1 2 Previous Next 28 Replies Latest reply on Oct 7, 2015 7:03 AM by bigtom

    Need help getting Filemaker to print reliably to the right tray


      I'm at my wits' end after 5 hours of trying to get Filemaker to print to the right trays and even after all those hours, I haven't even managed to find a single pattern in how Filemaker prints so I could really need some help.



      Filemaker Pro 14

      Windows 8.1

      Xerox Colorqube 8580


      The situation is as follows: we bought a new Xerox ColorQube with extra tray. It has a multifunctional tray (tray 1) which we use for invoice paper (pre-printed), a regular internal tray (tray 2) which is for plain paper, and an extra tray (tray 3) for colored paper which we use for printing job orders.


      Silly me, I expected printing to be as easy as using a script like this:


      Print Setup [Restore; No dialog] <-- select paper, tray, orientation and printer

      Print [Restore; No dialog] <-- select printer once more


      But, when I do this, it tends to print to the last tray. Not always, mind you. It's like Filemaker is possessed - it's very random and sometimes it does it fine, other times it just seems to pick a random tray. Even if I print with 'Print Setup' dialog (as in, each time Filemaker prints, let the menu pop up letting you pick all the settings before printing), it often will ignore my settings.

      The ONLY solution here is to allow Filemaker to show both Print Setup and Printer dialogs but it's a slow and tedious process because even if I print 5x in a row, Filemaker reverts to the default setting which makes this an almost unusable option.


      I've tried making separate printers for each tray (= the trays are the default tray for that printer) which works in every other piece of software, but Filemaker straight ignores Windows settings so that's no solution.


      I've also tried manually setting each tray to a specific type of paper (colored, plain, pre-printed, etc.) on my printer itself and then using that paper type in Filemaker but this only works half the time. The Print Setup script sometimes remembers it, sometimes it doesn't. it's extremely random.

      Also I found that if a second Filemaker prints to the same printer, it messes up Filemaker. Are those settings perhaps shared across all clients?


      So my question now is: what am I doing wrong? Is there a trick to get Filemaker to print to the right tray? I'd rather not use Plugins because they're expensive and the ones I tried didn't seem very impressive.

        • 1. Re: Need help getting Filemaker to print reliably to the right tray


          I support a solution that prints to a number of different printers and different trays and different paper sizes and orientations under script control, and it was very confusing  to develop because there are a LOT of variables getting in the way of print settings -  so you'll need to nail them all down.


          There are three things that can influence your printer settings: the defaults on the printer itself, the Windows Control Panel default printer and its Properties on each specific PC, and the Print Setup in FileMaker. Further, if you are running off a FileMaker Server, the FileMaker Print Setup in any scripts default to whatever the settings were on the machine on which you originally created the script (I know the because my solution runs in an all-Windows FM-Server environment but I develop everything remotely on a Mac)!


          I may not be 100% correct, but after much experimenting, my understanding of the interactions between the various sources of print settings is:


          1. If you don't specify Print Setup in a Script, then FileMaker will adopt whatever the current print settings are on the PC on which FileMaker client is running. Note that if you quit FileMaker, change the print settings on the PC in another program, and then run Filemaker again, it will use the most recent settings. This can be pretty messy if the current printer is a label printer!
          2. If you are running on FM Server and you make a (non-scripted) change to the Print Setup in FileMaker, those settings remain in place on that PC until you quit FileMaker (or they are changed in a Script). The change only affects that PC - the settings are not shared and there is no effect on other clients using the same server. Think of Print Setup like a set of global variables - each FileMaker Server user has their own copy of a global variable. When you restart FileMaker client, it once again picks up the local Default Printer settings from Windows (or OSX) on that PC to start with.
          3. If you specify Print Setup in a Script, those settings remain in place, even beyond the scope of the Script - they effectively become the default on that client PC only - until changed by another script, by the user, or you quit FileMaker. Note that this means if a user does a manual Print, it will pick up whatever the current default is - unless the user changes it.
          4. All of these Print commands are mediated via the print drivers on each PC - so if a particular PC does not have the properties of your Xerox setup correctly as a multi-tray printer, correct paper size etc, the results when you specify a specific tray in Print Setup could be unpredictable. My experience is that when there is a conflict between FileMaker and the capabilities that the OS driver is telling FileMaker are actually available, the job will end up using the Printer defaults.


          So the approach I have adopted is:


          1. Make sure the printer drivers on each PC are setup correctly and the same way.
          2. ALWAYS specify your desired printer settings in a Print Setup step before any scripted print (even if it is to the default printer)
          3. ALWAYS Restore the default printer in a Print Setup step immediately after printing to a special printer or a special tray
          4. If it is FileMaker Server solution, edit the Print Setups in the Scripts on one of the user machines that it will actually be used on - preferably in single user mode rather than via the Server.


          I hope this helps - it seems to work quite reliably for me.





          • 2. Re: Need help getting Filemaker to print reliably to the right tray

            Thank you for your in-depth view on the matter.


            My current situation is as follows:

            - the printer is the default printer for the two work stations I'm testing it on

            - both have identical drivers

            - with our previous Brother printer, it worked perfectly


            The problem is that it won't print to the right tray - it prints to the right printers and right paper size so that's not the problem. Every step you mention, I've already tried in different ways with no good result - not even a reliable result!


            Another problem I had since I installed that printer: when I now print to a second printer which always worked fine, it now often starts spewing out garbage. Until I restart Filemaker, it keeps doing this. It's incredibly odd and I suspect Filemaker is the cause of this since these problems do not occur in any other program. It may be tied to the Xerox drivers - Filemaker doesn't seem to like HP printers too much considering the many issues I found while searching for a solution and Xerox may be another brand it doesn't quite like. Considering how much this printer cost, I'll need to find a solution though. I'll try a few more things and will contact Filemaker if that doesn't turn up anything because this seems to clearly be a Filemaker big or issue.


            EDIT: to show you how unpredictable all this is: I disabled "no dialog" on my print script and manually set everything to the right tray. It works for Filemaker on one workstation (where I configured it) but when I try it on Filemaker on the second workstation, it always prints to tray 2 no matter what settings I manually select. There's really logic behind this - I suspect Filemaker does something weird with the settings - perhaps the difference in computers somehow brings with it some hidden differences?

            • 3. Re: Need help getting Filemaker to print reliably to the right tray

              I have a silly question, but are the printers named identically on the two different machines? I know we have to name all of our printers identical or we run into this issue.

              • 4. Re: Need help getting Filemaker to print reliably to the right tray

                to sum it up, printing from Filemaker on Windows sucks terribad, after decades.  And let me tell you, it's not Filemaker's fault.

                • 5. Re: Need help getting Filemaker to print reliably to the right tray

                  I'm not sure if this would help and I have not used it, but it comes from a reputable plugin developer:


                  PrinterSwitch plug-in

                  • 6. Re: Need help getting Filemaker to print reliably to the right tray

                    Considering the trouble is ONLY happening with Filemaker, I'd say it's either Filemaker OR Bonjour's fault.


                    Heck, OpenOffice will even remember the tray you printed to in a certain document and that's free software. If I'm paying $900 a year, I expect an extremely basic function such as printing to a certain tray on my printer to work, full stop.

                    • 7. Re: Need help getting Filemaker to print reliably to the right tray

                      Thanks for the mention but that plugin doesn't work on 64 bit operating systems. I tried the trial and Filemaker wouldn't even detect it.

                      • 8. Re: Need help getting Filemaker to print reliably to the right tray

                        Yep identically named.


                        I found a work around for now: let Filemaker print to a PDF file, then get a piece of software to keep an eye on the hot folder and print any PDF file that ends up there automatically. Works fine this way.

                        • 9. Re: Need help getting Filemaker to print reliably to the right tray

                          You will have to use a plugin for better printer control and yes it is FMI fault.  Any other program can and does allow you to select print options and trays, and it works with a plug-in with-in Filemaker.


                          Here is a link to a similar post with some recommend plug-ins How to select a printer and printer tray using FMP 14

                          • 10. Re: Need help getting Filemaker to print reliably to the right tray

                            You can do a script step for send command and have FM print the pdf through adobe pdf.

                            • 11. Re: Need help getting Filemaker to print reliably to the right tray

                              In my experience, if you set up a script to print in a certain way it will work reliably, but no amount of scripting will have any impact on the process if you bypass it and just print via the menu (command–P, or whatever). If you do that, the OS defaults become involved. This seems logical enough to me because FM's way of control is via scripting, not via second-guessing the OS. You can, of course, force the menu commands to use your scripts by using Custom Menus.

                              • 12. Re: Need help getting Filemaker to print reliably to the right tray
                                Markus Schneider

                                yes - but it can be very slow, too slow. We had to change printing to pdf-printing on a virtual environment, but users are complaining because it takes too much time, what is true )-:

                                • 13. Re: Need help getting Filemaker to print reliably to the right tray

                                  I used to work with scripts for printing to certain trays. This worked fine with my Brother printer but Filemaker refused to print to  the right trays of two different Xerox printers.


                                  Does anyone even know how the print script steps actually work? No-one can seem to answer this. What does Print Setup actually do and what does the Print step actually do? And I mean, in detail - I know Print Setup sets the orientation and the paper size but I assume it does not retain the printer tray and this needs to be selected in the Print step?

                                  • 14. Re: Need help getting Filemaker to print reliably to the right tray
                                    Markus Schneider

                                    there should be no problem when working on one machine- / one printer environment.


                                    As soon as there are several printers with different drivers and the printing process is scripted, the voodoo starts. We built a solution with the need of printing special 'labels' for an exhibition on one specific printer (A5 size, the printer was a stock brother, via script) - the only solution that worked, was to generate a separate file that did nothing but getting data and print that data.. plugins did not work

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