Laser Printers and Forms Setup

CAUTION: It is possible to lock yourself out of being able to enter OSAS by making bad choices while in this program.  You should not get into trouble if you edit or add printers, but do not change any other lines in the configuration file unless you know what you are doing.


When using W-2 or 1099 forms, if the data is not aligning with the boxes correctly and/or if you are getting an extra blank page between forms, then you need to edit your devices as described here.


Printers are defined in OSAS by using Resource Manager, Workstation Configuration, Devices.  When you come into this program to make changes the system wants to create a backup file to the present configuration file.  The default backup file name is config.bak (the live file is config.bbx).  You should continue by accepting the default name by pressing <enter>, and if a backup file already exists (which is likely) then you should say YES to overwrite.


*---------------------------------- Devices -----------------------------------*

|  stblen=3072                                                                 |

|  aliases=21                                                                  |

|  FCBS=70                                                                     |

|  HANDLES=70                                                                  |

|  CIBS=70                                                                     |

|  alias PF $FILE "Print file" LF=0D0A,FILE=PRINT.T0                           |

|  alias LP /dev/lpt1 "HP Laser Jet for W-2" CR,SP=1B451B266C3664306F33411B... |

|  alias P1 /dev/lpt1 "Dot Matrix Printer" CR,SP=12,SPCOLS=80,CP=0F,CPCOLS=... |

|  alias P2 /dev/lpt2 "Dot Matrix LPT2" CR,SP=12,SPCOLS=80,CP=0F,CPCOLS=132... |

|  alias P3 /dev/lpt2 "Wide Dot Matrix for W-2" CR,SP=12,SPCOLS=140,CP=0F,C... |

|  alias LPL sysprint "Windows Default Printer Laser" LINES=65,SPCOLS=80,CP... |

|  alias PSL sysprint "Print Setup Laser" LINES=63,SPCOLS=80,CPCOLS=132,TMA... |

|  alias T000 syswindow                                                        |

|  alias T001 syswindow                                                        |

|  alias T002 syswindow                                                        |

|  alias T003 syswindow                                                        |

|  alias T004 syswindow                                                        |

|  alias T005 syswindow                                                        |

|  alias T006 syswindow                                                        |

|  alias T007 syswindow                                                        |


|                         Enter = edit, Append, Write                          |

* Company 1 -------------- Quick ----------------------------------- Verify ---*


Every installation has a different configuration file, but normally the printers are defined near the top of the file.  You can use the down-arrow to move down in the file to the alias lines that define your printers.  If you want to edit a printer definition, you arrow to the line and then press <enter> to edit the line.  If you want to add a new printer alias you can move to a position one line BELOW where you want to insert the line.  Press the <insert> key to insert a new line and the program will prompt you for the information about your printer.


You can have as many printer alias lines as you like, but it gets confusing if a user has too many choices.  Sometimes a new printer alias is needed just to allow for a custom definition.  In other words, you may have two or more alias lines that use the same physical printer, yet differ in their characteristics such as margins, fonts, or initialization.  Sometimes you may want to have a custom printer alias just used for certain forms – like W-2s or 1099s.


In the more current versions of OSAS, Windows laser printers will be defined as a sysprint device.  This means that the system device name is sysprint.  This is a special device name used by OSAS to communicate with Windows printers.  If you enter or edit a sysprint device, OSAS will likely tell you that the device is not available.  You may always ignore this message by pressing <enter>.


If you have a laser printer connected directly to your workstation, instead of being defined as a sysprint printer it may be a /dev/lpt device.  Even if the printer is not directly connected to your workstation it could still be a /dev/lpt device if you use a capture command (in Windows or Novell) to redirect print jobs to this printer.  You can identify /dev/lpt device printers by the system device name.  The name will have /dev/lptx where x is a number 1-5 or it will simply have LPTx.


SYSPRINT Laser Printers

These printers usually have 3 letter alias names such as LPL or PSL.  The two settings that are normally changed to effect the printing are the Lines Per Page and maybe the Top Margin.  The screen for editing the printer will look like:

*---------------------------- Devices - Printers -----------------------------*

|  BBx Device Name  LPL                                                       |

|                                                                             |

|  System Device Name  sysprint                                               |

|         Device Type  "Windows Default Printer Laser"                        |


|  Device Mode      Value                                                     |

|  Lines Per Page         64                                                  |

|  Standard Cols          80                                                  |

|  Compress Cols         132                                                  |

|  Top Margin       .5                                                        |

|  Left Margin                                                                |

|  Font                                                                       |

|  Setup                                                                      |

|  Dialog                                                                     |

|                                                                             |

|                                                                             |

|                                                                             |

|                                                                             |

|                                                                             |

|                                                                             |


|                         Enter = edit, Header, Done                          |

*- Company 1 -------------- Quick ----------------------------------- Verify -*


Lines Per Page

Changing this setting will cause the print to drift up or down the page.  This setting effects how many lines per inch the printer prints.  The drift will be more pronounced toward the bottom of the page.  The setting should normally be in the range of 63 to 66.  If you make the number smaller, it will move the print lower on the page as it spreads fewer lines out on the page.  If you increase the number, the print on the page will move higher as it forces more lines on the page.  For W-2 or 1099 forms this setting is normally 64 or 65.  When printing forms, if the top form on the page looks pretty good, but the alignment gets worse toward the bottom of the page, then this is a setting that needs to be changed up or down.


Standard Columns and Compressed Columns

The standard columns are 80 and the compressed columns are 132.  On a laser printer you will usually not need to change these.


Top Margin

The standard setting for the top margin is .5 inches.  All laser printers have some part at the top of the page that they cannot print on.  The standard setting is usually good, but if you find that you want to move the alignment either up or down you can try changing this setting.  Something in the range of .30 to .65 may be valid depending on the need.


Left Margin

No left margin is usually defined.  You may put in a setting of .25 to .50 as needed to move the entire print more to the right on the printed page.



This one is tricky.  When OSAS uses a sysprint device it will allow Windows to select the printer font unless you specify one here.  The tricky part is that the font it selects depends on what software you have installed on your individual workstation.  This is because many software programs install fonts in Windows along with their program files.  So depending on what software you have installed it will make a difference what fonts you have on your workstation.  For example, the word processor you have installed will have many fonts installed with it.  The challenge is that it is then possible that two different users could each print to this same device and the report would look slightly different depending on what fonts they each have on their respective workstations.


Very often letting OSAS pick your font works very well and you can leave this field blank.  On the other hand, you may need or want to change this.  If you enter a font name, then it should be within quotes.  For example, “OCRB” or “Courier” are two common choices.  You can experiment with this line if needed.  If OSAS does not understand what you entered here, it will ignore it and simply make it’s own choice.


Setup and Dialog

You would enter YES next to one of these settings if you want OSAS to stop and ask you to select the Windows printer when this device is chosen from within OSAS.  When these are left blank OSAS will simply send the print job to whatever is your default Windows printer.  I generally have no use for the Dialog line.  If I want to be able to select the Windows printer I say YES only to the Setup line.  Note that in standard OSAS the printer alias LPL does not stop to ask and printer PSL does stop to ask.


/dev/lpt Laser Printers

This type of printer does not use Windows print drivers.  It is more like an old fashion DOS printer.  There are several lines of configuration with this printer, but rather than explain each line the fact is that only one setting is subject to modification.


When you edit this alias device you will see a setting for Standard Print.  The letters and numbers that make up this string of characters are hexadecimal codes.  You don’t need to know what this means other than to know that this set of codes has the effect of sending PCL instructions to your laser printer that effect the print characteristics such as how many lines per inch, how many lines per page, and how many characters per inch.


Here is a Standard Print setting that is useful with forms:


Standard Print   1B451B266C3664306F33411B2873313048


Note: There are NO letter Ls or letter Os in the above line.  If it looks like 1 it is the number one, and if it looks like 0 it is the number zero.


Change your standard print setting, press D for done, and write your changes with the W.


This setting may work just fine for all your printing in OSAS.


You can always return to the old standard OSAS settings simply by using the F2 inquiry key when you are at the Device Type at the top of the device screen.  You can pick from the list the HP Laser printer which will return all the settings to the standard OSAS defaults.