NewDeal Technical Support Document 214


This may help you solve problems printing from NewDeal software

Note: You must have NewDeal software to use NewDeal print drivers. NewDeal print drivers will not work with other Windows, OS/2, or DOS programs.

1) Open up Preferences.

To launch Preferences, go to NewManager and double-click the Preferences icon or choose Settings, Preferences from the Express menu.

2) In Preferences, Click on Printer

What's listed under "Printers Installed?" Does the correct printer listing show up? Are there other (incorrect) printers listed?

Is the printer set up for the correct port? Almost all PC's print over LPT1:, the first parallel port.

To change what's listed under "Printers Installed," point and click on the printer you want to change, test, or delete. When its name turns black, click on the appropriate button.
Printer dialog box

Delete the names of any printers that you don't actually use. Make changes until only printers you use appear in the list.

3) Test the Printer

Just click once on the "Test" button. If you click more than once, you'll get the error message "Couldn't print because the port is currently in use." A successful print test looks something like this miniature page, with the name of your printer on it.
Example of Printer Test

4) Evaluate Printer Test

Looks fine: Then everything is working okay. If you sometimes get "Printer Off Line" or other errors, try the suggestions under "Switch to BIOS" or "Other Printing Questions."

Printer off line/needs attention: Make sure your printer is online. See the sections "Switch to BIOS" and "Confirm Port" later in this document.

Printer test garbled, but recognizable: may indicate poor connection between printer and PC or incorrect driver selected. See sections "Bad Cable" and "Try Another Driver."

Printout wrong size: See "Try Another Driver."

Prints garbage of blank sheets: See "Try Another Driver."

Horizontal white lines on printout: See "Automatic Linefeed" and "Star NX-2420" later in this document.

Confirm Port

This will help make sure that you know what port your printer is on and that the printer itself is working. NOTE: this test will not work correctly on a PostScript laser printer, which requires PostScript input.

Exit NewDeal. Make sure your printer is online and has paper in it. At the DOS prompt, type DIR>LPT1: and press Enter. (If your printer is not on LPT1 , substitute the correct port name.)

Your printer should print out a list of the files in your current directory. To see what it should print out, type the command DIR by itself and the directory will print out on the screen. If misprints occur in the printout, you probably have a bad printer cable or loose connection.

If nothing prints, then it means the printer is not set up correctly. It's either not connected correctly, is defective, or there is some software function that is re-directing printer output. You should check your printer and computer manual to solve this problem.

Bad Cable

A bad printer cable that causes slight errors in data transmission may cause only occasional misprints in a standard text document, but may wreak havoc in a NewDeal document.
Example of bad cable

NewDeal software prints in "graphics mode," which means that it paints the page with dots to form a printed image. A standard text-based word processor simply sends a single number to the printer corresponding to a particular character (an ASCII code), which the printer then prints using its own built-in character set. The printer does the work of painting this character on the page.

So, where a text-based word-processor sends a simple instruction to the printer to tell it to print a particular character, NewDeal software actually sends a picture of the whole character, in the form of black and white (or colored) dots. This is why NewDeal can print in so many different fonts and sizes regardless of what fonts are built into your printer.

This is also why a data transmission error is so critical in graphics mode printing. If there's an error, it can throw off the printing on the rest of the printout.

The simplest way to test for a bad cable is to borrow a cable that you know works well from someone else. Shorter cables (six feet or less) are usually more reliable than long ones and thicker cables are often more well shielded than thinner ones. Avoid sharp bends in printer cables. Avoid running the cable near high-current electrical equipment, such as motors or transformers or your computer monitor. Do not bunch together your printer cable with the power cords for your other equipment. Do not tightly coil your printer cable.

Automatic Linefeed

Most dot-matrix printers have an option called "auto-linefeed" which causes the paper to move up one line every time the printhead reaches the end of a line.

For NewDeal software, this setting should be turned off. Since our software typically makes several passes over each line while printing, the auto-linefeed setting will make printouts appear with evenly-spaced blank lines, as shown here for the word NEW.
Example of line spacing

You can normally disable the auto-linefeed setting with a DIP switch or control on the printer itself. Check your printer's manual under DIP switches, auto-linefeed, or carriage returns.

If you're not sure whether auto-linefeeds are the problem, try this, at the DOS prompt, type this command:

and press enter. (If your printer's not attached to LPT1, substitute the correct printer port.) If the resulting printout appears double-spaced, then auto-linefeed is turned on and needs to be disabled.

If the printout does not appear double-spaced, see the "Star NX-2420" section.

Switch to BIOS

This step is worth trying for almost any type of printer problem, including garbled printouts, error messages, and printers that don't print anything.

To switch to BIOS: Launch Preferences. Click on Computer. Look at the section labeled Parallel Ports. For each port, you have several options: 5, 7, BIOS, and DOS.

Check the BIOS option for the port you're using, then click OK. This may fix your problem.

If switching to BIOS does not work, try switching to DOS. This is not normally necessary except when printing over a network or when using certain printer-redirection utilities. The DOS setting has the disadvantage that if the printer is off-line, NewDeal software may report some error message like "no or unformatted disk in drive." This is due to the way DOS reports this error, and there is currently no work around other than to make sure your printer is always online.

WHAT DO THESE SETTINGS MEAN? The 5 and 7 settings are hardware interrupts. BIOS is a program built into your computer that handles basic input-output functions. DOS, of course, uses your operating system, which has its own printing routines built in. So if your LPT port is set to 5 or 7, then NewDeal is printing directly to your hardware, all by itself. If it is set to BIOS, then NewDeal is calling BIOS functions to print. If it's set to DOS, NewDeal is sending printing instructions to DOS. Interrupt-driven (direct to hardware) is usually the fastest, if it works; DOS is the slowest, but most reliable.

Try Another Driver

If at first you don't succeed... NewDeal software supports several hundred printers, but it supports them all with just a few print drivers, so it's not impractical to try them all. Check your printer manual to see if your printer emulates another printer on the NewDeal list. Here is a list of printers you can select to try out most of the available drivers. If you've selected the wrong print driver, your printout may be blank, distorted (larger, smaller, chopped up with white space), or the page may be filled with random characters.


If your printer is not listed in Preferences, Printer, New, see technical support document 242 (Unlisted Printers) or look up your printer in technical support document 272 (Specific Printer Notes) for more information.

Try Medium Quality

NewDeal software prints at higher resolutions than previous versions. If you could print in Geoworks Pro or Ensemble 1.2, but you can't print in your NewDeal software, it may be because NewDeal is trying to print at a resolution your printer can't support. To test this, try selecting Medium Quality when you print a document.

Other Printing Questions

BI-DIRECTIONAL PRINTING: You may notice that your dot-matrix printer only prints when the printhead travels from left to right while in NewDeal software, and doesn't print anything while it's moving back from right to left. In other programs, printers sometimes print in both directions, thus speeding things up a bit. The reason for the difference is that NewDeal software prints in "graphics mode," actually painting each character on the page, rather than relying on the printer's built-in character set. The only way to guarantee proper alignment of the printhead in high-resolution graphics mode printing is to start each pass at the left side of the paper. Otherwise, some printers will produce an odd rippling effect down the page.

PRINTING TO A FILE: You can print a file to your hard disk. The resulting file will include all commands and formatting codes for the specified printer. You can take or send the file to most duplication quick-print service bureaus to have it printed out on a high-quality laser printer. Please note that the print file created is large, so you may need several megabytes of free hard disk space.

To print to a file, use Preferences to install the printer you will print the file on. Open the document and choose Print from the File menu. Click on the listed printer and select the printer you want to use for Print to File. Click on Options. In the Print to: section, select File. A Print to File button will appear in the Print box, next to Cancel. If you plan to print to file often, you can set up a printer to always print to file. To do this, launch Preferences and click on the Printer button. Click on the New button. Choose the printer you want the resulting print file formatted for. Under the Port section, scroll down until you see the "To File" selection. Click on To File. This sets your NewDeal software to always print to a file when you select this printer.

To print out the file, just copy it to the printer port. For example, if you take the file OUTPUT.PS to be printed on a computer that has a printer attached to LPT2:, you would type this command at the DOS prompt: COPY OUTPUT.PS LPT2: /B

Printing Multiple Documents A customer was having trouble printing multiple documents. We discovered that some computers require the following setting in the CONFIG.SYS file:


STAR NX-2420: One model of this printer had a defective ROM chip that caused it to leave blank horizontal lines about 1/4" high at a couple of places down the page. Call Star technical support or a local Star dealer for the firmware EPROM upgrade.

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Last Modified 16 Feb 1999