View Full Version : Arrhhh !!!!! Printer Drivers !!!!!!

03-02-2005, 11:22:55
Just a rant while I'm in the mood, but if anyone has a solution that'd be great.

What the hell is it with printer drivers ?

I am looking at a Web tutorial, and preferring to read from paper rather than screen, I decide I want to print it out.

So I select the text and choose 'print'. I check the printer settings and select "print document on A4" and tick the "scale to fit" box.

Does it print properly ? No of course not, it cuts off all the words on the right hand side of the page, as if it hadn't been told to scale to fit on an A4 page at all.

In desperation I opt for the other choice, and try, "75% of normal size", to see if that will work instead.

Does it ? Of course not. Everything is 75% of it's previous size, but it's still thrown away the text on the right hand side of the page, having just increased the white space margin there instead.

Do the creators of these drivers do it deliberately, just for a laugh ? It's not as if my preferred printer is the only one to do it. I've send the print to a totally different printer, by the side of the first one, and it does exactly the same thing.

03-02-2005, 11:28:29
Gary...............mate.........drink tea and relax.

It could be the way the web page is designed and how your printer handles it, have you tried saving it as html then opening it in word for editing???

03-02-2005, 11:37:32
Thanks for the advice. I've just discovered a slow, but successful, "work-around". Similar to that which you've just suggested.

One can copy and paste it into MS Word first. (It has the added advantage of setting the default font to "times roman" too :))

But it's not the first time I've tried to set options in a driver only to have them ignored. I was under the impression that the driver was the last bit of software to fiddle with the file before it goes to the printer, and so should have control.

I do wonder sometimes if the folk who create them ever have to use them.

Umm tea eh ? May not be a bad idea.

03-02-2005, 14:22:12
Gee that's a lot of trees !

And surprising how, even when changing the courier font, code examples, to 7pt, some lines still tried to wrap !

03-02-2005, 14:50:34
Most webpages aren't designed for printing, and I don't think IE does scaling properly anyway. You could attempt to print landscape that might solve your problem without having to resort to pasting the contents into Word.

03-02-2005, 18:52:58
'tis done now, but took half a day. Not sure I'd have bothered if I'd have known the size of the task.

03-02-2005, 20:47:08
As some who has actually developed printer drivers professionally, I can render a professional answer to Gary's question....

No. We never use them if we can help it. :D

As for printing from IE... that's just what happens.

There tons of ways that software can screw up. If Word prints correctly, but IE doesn't, that means:
* You've screwed up IE's settings
* Someone else has screwed up IE's settings
* The web page is screwing up IE's normal settings

Here's a test. Open up a simple text file in IE, and print it. If it obeys margins and what not, then that should clue you in.

Most of the ways pages screw up being rendered in printing for IE is due to fonts. IE doesn't really use the fonts it is told to use by the page. Nor does it use the fonts you instruct it to. It goes through an arcane system to make a "best fit" between what the end user tells it, and what the web page specifies. This often screws up when dealing with actual printing. The reason is that when you dump data to a printer, the typical print driver will try to match the specified font and font size to what it knows. And the printer driver then ends up changing the actual font rendered, which causes overruns.

When you don't mess with the fonting (font size), it generally works out ok.

Lesson: Never specify a font. It causes "best guesses" and "best fits", and that means stuff changes sizes, styles, and even font types. Especially when IE is involved. When a best guess isn't that good a fit, you don't know which font it thinks it is using for printing...

Word does a lot of "best fits", by the way. But it doesn't use such a wickedly obtuse system as IE. That's why documents printed using it screw up less often. That's also why tech support knows that you should go and update your printer driver, or they need to come out and update your printer fonts and/or eeproms/OS.

04-02-2005, 17:51:14
As for printing from IE... that's just what happens.

Ah, so you're saying that IE never sends the missing text to the driver in the first place ? That would be despicable.

In work I don't have the chance to change much on IE. But as we all know, the PC folk know what they're doing.

If I remember I may try the simple test Monday, but IIRC that sort of print has been fine in the past. I think one needs to be trying to print some page that doesn't fit on A4 without shrinking to fit.

Cheers for the info.

Sir Penguin
04-02-2005, 19:57:19
Next time, it might be worth trying Firefox if you can. I've been able to print stuff with Firefox that didn't print properly with IE.


07-02-2005, 20:18:17
Gary... IE sent the info. It just ran off the page. ;)

Simple answer: save out pages that don't print correctly, suck them into Word, and print it again. Technical details aside, Word has a lot more time spent on its printer rendering logic, and so it screws up less often.

With HTML or RTF text, if it is really important information (and sometimes, HTML and RTF pages have crazy commands in them that make them printer unfriendly), you can always suck out the info by hand into simple text holder (notepad for instance), then put the information in whatever format you want into an HTML editor (if you want to keep images/graphics with the articles, for instance), then save it out as a new page (which will be printable). I've had to do this on rare occasions myself. Just something that happens once in a blue moon.