Prevent user printing multiple copies!

Posted on 2003-02-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-12
Hi all!

Is there any way to prevent users from printing multiple copies?

(Maybe there is a registry entry to disable the option 'Multiple Copies' of the printing dialog.)

Short project description:
We want to charge the student for her/his printed pages. Therefore we are monitoring each printer queue.

But if someone prints multiple copies, the print queue doesn't show it, that is, the student could print 100 copies and would only have to pay 1 copy.

Here are test results with different applications:

MS Winword and MS Access (1 copy vs. n copies):
The number of pages is in both cases the same only the size in the queue changes.

MS Outlook, MS Internet Explorer, MS Notepad, Adobe Photoshop, (1 copy vs. n copies):
The number of pages and the size in the printer queue are in both cases the same.

MS Excel:
This is the only program (of the tested ones) which is "correct" in the printer queue. It creates for each copy it's own printing job, that is, for n copies there are n printing job in the queue.

Thank you for every hint.
Best regards,
Question by:aigleye
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LVL 45

Expert Comment

ID: 7993155
If you cannot find a software method of tracking how many copies students print, why not remove their ability to print and give it to an IT technician whose job it is to print everything out for all the students and log all the charges. Mind you it would probably be cheaper to let the students print what they want rather than have someone do it for them!

Expert Comment

ID: 7995187
make them bring their own paper
LVL 45

Expert Comment

ID: 7995253
If you can find someone to do it, I guess the best way might be develop a Filter Driver. MSDN quotes them as:

Lower-Level Filter Drivers
Lower-level filter drivers typically modify the behavior of device hardware (see the Possible Driver Layers figure). They are typically supplied by IHVs and are optional. There can be any number of lower-level filter drivers for a device.

A lower-level device filter driver monitors and/or modifies I/O requests to a particular device. Typically, such filters redefine hardware behavior to match expected specifications.

A lower-level class filter driver monitors and/or modifies I/O requests for a class of devices. For example, a lower-level class filter driver for mouse devices could provide acceleration, performing a nonlinear conversion of mouse movement data.

Upper-Level Filter Drivers
Upper-level filter drivers typically provide added-value features for a device (see the Possible Driver Layers figure). Such drivers are usually provided by IHVs and are optional. There can be any number of upper-level filter drivers for a device.

An upper-level device filter driver adds value for a particular device. For example, an upper-level device filter driver for a keyboard could enforce additional security checks.

An upper-level class filter driver adds value for all devices of a particular class.


They can be made transparent to other drivers so perhaps one might be developed to do the job you are requiring.
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Author Comment

ID: 8008007
Ok, thank you all for the answers.

But this didn't help me although the idea of writing a filter driver sounds good.
But therefore I would need a little bit more time/experience.... and about outsourcing the project: that's always a question of money.

A few other comments:
1) I thought there could be a setting in the registry to prevent the users from printing multiple copies, that is, the option 'Multiple Copies' is disabled or not shown...
2) Or there is a setting in the permissions of the print dialog.
3) We have about 2000 students and each classroom has one printer, therefore the idea with making it centralized is also not possible because the amount of printed documents could never be managed by a central place...
4) The students bring the paper? Ok, then we have no costs for paper but then we also don't have students any more ;-)... and we also want to charge the student for printer color and so on...

Best regards,

PS: Is there really no way to get the 'Multiple Copies' away or disabled on the Printer's Property dialog?

Expert Comment

ID: 8030261

I worked for a school a few years ago, and they imposed a printing qota on the students.

That is they got, I'm not sure about the figure, 300 free pages per year.

If they drew over that they could go buy more and the admins could increase their quota.

That was very effective and well recieved by most students.

They used that in Novell, but I know there are such solutions for windows too.

/Hans - Erik Skyttberg
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 8056321
There are both software and hardware solutions to allow you to charge users for prints. Software print accounting packages are usually quite expensive and require either a PostScript or a PCL printer. Low cost inkjets do not qualify. One example package can be found at http://www.andtechnologies.com/pcounter.html. Some of these systems also allow you to control printing using magnetic cards.

Hardware solutions were pioneered by Tektronix in the Phaser series printers, which store a log of print jobs, accessible from a browser. Some other manufacturers have recently started implementing similar systems. However, these printers are again fairly expensive PostScript models.

Expert Comment

ID: 8065537
I recommend this print logger program.  It can do any kind of logging you want and any kind of report you want:


LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 8465280
disable collate in the application(first screen when sending a print), and enable it in the printer driver.
LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 10681358
 No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
    I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is:


    Please leave any comments here within the next four days.


    EE Cleanup Volunteer

Author Comment

ID: 10684914
Hi all,

now I am using a macro. But this is only one workaround and definitly not the best solution.

In Winword the macro is placed into the Normal.dot.

Public Sub FilePrint()
   Dim dlg As Dialog
   Set dlg = Dialogs(wdDialogFilePrint)
   With dlg
      If .NumCopies > 1 Then
         MsgBox "This PC is restricted to " & _
            "printing one copy at a time."
      End If
      .NumCopies = 1
   End With
   Set dlg = Nothing
End Sub

And a second control is hardware based on the printer itself.

Thank you all for the help!

Author Comment

ID: 10684936
The macro has been done by

Jay Freedman
Microsoft Word MVP

in a Microsoft newsgroup

Subject: Re: Restrict number of copies
Newsgroups: microsoft.public.word.printingfonts

Thank to him and all other persons who help us with everday computer problems ;-).

LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 10698973

in that case, I will change the recommendation changed to
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Accepted Solution

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ID: 10715019
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