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A Note on Printing PostScript® Files Outside the U.S.

If you try to print a PostScript® file generated by FrameMaker® (the desktop publishing program I used to create the timelines) on a European-made PostScript printer you may notice that your job gets flushed without producing any output. Let me explain why.

The timelines are designed to fit on a standard 8-1/2 by 11" sheet of paper. The default paper size used by FrameMaker in the embedded PostScript instructions for this page size is "Letter", the American equivalent of the European A4 paper size. When a FrameMaker file is printed these instructions cause the printer to check to see is "Letter" size paper is available. If this is not the case (as with CWI printers) the printer may switch automatically to "manual feed" mode enabling the user to insert the requested paper him/herself, the assumption being that "Letter" is a special size that will be supplied by the user. Or the printer (if it does not have a "manual feed" option) may simply reject your print job and flush the output from the print queue.

The problem with this strategy is obvious. First of all, the user doesn't expect this behavior so the printer may go into a "wait mode" and stay there, or it may reject the print job with a cryptic error message. In addition, in a shared printer environment having a printer waiting infinitely for manual paper insertion is unacceptable which typically means that the printer will flush your job from the queue and you will get no output and little or no indication why this happened.

FrameMaker-generated PostScript files can be printed by first applying a small modification to the file. Load the file into a plain text editor and search for the line:


Next, comment out this and the next three lines by inserting the percent sign (%) into the first column of each line so that it looks like this:

% setpapername
% manualfeed {true} {papersize} ifelse
% {manualpapersize} {false} ifelse
% {desperatepapersize} if

and the file should print fine.