Printing to a Dot Matrix Printer

We have a client that has existing dot matrix printers which use multi part stationary for picking slips and such.

Is there a way to print to a dot matrix printer on the network, some of these dot matrix printers do not have windows drivers, so i possibly need to just open ports and print to them.

One further complication is that some of the branches are remote thus on internet connections, so we would need to be able to print to these via the VPN. We can define all these printers on the server if necessary, perhaps as some generic driver?

Any help would be appreciated.
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PluckaAsked:
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mlmccCommented:
SInce other questions you have asked are related to Crystal Reports, are you planning to print the reports to a dot matrix printer?

If so you will be very unhappy with the results since Crystal prints everything in graphics mode.  See
http://support.businessobjects.com/library/kbase/articles/c2002089.asp

mlmcc
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pinaldaveCommented:
Hi Plucka,

as you mentioned any help this are good links in this matter.
http://members.shaw.ca/bsanders/NetPrinterAllUsers.htm
www.env.leeds.ac.uk/support/guides/ printing/network-printing.html

Regards,
---Pinal
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mrichmonCommented:
If you can't print directly to the printer over the network then you can try sharing the printer through a machine that is directly connected tot he printer and printing through the share.
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pinaldaveCommented:
Hello Pluka,
Mrichmon has the best suggestion. check out my first link which tells you how you can do it.
Regards,
---Pinal
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slusheCommented:
You can buy a device like an HP DirectJet that will convert your Parallel Port printer into a network available printer.  

It converts a printer plug into a network port with print server (=IP Address for any printer) so you can access it like it was a local printer.

What this will allow you to do is reference the ip address and send the print job straight to it from whatever app you like.  Doing it over the internet would be doable, as you could forward the printing port to the RAW/spooling port, or the HP Directjet port from the outside world directly to the Print server's IP address, which is connected to the printer.   Of course, with a VPN, you can print to it like a local network device printer anyways.

I did a similar thing using a Label printer, worked great.

The benefit of this approach in a corporate environment is that it is not relying on a computer share, and the computer being turned on, running.  The device only costs $1-300 last time I checked, I'm sure you can find an old one on ebay that would do you great too.

Hope that helps.
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slusheCommented:
One more thing.. If you are using old, or heavy duty industrial dot-matrix printers, often, they'll have an emulation mode for an IBM / Lexmark or HP printer.  Meaning, you can use the generic driver for that brand with the printer.  

If it's a concern, then you can also install using the third party driver, and set the printer to print to the IP Address of the print server.  If you need to print directly from the APP, I'm sure there are enough emulation guides available for generic IBM/LEXMARK/HP Dotmatrix printers that you can integrate into the app, or account for somehow, hopefully.

Good luck :)
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slusheCommented:
I have used an accounting package called BusinessVision (www.businessvision.com) which natively uses crystal reports to print all of its cheques, invoices,  reports etc.. which I am doing out to a dot matrix.  

The trick is letting it use the default fonts built into the printer, and using a font like courier in the report.  It's possible, just has to be the right hw and sw.  It was finnecky to set up, but once the standard was finalized, I've never looked at it again.
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mlmccCommented:
Ok.  Just wanted to make sure you knew the pitfalls.  That is essentially what the link I provided recommends.

mlmcc
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slusheCommented:
Pitfalls is a nice softener for nigthmare :)  I wish Crystal could do watermarking and printing different pages of a report to different trays of a laser printer, thus removing the need for multipart &multiculored dotmatrix forms in the first place.  oh well, maybe in v11.
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mlmccCommented:
It can do watermarking.

I haven't done it but as i recall
Open the report
Put the watermark in the page header
Click FORMAT --> FORMAT SECTION
Select the PAGE HEADER
Clcik UNDERLAY FOLLOWING SECTIONS

mlmcc
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slusheCommented:
You're right, that's good to know.  

Printing different pages of a report to different printer trays for different paper color, though, it doesn't seem to. :(

Cheers!
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mlmccCommented:
Not that I have found.

mlmcc
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