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Using a Report to populate pre-printed form - letter in the box style?

I need to print content onto a preprinted form (LaserJet). I have to use the preprinted form. It cannot be rendered by the report.

The form has individual squares to place each character (originally filled in by hand). So, instead of placing a text field for lastname somewhere on the page I have to place each character in the last name in the next square. Something like this:   (The square brackets would represent the pre-printing, not what I'm reporting)

  [ L ]  [ A ]  [ S ]  [ T ]  [ N ]  [ A ]  [ M ]  [ E ]  [   ]  [   ]  [   ]  [   ]  [   ]  [   ]

What is the best way to get there from here?

Two approaches occur to me and I don't like either one:

1) Place 25 last name fields on the report and set the formatting for each one to substr the proper character for this square, something like substr(lastname, 5, 1) in the 5th square. The repeat for the other 40 data items on the report.

2) Write a module that prints directly to the printer and print off a trillion sheets while I microscopically index each position, completely ignoring the report feature. Actually, if no better solution pops up this is what I'll do. . .
Microsoft Access

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8/22/2022 - Mon

You probably need to look here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/76388. Twips, Picas, Points and Inches relationships.
Jeffrey Coachman


Correct me if I am wrong on any of this:
-One "form" (which in our case will become a "Report") can contain many names.
-There is a Max. of 25 names per form ("Report").
-You may have any number of Names to display (ex.: 397) and they need to be divided up into 25 records per report.


Actually without the db objects I don't really understand what you are saying. Do you mean that a Form is the report? Does each name have its own page or are there 25 names on each page? The twips vs inches relationship was to show you where to place the name on the form or report whichever you mean. Can you attach a db with your form/report and the other objects necessary to run the report? You might need to delete sensitive data but I or anyone who helped would need to see a representation at least of what you already have.
This is the best money I have ever spent. I cannot not tell you how many times these folks have saved my bacon. I learn so much from the contributors.

One report corresponds exactly to one serial numbered original pre-printed form, which is the only permitted form to use.

Each report / page / form details various information about an incident, which includes names, items, dates, etc. I can't give more detail than that and can't post the mdb. The question referenced just the name to keep things simple.

The form requires each letter of each data item to be placed in a particular spot. I can accomplish this by either of the two methods outlined in the question. It is just annoyingly tedious to register a form that way.

I was hoping for a magic answer that would let me, for instance, specify a padding between characters. Then I could just place "JEFF" at the right spot and each character in the word would fall in the right spot. Or some other method that accomplishes the same thing.

Why the squares and the spacing? The form is optically scanned by the state. The part of the image that is the form is a color ink that doesn't scan. They OCR the rest. The placement requirement just makes it easier for their software to figure out what is there.

Only a state bureau could come up with a form like this...

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Well, truely I was hoping to find that easy method that I just never happened to hear about. Don't laugh - it's happened before! I loved the 'split' function in MUMPS and was disappointed not to find it in VB 3 and wrote my own. Then a couple versions later I found they had slipped it in when I wasn't looking.

As the twips and flops and the like are useful in indexing a page, I'll take that as the accepted answer.