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Can I print a PDF from a non-postscript printer?

Posted on 2014-08-05
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Last Modified: 2014-08-15
Was told by a vendor that I'd have to go with one of their postscript models, which would cost an extra $3,000.  Don't know if I should just go with another vendor or if there's something I'm missing here.  Do you have experience with this?
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Question by:epichero22
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016 earned 2000 total points
ID: 40242176
You can certainly print PDF files to any printer that Windows supports. Your vendor may be alluding to some other issues, but printing of PDFs is definitely not restricted to PostScript printers. Regards, Joe
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by:epichero22
ID: 40242182
Thanks Joe.


What I've read so far is that certain graphics or characters wont print.  I'm wondering if you can program the PDF reader to send everything as a single graphic that the printer will accept as opposed to individual characters and such.  Is that possible with PDF software?  I don't think I've seen that option.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 40242249
You could try PS2PDF or the core product that it is based on, Ghostscript. Or you could print to a PDF print driver, several of which are based on Ghostscript, including Bullzip and CutePDF. And some are not based on Ghostscript, such as doPDF. Regards, Joe
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by:epichero22
ID: 40242262
OK, so it sounds like we're good to go with the original printer:

http://www8.hp.com/us/en/large-format-printers/designjet-printers/t520.html

Thanks for clarifying.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 40242291
Well, being an HP device, it supports, of course, PCL. The link you posted shows:
Print languages (standard) HP-GL/2, HP-RTL, HP PCL 3 GUI, JPEG, CALS G4

Drivers (included) HP-GL/2, HP-RTL drivers for Windows® (optimized for AutoCAD 2000 and higher); HP PCL 3 GUI driver for Mac OS X
I don't think you'll have any problems printing to it, but being an expensive device, you should try it with some of your docs before taking the plunge. Regards, Joe
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by:epichero22
ID: 40242301
Would HP let us send them some documents for printing?
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 40242320
I don't know, but I suspect that an HP sales/account rep would find a way to make it happen for a customer (or prospect). What happens when you print those documents to Bullzip (my favorite Ghostscript-based PDF print driver) and doPDF (my favorite non-Ghostscript-based PDF print driver)?
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by:epichero22
ID: 40242339
Haven't tried those.  Will speak with the client about it.

Edit: I'll also add, that if HP wants to upsell us for no good reason, then I don't think they'd be willing to cooperate with us sending them a PDF.  But I'll ask.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 40242345
Good point on the HP up-sell!
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by:Natty Greg
ID: 40242973
Hello, it doesn't matter the printers these days are sophisticated and will do what u want it to do,
the competition is so stiff in that market the manufactures are throwing everything into their printer so that you will buy it.
If this was the 90's I would say maybe but even my consumer grade prints very good PDF's.

Just buy something you're comfortable using
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by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 40246458
I'm a bit late to this party, but let me chime in based on my experience (I've worked for three different printer manufacturer over the last 20 years):

When you google for Acrobat and printer problems, you will find a ton of reports about people not being able to print. Most users of Acrobat or the free Adobe Reader don't run into these problems, but sometimes things just go wrong.

In my experience, it's almost always a problem with the printer driver, and not with Acrobat. Maybe HP has given up on fixing their drivers to work with Acrobat, and are pushing you towards the PostScript option (which makes it much easier to create well printing documents for them).  :)

Adobe Acrobat and the free Adobe Reader are very demanding when it comes to printer drivers. Adobe was actually responsible for many years for the Windows PostScript drivers, so they know what a driver is supposed to do. Over the years, I've seen numerous instances of where a printer would not print PDF files after e.g. an upgrade to Acrobat or Reader, and the printer manufacturer would blame Adobe for these problems, but usually the problems go away after an update from the printer manufacturer (and without Adobe having to fix anything).

I don't work for Adobe, so I don't have any incentive to blame one party over the other, but again, my experience tells me that it's very likely the printer manufacturer that is causing the problems.

Back to your problem: I've printed PDF files successfully to many different HP printers over the years - in PostScript, PCL and PCL6. So chances are that you will not run into problems. If you do, push them to fix their drivers, or, go with a different vendor. HP is not the only player in this market, and you will very likely find a large number of different devices in the same price range with a very similar functionality.

Good luck.
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by:hdhondt
ID: 40247278
@joe
PCL3 is not PCL. It is a host based printer (requiring the PC to convert the page into printer pixels).

However, in most cases these printers will print out PDFs just fine. Some PDFs will occasionally fail to print correctly on non-potable printers. When that happens, selecting "print as image" will fix the problem in nearly all cases.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 40247428
Hi hdhondt,
Yes, I get that there have been many PCL levels/versions along the way. I was just using the PCL term (Printer Command Language) in its base form to make the point that since HP is the company which developed it, it's no surprise that HP printers continue to support it in its various incarnations during the past 30 years. And, yes, as I said at the beginning of this thread, printers can (usually) print out PDF files just fine, although khkremer makes some really interesting points. Regards, Joe
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by:epichero22
ID: 40263972
I spoke with the vendor again and they said that printing a single PDF is fine, but printing multiple PDFs may be a problem with a non-postscript.  My client doesn't need to send multiple jobs to the printer, anyway.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 40264539
> printing a single PDF is fine, but printing multiple PDFs may be a problem with a non-postscript

I don't know why printing a single PDF is fine, but not multiple ones, unless I'm not understanding what the vendor means by printing multiple PDFs. In any case, I'm glad that you're happy with the resolution of the issue. Regards, Joe
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