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Automating the Generic / Text Only Printer Driver

Posted on 2006-10-28
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Last Modified: 2007-12-19
I need to print to a text file in WinXP.  The Generic Text Only printer driver works great, but it always asks for a file name.  I'd like it to either create some new file with an automatically generated name or append to a single file.  

Or maybe there is other software out there?  I tried miraplacid, but just couldn't get it to work.

I also saw this solution, but I don't have the time to program steps 2 or 3
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Programming/Programming_Languages/Visual_Basic/VB_Controls/Q_21142139.html?query=printer+%22generic%2Ftext+only%22+prompt&clearTAFilter=true
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Question by:spathiphylum
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16 Comments
 
LVL 38

Assisted Solution

by:hdhondt
hdhondt earned 150 total points
ID: 17831531
It's easy to have it automatically print to a preset file name. Under the Ports tab in printer Porperties, click on Add Port. Select a Local Port as the type, and click on New Port. For the Port name, enter a fully qualified file name, e.g. c:\temp\test.txt

Unfortunately, if you want a different file name each time, or want to append to the same file, this will not help you. I don't know of a simple way to do this. Of course, a It's easy to have it automaticaally print to a preset file name. Under the Ports tab in printer Porperties, click on New Port. Selct a Local Port as the type, and click on Add Port. For the Port name, enter a fully qualified file name, e.g. c:\temp\test.txt

Unfortunately, if you want a different file name each time, or want to append to the same file, this will not help you. Of course, a VB script could be written...
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Author Comment

by:spathiphylum
ID: 17831618
ok.  how would i do the VB script?
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 17831807
You've got me there - that's way outside my expertise. You could ask the experts in the Programming TA.

Ask a moderator to move your question. If you do need automatic file name creation, or appending, then my answer is not what you want, but it may point a programmer in the right direction.
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Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 17839998
Or you can create a 20 point "pointer" question in the Programming TA, pointing to the url of this one ( http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Printers/Q_22041005.html ).
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thoffman earned 350 total points
ID: 17900401
You can use hdhondt's suggestion, then use a utility that monitors your folder for new files and renames/copies them as they appear. There are plenty of shareware and freeware apps that will do this. This Google might get you started.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&c2coff=1&q=folder+monitor
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Author Comment

by:spathiphylum
ID: 17900476
oh that sounds like a good idea.  i will try that next week
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by:hdhondt
ID: 17904937
You're right, thoffman, that could do the trick without any fancy programming.
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Author Comment

by:spathiphylum
ID: 17907002
well actually i couldn't get that to work -- i used foldmonkey but it doesn't grab/rename the file quick enough before the second one gets printed on multi-page documents, they always get overwritten by the last page
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by:thoffman
ID: 17942668
What application are you using? A multi-page document should show up as a single job, not multiple jobs.
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Author Comment

by:spathiphylum
ID: 17943037
yeah, you would think, but this application prints out each page individually
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 17945441
That does not sound like a Windows application. Is this an in-house app? In that case you may be able to change it so it a creates a different file each time.
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Author Comment

by:spathiphylum
ID: 17946233
it's a weird third-party application.  we don't have any control over the source code
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 17990969
You can try this application:

http://www.printdistributor.com/

It lets you print to file with file names set by some simple rules, which can include username, date, etc. Even a unique serial number can be added, so it should have no problems with pages generated one after the other. It's available for 30 day trial, and the price seems reasonable: $149

Note that I have not tried this...
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 18097876
Hi spathiphylum

Any luck with Print Distributor?
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Author Comment

by:spathiphylum
ID: 18101766
No.  Those programs handle the rules fine, but don't duplicate the Generic / Text Only Printer functionality.  They have a "Print to File" option, but this just puts out a bunch of binary junk.

Here's what I ended up doing:

1.  Setting up FoldMonkey to move the files automatically to a different directory
2.  Print to the Generic / Text Only printer driver, and when prompted for a file name, just type "1", "2" for the next page, and so on

It's not so bad because usually by the time it's ready to print the second page, the first one has already been moved / renamed by FoldMonkey so I keep my fingers on the 1 and 2 keys.  Still ugly, but I guess there's not really a good solution
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