though.

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