8 Replies Latest reply on Jul 22, 2015 12:49 AM by bertrand

    How to select a printer and printer tray using FMP 14


      I have a custom, multi-user database that I run my company with. I have been using it for years and recently upgraded to FMP 14 and FMP server running the DB on a mac mini (stand alone). The database runs beautifully.


      I recently purchased a Brother HL-6180DWT dual tray black and white laser printer. I was hoping to load the upper tray with one form and the lower tray with another. Currently, I have two scripts that each print the appropriate layout on the right form. What I have been doing to date, is manually loading each form print to executing the print script for that form (different printer). It's time consuming. My ultimate hope is to combine the two script steps and have it first, select tray 1, print the right layout on that form, then, select tray 2 and print the correct layout on the second form.


      So far, everything I try does not work.


      I have read that a FMP print plug-in might be the way to go. I was considering the dracoventions.com plugin.


      Does anyone have any idea of what to try here?


      I know my profile says novice but that's because I just rejoined. I am actually fairly proficient at FMP.


      Thanks for the help FMP community!



        • 1. Re: How to select a printer and printer tray using FMP 14
          Benjamin Fehr

          By evaluating PlugIns, make sure that they also work in 64-bit mode!

          (MyFMButtler's PrinterSwitch still not ready for 64-bit mode!)


          Known PlugIns are:

          PrinterSwitch plug-in


          2empowerFM Hands-Free Printer

          http://www.medeyedbs.com/  [SetPrinter]


          Scriptable Printing function in FMP actually is a feature request sent in to FMI by PhilModJunk first in the Year of 1995!

          I share the opinion that every thing called a professional Database should have this function without any need for 3.party PlugIns.

          • 2. Re: How to select a printer and printer tray using FMP 14
            Benjamin Fehr


            FMP is storing Print-Settings and configurations into the file.

            A early approach of mine was kind of a work around to build a separate FMP-File for every different Printer to be used (Invoices, Letters, Adresslabels, …)

            • 3. Re: How to select a printer and printer tray using FMP 14

              Thanks. Will the dracoventions.com plugin work in 64 bit mode? It's says it supports FMP 14.


              Based on what I told you, can I get this to work or is it a pipe dream? I'm disappointed FMP doesn't do this already.



              • 4. Re: How to select a printer and printer tray using FMP 14
                Benjamin Fehr

                Release Notes:

                2empowerFM Family v2.44

                • released May 16th, 2015:
                  • Numerous fixes to make all plug-ins compatible with FileMaker 14.
                  • New 64-bit plug-in versions to run in 64-bit FileMaker 14.


                I would try to get some opinions about different products:

                - I had everything ready for MyFMButtler PrinterSwitch and now have to wait 'til they deliver 64-bit version


                - what's your choice/recommendation?


                I'm disappointed FMP doesn't do this already.

                Yes, we're all very disappointed by their poor attitude and by coming up with another half-baked product.

                • 5. Re: How to select a printer and printer tray using FMP 14

                  Not sure at all i am the right person for this one. But i will do my best…


                  Mac or Win ? Both ?


                  Regardless, i would try to set up a generic script that store the different printer settings i need (the con here is that you may have to redefine some of these when changing of customer or printer) :


                  Print Setup [Restore] (Vertical / Horizontal / Zoom / Margins)

                  Print [Restore] (Printer name, ALL pages, Record being browser or current record etc...)

                  To trig the correct settings, i see two different approach :

                  1. A table of documents that store Layout Name and these settings. Very usefull to offer a print menu to the user.
                  2. A set of global variables that you will set by script trigger OnLayoutEnter OnModeChange parameters. Thus, each printing layout will store its own parameters.


                  Then, i would redirect the Print command to my script using Custom Menus.

                  My thoughts about plugins and alternative solutions :

                  The very first time i connected to FileMaker public forum was to post this.


                  I then realized that the most agreed way by FM Community to solve this kind of issue was to get a plugins. And i don't want to hurt anybody, but after a very bad experience with a small plugin company in Italy, where support was a nightmare, i almost never use plugins.


                  They are often very *expensive* if you compare the price of a very complete software as FileMaker Pro and a *simple extension of it*. Moreover, it brings you generally a lot more than just the *only function* you are searching for... And finally, as a software editor, you will pay it the very high price... And final bonus is that they are generally FileMaker release dependent. Etc…


                  Regardless, OK, i am glad to get and/or resell a plug-in when it is for very specific needs, sometimes a bit far from common database features… but to handle a printer ? Really ? …



                  So obviously i didn't answer to the original question. And maybe theses plugins are amazing, i cannot say...


                  What about alternatives to plugins ?

                  AppleScript on Mac and Visual Basic on Windows ?

                  Yeah, why not. Since it appear to me more logical to call an OS-level script in order to control a printer that to pay a plug-in for...

                  • 6. Re: How to select a printer and printer tray using FMP 14

                    Hello to all.


                    It is actually a great difficulty to choose a printer automatically without passing by the printer dialog.

                    For my part, I use a solution written by Clem on FMSource who uses Applescript and Cups on Mac, Java and the base of register on Windows.

                    It works well and allows me in a software for restaurants to print tickets or orders in format 78 mm x 80 mm or more and statistics in format ticket or A4 by using 3 different printers (bar and cashier, kitchen and office).


                    We also use the plug - in ScriptMaster who is free.

                    • 7. Re: How to select a printer and printer tray using FMP 14

                      From Randy within a private message :


                      Guys: I have to let everyone know I have found the problem with getting filemaker to select upper and lower trays for printing using a dual tray brother HL-6180DWT printer. The problem is ME. I contacted brother support thru chat (which worked well btw) and they helped me go thru the paces to no avail then we both realized I had the AirPrint printer driver selected instead of the CUPS driver. Once I corrected this, everything worked as advertised. Maybe I need a vacation. Sorry for wasting everyone's time. Thanks for the support. Cheers, Randy

                      • 8. Re: How to select a printer and printer tray using FMP 14

                        Thanks Fred for this information.


                        It's always good to have a solution to a problem.


                        For those who use iPad or iPhone and print via an airprint printer, this can be a problem. I think, this is a problem.