7 Replies Latest reply: May 15, 2014 10:16 AM by Grant Perkins RSS

    How do I set up a Generic/Text Printer in Windows???

    AndrewC _

      I have been a Monarch User (infrequent) since about V6 and I used to find it easy to output reports (OK from UNIX systems in those days) as .prn files that read straight into Monarch.

       

      I have recently been battling with PDF files in a project I am working on where files that are perfectly formatted in Adobe or Foxit cause displaced fields when imported into V10.5.

       

      I thought I should be able to just output to a .prn file from a Windows Server but despite jumping through hoops have been unable to get anything recognisable.  They either come out as binary mince or (if forced to format as text) completely blank with just the Page separators showing in Monarch.

       

      What I tried :

      1. Setting up a new Generic/Text Only printer

      2. Printing to a Port called FILE

      3. Changing the Print Processor to winprint with a default data type of TEXT instead of RAW

       

      It's really stupid - I used to be able to do this!

       

      Can someone walk me through it, please.

       

      Regards

      Andrew

        • How do I set up a Generic/Text Printer in Windows???
          Olly Bond

          Hello Andrew,

           

          If you send us the PDFs we could probably help you solve the problem through modelling rather than through trying to save the PDFs as text.

           

          I think Acrobat Pro might let you batch convert PDFs to text, but I would defer to other experts for the printer settings approach.

           

          Best wishes,

           

          Olly

            • How do I set up a Generic/Text Printer in Windows???
              AndrewC _

              Hi Olly

               

              I really want to get away from PDFs.  They have been the root cause of all problems with Monarch throughout this project and instead of constantly trying to find workarounds I decided to today to go back to basics and just try and get a .prn file out of the system at the outset.

               

              I have used some of the techniques you employed earlier to get data out of other reports but this one is a mess in Monarch despite looking fine in Adobe and Foxit.  I even got the report rewritten tonight to anchor all the fields as right-justified but they still run out the further down the report you go.

               

              Do you know how to get a .prn file out of a report from a Windows application?

               

              Regards

              Andrew

                • How do I set up a Generic/Text Printer in Windows???
                  Joe Berry

                  Hi Andrew,

                   

                  You can set up a generic printer to print to a file by adding a printer, choosing the File as the port.  Stop the search and install manually.  Choose generic as the manufacturer.  I have used this for years, but it isn't like it was in the DOS era.  I have mixed results.

                   

                  I have had reports in pdf offer all sorts of challenges - exactly like what you describe.  I have tried printing the pdf file to xps, tried converting the report to txt and printing to a generic printer. 

                   

                  In my opinion, this is not a pdf issue with Monarch, but one with the system creating it.  I have used pdf input since Monarch began accepting pdf.  I have found that there are systems that can't get it right.  I have found that if I print the report to a pdf printer driver; such as, CUTE which is free works well.  I have also found that reports created by Crystal reports are problematic with certain versions.  Overall, most of the pdf reports I process are problem free.

                   

                  Hope that helps.

                    • How do I set up a Generic/Text Printer in Windows???
                      AndrewC _

                      Joe

                       

                      Many thanks for taking time to respond.  Your comments made sense to me and today I tried Cute PDF as an output to replace Bullzip.  It worked a lot better from the modelling point of view bearing out what you say about the issue being in the generation.

                       

                      However the output has Supplier Codes with spaces in them (a historic anomaly that we have not permitted in the replacement system) and I found that a single space can come out as 1, 2, 3, or 4 spaces on the PDF report when imported to Monarch.

                       

                      I have ended up going through export to HTML and fix in Excel rather than using Monarch.  Messy, but it works and I am running out of time!

                       

                      But thanks again for your useful input.  I will probably use Cute for the Live transfer with reports from other ledgers.

                    • How do I set up a Generic/Text Printer in Windows???
                      Grant Perkins

                      Hi Olly

                       

                      I really want to get away from PDFs.  They have been the root cause of all problems with Monarch throughout this project and instead of constantly trying to find workarounds I decided to today to go back to basics and just try and get a .prn file out of the system at the outset.

                       

                      I have used some of the techniques you employed earlier to get data out of other reports but this one is a mess in Monarch despite looking fine in Adobe and Foxit.  I even got the report rewritten tonight to anchor all the fields as right-justified but they still run out the further down the report you go.

                       

                      Do you know how to get a .prn file out of a report from a Windows application?

                       

                      Regards

                      Andrew[/QUOTE]

                       

                      Hi Andrew,

                       

                      PDF files tend to have variable standards that the Adobe software will mostly tolerate but third party products, following the published specs, sometimes may not.

                       

                      It's a bit like MS have managed from time to time with Internet Explorer where things outside the spec may or may not work from one release to the next.

                       

                       

                      Back in the early days of PDFs, before they became de facto methods for delivering reports, quite a few developers cobbled together output routines that did just enough and worked with whatever the PDF standard was at the time. Since most system reports were just straight text (or may have have a graphics file or two added for corporate headers, etc.) the programs could be written once, left entirely alone for years and would still tick the box for the "Can you output PDFs" question in the buying cycle documentation.

                       

                      Of course when people started to produce code to reverse engineer a PDF back to text they did so in the expectation that the standards were complete, competent and enforced. That turned out not to be the case and the effort required had to be re-assessed - especially what was necessary to patch all the problems found in the dodgy examples people found in the wild.

                       

                      Very frustrating.

                       

                      In recent times the Adobe Readers have offered the options to convert PDFs to text. Always useful to see what Adobe make of the report file(s) and compare to DW's results.

                       

                      With reader XI  the feature is found under "File > Save as Other > 'Text'   ".

                       

                      It might be worth a try to see what it gives - might persuade your corporate sys admin crew to update their PDF writer software if doing so is allowed and feasible.

                       

                      As for getting a directly printed text files from the host system - great idea but in many cases systems are actually putting out Print Image files rather than plain text. So Printer language rather than editor language. (Typically Postscript).

                       

                      If your problems are similar to those I have seen previously changing the source output files would likely be the best option but may be restricted by operational considerations.

                       

                      It's really tricky to try to suggest an approach that will be full proof and can be certain to last well as systems and their outputs change (possibly) from time to time  driven by their maintenance schedules.

                       

                       

                      Grant

                        • How do I set up a Generic/Text Printer in Windows???
                          AndrewC _

                          Grant

                           

                          Thanks for your useful input, as ever.  See also my reply to Joe's comments.

                           

                          We have tried outputs from various PDF tools to text, but it comes out as a solid block of fields with no formatting to distinguish between them.  I haven't tried Reader XI but X certainly did not work.  I even downloaded Foxit to write output files but same result - no readable text.

                           

                          I agree completely with your comments on background of PDF development.  It isn't really a standard at all now with all the different versions of the format supported to a greater or lesser extent in different products.

                           

                          As you will see from my response to Joe above I eventually settled, as you suggest, on output from source in a different format and cleaning HTML up in Excel.  I hate using Excel for migration (it tries to be too clever at times) but it worked here.

                           

                          Many thanks again for your help.

                            • How do I set up a Generic/Text Printer in Windows???
                              Grant Perkins

                              Hi Andrew,

                               

                              Interesting feedback. I always feel that if Adobe Reader can't deal with a file output to text - especially if the file has no embedded graphics content to confuse things - then the creation engine must be a big challenge and expectations are usually set low!

                               

                              That's not to say that Reader is full proof but you would expect it to be able to deal with output from a close relative ...

                               

                              I would guess that some of the Monarch/Modeler tools, used against a straight text extraction, could be capable of creating the result you need but doing the analysis to know and understand how the anomalies arise and catch all of them could take a while. If this is a one off data conversion exercise (as a final objective) then your time pressures certainly suggest that bypassing this particular obstacle by any means you can as quickly as possible makes a lot of sense.

                               

                              I hope everything does well.

                               

                               

                               

                              Grant