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delay between copies when printing multi-copy Word document.

Posted on 2010-08-17
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Printing Delays

A replacement server for printing labels (and other documents) on networked printers pauses too long between labels.    

Old (still production) server:
- Server 2003
- Word 2003

New server:
- Server 2008 Std 32-bit
- Word 2007.  

Common:
There are several printers defined on the server as local printers using TCP/IP ports.  The application uses Word to send print jobs to various printers for labels, shippers, invoices, etc.  

Observations/problems:
With the new server, the output sent to laser printers is (or seems) faster than from the old server, and the application only needs to print one copy -- this is all great.  The label printers (Zebra 105Se 203DPI) print single copies fine, but when there are multiple copies of the same label (Word specifies the requested number of labels when printing the label document), there is a delay of about 10 or 15 seconds between each label.  On the old server, once the printer started printing a multi-copy document, the labels (multiple copies) would just roll smoothly out of the printer with no delays.

Steps taken:
- I've tried installing an updated printer driver (from NiceLabel.com -- those drivers worked best on old server), but the delay between labels still occurred -- no change.  Printer settings are the same on both servers.  
- I tried printing multiple copies from Word and Notepad on the new server to a LaserJet 4200, and it would only print one copy (that didn't prove anything, but that was the result of the test).

There are lots of variables, and it might be hard for anyone to give an opinion based on the few details I've provided, but I'm just wondering if anyone has seen a similar problem or might have some suggestions.  Thank you!
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Question by:TCATDI
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Assisted Solution

by:moorhouselondon
moorhouselondon earned 252 total points
ID: 33490847
There's a setting when you do a Print called Collate.  Make sure there's no tick in that box.  What happens if there's a tick in the box is that every copy to be printed gets sent as a separate series of commands, whereas with no collation the print job gets sent to the printer just the once together with an instruction to the printer to print however many copies are needed.
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Assisted Solution

by:wyliecoyoteuk
wyliecoyoteuk earned 248 total points
ID: 33491491
The answer above will help, the "collate" tick-box on the print screen in word means that word generates all of the copies, whereas collating on the printer (if possible, not all printers have enough memory) means less network traffic, and faster printing.
Another setting that may help is in the printer driver, under the "advanced" tab, set spooling to "start printing after the last page has spooled".
The first page may take longer, but the job will be printed in one go, avoiding pauses when the printer is waiting for the next page.
Any other setting can also cause large or complex jobs to fail, or only partially print.
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Author Comment

by:TCATDI
ID: 33525303
Thanks for the suggestions, will be able to test on 27 August.
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Expert Comment

by:moorhouselondon
ID: 33698788
I feel we have provided the most logical explanation for the delay and how to overcome it.  However, without the participation of the Asker it is unfortunately not possible to move any further forward than that.
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Accepted Solution

by:
TCATDI earned 0 total points
ID: 33750966
The issue with the label printers appears to have been within the interface program between the ERP system and the instance of Word running on the server.  The issue with the laser printer was resolved with a new driver downloaded from HP.  The defaults within Word did not have the Collate option checked, and using "start printing after the last page has spooled" did not have an effect.  

I apologize for the delay in providing feedback.  Testing was offsite and required the cooperation of 3 parties.  Successful testing was done finally on 9/20.  The suggestions of the Experts were encouraging, informative, and helpful, and should be rewarded even if they turned out to not be the solutions.  Thank you.
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