1 2 Previous Next 18 Replies Latest reply on Jun 12, 2016 7:03 PM by SteveMartino

    Converted Dot Matrix Printer layouts drop half the page in Filemaker 12


      In FMP 12, when printing imported layouts from FMP 11 in a dot matrix printer a form feed occurs when only half the page is printed. What used to fit in a page now needs two.

      Both the preview and PDF are right as it is layout (there are no lines announcing page breaks).

      It seems FMP12 do not recognize printers driver paper size. In fact, it seems that interchanges length and width (when changing paper orientation the page limit mark on layout appears about the same length where printer breaks the page).


      It only happens when printing to dot matrix. Same forms printed on a laser work fine.


      It seems this issue is similar to Converted Print layouts truncating printed text in Filemaker 12 reported by devhunt, but version 12.0v3 do not fixed this problem.


      Please Help!


      OS: Win 7 x64

      Printer: Lexmark Forms Printer 2480

        • 1. Re: Converted Dot Matrix Printer layouts drop half the page in Filemaker 12

          If you save the same print job to a PDF document, how does it turn out?


          Have you got larger margins on the dot matrix?



          • 2. Re: Converted Dot Matrix Printer layouts drop half the page in Filemaker 12

            If I put FM in preview mode, pages appear as they should be; without any unexpected page break.


            If I save to PDF, I can open PDF document and I can print every page (size options: actual size; orientation: auto portrait/lanscape) in the same dot matrix printer as they are viewed (no unexpected page breaks). I made the test with the same setings (page size, orientation, etc.) as I did when printing from FM.

            In order to ensure there is no problem with Win7 x64 installation in main computer, I installed FM on a laptop with fresh (just a week) up to date Win7 x32 to test whether it works better or the problem is still present. I plugged and set up the USB printer (drivers are downloaded directly from Microsoft Update service by add printer wizard). Then I put a copy of the database on laptop hard drive and print the same form. The output looks exactly the same as it is in the other computer: when half the page is printed a form feed occurs and I have to feed another sheet to complete the form hardcopy.


            I tried to make the same test on a Mac but there is no drive for Lexmark Forms Printer 2480 in Apple nor Lexmark repository (almost an official drive).

            Taking into account that this form had no problems when printed in FM 11 I have to conclude that there is a bug in the printing process.


            Any idea …

            • 3. Re: Converted Dot Matrix Printer layouts drop half the page in Filemaker 12

              I have also discovered that I cannot print more tha one copy of the form at a time. If I try to print 2 copies, a message appears to notify "these are too many copies for the printer; number of copies are going to set automatically to 1" (this is a kind of translation into english from the original in spanish). This is also new to me. In FM 11 I could print as many copies as I like.


              Please people at FM dev. team fix this.


              I am using a certified microsoft diver for the printer. How do you manage the printing process? Are you following guidelines to develop windows app?


              I have never had this kind of problems with a printer driver, despite the fact that printing from FM since version 8.5 (does not matter what kind of printer) the program freezes for a while (5 seconds or so) and then turns alive and printer starts. This is an abnormal behavior.


              Is it better for windows users going back to FM 8.5 or should we migrate to Access?



              Thank you for your help

              • 4. Re: Converted Dot Matrix Printer layouts drop half the page in Filemaker 12

                Interesting discussion... complaining about a discontinued printer using a printer technology that has almost completely gone away with and expecting it behave with the latest software.  If an issue like this makes you want to use Access, go for it. 


                My perspective is that I would prefer the FM development team to work on a number of newer features instead of spending time on this.  But that aside, I would still put my money on it being a print driver problem and not FileMaker.  And since Lexmark has discontinued the printer, it is highly unlikely they will invest any time into it.


                Realistically, I would be looking for another printer to solve the problem or accept the limitation that you have to print to PDF and then print the PDF.  I assume you have some pressing issue to use dot matrix such as carbon copies?  Is there a workaround like printing multiple copies?


                But on a constructive note, have you tried printing in both classic theme as well as one of the new themes?  Does that make a difference?  Are other layouts printing fine and it is just this layout?  Sometime layouts converted from 11 have problems in 12 and I have had to rebuild them to get them to behave properly.  Have you tried recreating the layout?


                And if someone does have a similar printer and wants to trouble shoot, you might want to reference the print driver version you are using. 

                • 5. Re: Converted Dot Matrix Printer layouts drop half the page in Filemaker 12

                  There is no theme. It is just plain text to fill a multipart auto copy form. It has only ascii characters (letters and numbers). I tried to print with different monospace character types (printer native, true type, open type) but this is not the problem because FM 12.0v3 behaves the same way with this printer.


                  The fact Lexmark discontinued this printer does not mean there is an obsolete technology. In fact there is an official driver for Microsoft Windows up to version 8 in both 32 an 64 bits variants.


                  Of course I expect any printer with certified Windows drivers behave well under Windows. In fact it is so with every Adobe Program, every Microsoft Program, MATLAB, third party software to view PS or DVI files (those used by people like me editing in LaTeX), etc. I cannot find any reason why a windows program is unable to handle certified windows printer drivers.


                  Up to now I have only come across one program that is unable to manage an official Windows Driver; well not a program but a version of a program and it is File Maker 12.0v3. I hope developers (that have already discovered some bugs, as it may concludes from discussion cited aboveConverted Print layouts truncating printed text in Filemaker 12) can also fix this.


                  As you may notice (or not) a dot matrix printer cost as much as three or four times the price of one license of FileMaker, and twice the price of a good color laser, so I prefer moving into Access (even if I had to translate scripts into VBA) or back to FM 11, rather than changing the printer.


                  I started using FM in version 1 or 2 when I had a Mac SE, then I moved to LC, then Si and PowerMac 6100 AV. Since then I moved to PC world because the erratic Mac evolution in that time (native vs. emulated code, Motorola CISC vs PowerPC RISC processors, etc.) made some developers discontinued their Mac software versions (like MathWorks with MATLAB and others). I started using access. Then when Windows version of FM was available I changed again to FM, but since version 8.5 something is getting worse for Windows users.


                  I hope there will be a fix in the following days, weeks, months, ...



                  • 6. Re: Converted Dot Matrix Printer layouts drop half the page in Filemaker 12

                    I've seen many Microsoft certified print drivers that had printing problems or did not work at all.  Microsoft does review and try to approve them, but they are not written by Microsoft and Microsoft does not make the rasterization protocols (PCL, Postscript, etc.).  So Microsoft is not the printing professional to look for for ceritifcation.  I can promise you that Adobe would certify it if it was postscript compatible.  But since I see on Amazon that the printer is selling for $125, I doubt it includes a postscript driver.  Be aware that FileMaker does not send characters to the printer to print, it sends a graphic format.  This allows the rendering to be very accurate.  But it also makes printing slower and means that old and discontinued print drivers that have problems with high resolutions graphics will often have problems working with FileMaker.  It is not just this printer, but a lot of old printers that are not postscript and do not have much memory.  PCL since version 5 has worked very well with FileMaker. 


                    Access is another story and properly used can be a good development tool for a front end to a database (it is not a backend tool like FileMaker).  It is not as easy to use as FileMaker, but it is more powerful and includes an entire programming language.  I know of some wonderful Access solutions, but 95% of the ones I see are absolute crap.  No, that isn't Microsoft's problem, but I'm forever cleaning up such messed up systems that come from Access.  Then again, it pays me a lot of money, so I don't know why I am complaining.  And don't think there aren't a lot of really bad FileMaker databases too.  Hopefully we're here to help make them better. 


                    My advice would be to look for another printer and change to say a black and white laser printer. 

                    • 7. Re: Converted Dot Matrix Printer layouts drop half the page in Filemaker 12

                      After several hours of wasting my time I could overcome the problem without the need to change the printer or move to Mac OSX or Access.

                      It is not a driver problem. In fact it is a Microsoft Universal Print Driver with its .gpd file settings and it uses a PCL5 library from Lexmark. This driver works well with every program I use but FMP 12.


                      If you have a lexmark dot matrix printer that uses this driver (probably any printer that uses this driver can experience any type of problem) and want to reproduce the error just open a blank new layout. Use the printer setup dialog to select dor matrix printer and page size (A4 or letter size could be an option). Then, in layout mode, define a text box big enough to fill the entire page (do not surpass page borders grey mark lines). Fill the text box with any text you like (Loren Ipsum ...). Then print the page. If it is printed in one sheet you are lucky. If page breaks at 2/3 aprox, then feed the printer again to print the remaining lines. You can now save the page to pdf and print it with AdobeReader (GSview, Ghostscript or whatever you like). With same driver it will print in only one sheet. Where is the problem, in the driver or in the program that uses the driver?


                      If anyone is experiencing a problem similar to this I can give any clues to overcome it until FM developers fix the bug. The solution is not universal. It works to me because I only use the printer to print multi-part forms and I do not mind if it works for other programs than FM.

                      • 8. Re: Converted Dot Matrix Printer layouts drop half the page in Filemaker 12

                        I've run into this several times.  FileMaker pushes out a graphic format that is similar to high end graphic software (seems like it might be some version of eps).  I find that people say they use other software with no problem and usually they are just talking about word processors, browsers, etc.  True high end printing usually wants postscript and lots of memory.  I don't know why FileMaker needs to do this, but it has been this way for a long time.  I bet you anything if you had a large PDF, InDesign Document, AutoCad or anything else that really pushes a printer, your print driver would show it has the same problem with them that is does with FileMaker. 


                        In summary... cheap printers and non-post script network printers don't work all that well with FileMaker even though people use them a lot.  And the cheaper your printer, the more likely it won't work with FileMaker even though it works with other programs.  It would be nice if FileMaker worked with cheaper printers more easily, but I see this type of problem a lot.  FileMaker has never in my opinion had great support for printing. 


                        For people who do not want to bang their heads fighting such things and getting mad at software and print drivers, if you get a postscript compatible network laser printer, all your problems just go away.  It used to be that they cost a lot.  But you can get a Brother B&W laser printer that is postscript level 3 compatible for only $134 on Amazon: 



                        • 9. Re: Converted Dot Matrix Printer layouts drop half the page in Filemaker 12

                          There is no point in going further in this matter.



                          Only for your information and your interest in selling me a printer, at my desk I have an HP CP3525dn which is PostScript capable (very poor color handling; I prefer the slower HP LJ 4550 I had previously which is now in the workshop area). My personal printer has always been PS equipped (since I had an HP LJ 4ML which is still running).

                          At my office (so at hand), for volume printing I have a Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE C5030i (poor color handling) and also a Ricoh Aficio SP C811DN (better color management), both of them are PS capable (native in the Canon, with an original installable option the Ricoh).


                          For raster images and photographic quality I have two HP plotters: HP DesignJet 30n (up to A3+) and HP DesignJet Z2100 (photographic quality up to A1). Both are PCL3. At home I have an old HP DJ 1220C.


                          As you may imagine none of them print multi-part forms. Only impact printers are able to impress copies in this kind of forms. This is why I was so frustrated with the inconsistency of FMP 12.


                          There is no advantage at all in printing raster images on a PS printer. Even, in some cases could be better doing it on a raster printer. In fact nowadays for example HP photographic plotters are mainly PCL3 (while some of them still have HPGL that can be comparable in some sense to PS). Printing PDF to PS printer require less conversion than doing it on a PCL printer because PDF is very similar to PS, but Adobe has no problem in handling a Windows certified driver.


                          In a PS printer you need memory because PS is a Page Layout description language and you need the entire page code on the printer memory to compose it. PS printer are expensive because royalties to Adobe but also because they need to have a specific processor to build the page. Nowadays processors are small and cheap so many printers are "intelligent" even while not PS capables. Most raster printers (any PCL) do not need memory but for a small buffer and in many cases for virtual disks or so.


                          According to your suggestion I printed a 3456 x 2304 pixels JPG archive (the uncompressed RGB 8 bits/channel is 22,8 Mb) from Photoshop on the Lexmark Forms Printer 2480 with the same driver FMP 12 is unable to handle and, despite the poor quality offered by a 9 pins 240x120 ppi dot matrix printer, it works perfectly.



                          "cheap printers and non-post script network printers don't work all that well with FileMaker even though people use them a lot". So, when you buy a printer to use with FM look for something expensive enough to deserve FM?



                          FM developers under Apple umbrella have too many limitations: the big one is they had to build an entire interface between FM and Windows printer drivers to make development of Mac and Win versions compatible. If they were developing an entire orthodox Windows app. there will be no place for such problems.

                          • 10. Re: Converted Dot Matrix Printer layouts drop half the page in Filemaker 12

                            Bit harsh.

                            Is this suposed to be helpful?

                            • 11. Re: Converted Dot Matrix Printer layouts drop half the page in Filemaker 12

                              I'm sorry this is frustrating for you and I think you describe and understand the problem well.  But the reality is that what you want is probably not going to happen for a number of reasons.  You have a unique business need for a not-well-supported printer technology (multi-part forms) and it may be that FileMaker is just not the solution for you directly.  Or if you really need it in FileMaker, build a PHP user interface and print from it for the multi-part reports and print from a web browser.  That is the only easy solution I can think for you go forward with FileMaker 12+. 


                              PS:  I assume the recreating the layouts idea didn't work?

                              • 12. Re: Converted Dot Matrix Printer layouts drop half the page in Filemaker 12

                                Thank you very much for your interest.


                                As I said I could circumvent the problem for the moment. So I do not need to step back to FMP 11 nor buy a 796.60 € (list price) Epson LQ-690 that seems to be a nice printer to do exactly the same job I am doing with the old Lexmark.


                                I think It is easier and more secure printing from an MS Word form after doing a query to DB than using web services in FMP 12. Anyway both solutions, yours and this one I pointed out (and probably many others you, me or anybody can arrange), are absolutely impractical in an automated process environment run by a script that, for each new record, has to check many fields, compare records in many tables and print several forms in both dot matrix and laser printers.


                                Anyway, my particular problem is already fixed (not the FMP 12 dysfunctionality with windows drivers) and I will wait for a definitive solution from FM dev. team.

                                • 13. Re: Converted Dot Matrix Printer layouts drop half the page in Filemaker 12


                                  I had the same problem here with oki dot printer


                                  I found a solution to avoid the problem that work perfectly

                                  BTW the v12 of filemaker is very crappy, Slow, bug for the printer, css,....

                                  Conclusion if u can downgrade do it

                                  Here i can't cause alot of things were programmed with the v12


                                  If you are interessed in my solution let me know and i ll post the solution ( work for windows only)

                                  • 14. Re: Converted Dot Matrix Printer layouts drop half the page in Filemaker 12

                                    Thank you very much. As I posted before I could fix the problem with a circunvent solution. I was very dissapointed with FMP 12 because finding a solution for an absurd problem that arises just in the upgrade is a complete waste of time.





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