File - Print

 

File - Print

The File - Print dialog is a standard Windows dialog that appears for layouts.  We can use it to print to PDF (using a PDF printer driver) or to hard copy printers.  

 

To print, with the focus on an opened layout we choose File - Print in the main menu.   We can print directly to a printer or to a PDF file.   In the examples below we will print to a PDF file.

 

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In current Windows editions, to print to a PDF file we choose Microsoft Print to PDF  in the File - Print dialog and then we press the Print button.   In the resulting dialog we provide a name for the file and press Save.   Windows "prints" the layout into a PDF file.

 

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Opening the PDF in Adobe Reader we see it is, indeed, a PDF of our layout.   tech_angus_sm.png

 

Caution: Some printers and print-to-PDF packages will ignore Windows Control Panel settings for that printer's paper size, and also will ignore paper size as specified in Page Setup.  Instead, they will insist on using some default paper size, such as Letter, even if the printer is loaded with A4 paper and we want to print A4 or vice versa.

 

In the File - Print dialog when working with a new printer or PDF printer it is usually a good idea to click on Preferences, and then if necessary to reach paper size settings to click on Advanced and then to ensure the desired paper size has been set.  

 

When changing paper sizes using File - Print, and then Preferences and then Advanced, with most printer drivers (including print-to-PDF drivers) we change the paper size only for that one print job.  After that print job the printer may jump back to the previous setting.  To change the printer's mind about what it should be doing by default we may have to dig into the Windows Control Panel settings for that printer to change the preferences for that printer.

 

Notes

Manifold Viewer is read only, viewing software.  The File - Print menu command is not available in Viewer.

 

Frames Incorrectly Positioned  - When printing directly to a printer or printing to a PDF, if some frames in the resulting printout are incorrectly positioned, such as overlapping or appearing slightly pushed together or pulled apart, the problem is often caused by a mismatch between the paper size specified in File - Page Setup for the layout and the paper size that is used by the printer or print-to-PDF software.   Most frequently this is the result between the tug of war between use of A4 sized paper and use of Letter sized paper.

 

For example, if we have specified A4 paper size with 10 cm margins for the layout and have arranged the frames in our layout for that paper size and those margins, but we print the layout on a PDF printer that uses a default paper size of Letter, the resulting PDF will have the frames moved closer together vertically since Letter size paper is not as tall as A4 paper.  Manifold will automatically move the frames to try to adjust to different paper sizes.  

 

Not all printers allow changing paper size in print options during a print job.  Most do, but not all.   Some printers will require opening the Windows Control Panel and then setting preferences for the printer to match the paper size that will be used by layouts. tech_angus_sm.png

 

Caution: Some printers and print-to-PDF packages will ignore Windows Control Panel settings for that printer's paper size, and also will ignore paper size as specified in Page Setup.  Instead, they will insist on using some default paper size, such as Letter, even if we want to print A4 or vice versa.

 

In the File - Print dialog when working with a new printer or PDF printer it is usually a good idea to click on Preferences, and then if necessary to reach paper size settings to click on Advanced and then to ensure the desired paper size has been set.  

 

When changing paper sizes using File - Print, and then Preferences and then Advanced, with most printer drivers (including print-to-PDF drivers) we change the paper size only for that one print job.  After that print job the printer may jump back to the previous setting.  To change the printer's mind about what it should be doing by default we may have to dig into the Windows Control Panel settings for that printer to change the preferences for that printer.

 

Problems Printing Hard Copy - Manifold prints directly to printers using standard Windows printing subsystems.   Windows subsystems for printing are highly dependent upon the quality and quirks of individual printer drivers. That is unfortunate because printer drivers are often extremely low quality, poorly-debugged and poorly-maintained software.   Even in the case of high quality printer drivers it is easy for printer drivers and Windows editions to get out of sync over time.   Any problems with printer drivers can cause unexpected results when printing a layout directly to a hard copy printer.

 

Using a recent Windows edition, such as Windows 10, can reduce printing problems.   Another way to deal with problems with printer drivers is to use the Microsoft Print to PDF capability within Windows 10 to print to a PDF file, and to then view that PDF file and to print it using Edge, Chrome or Adobe Reader.   That strategy brings to bear the combined resources of Microsoft, Google and Adobe in dealing with printer driver quirks.   

 

Using Microsoft Print to PDF or some other PDF printer system is also a good way of debugging hard copy printing problems by excluding possible problems within Manifold as the cause.  If Manifold correctly "prints" a layout to PDF via Microsoft Print to PDF or via some other PDF printer system, then any problems printing hard copy to a specific printer probably are problems not within Manifold but are problems within the printer driver or within the interface between Windows printing subsystems and the printer driver.    

 

In contrast, if Manifold prints similar errors to either the hard copy printer or to a PDF printer then a possible problem in Manifold should be reported to tech support.

 

Print to PDF Software - Current Windows systems such as Windows 10 provide  Microsoft Print to PDF capability as a built-in "printer."   Manifold therefore uses Microsoft Print to PDF as a useful reference point for PDF printing.

 

Other print-to-PDF software is also available from sources other than Microsoft and could be used as an alternative.  For example, Adobe provides software that creates an Adobe PDF "printer" such that whenever a document is "printed" to that printer a PDF is created.    

 

Free software such as FreePDF can also be installed to create PDF "printers."   FreePDF is honest software that does not install any adware, spyware, malware or other idiocy.   It seems to be a reasonable, free alternative to Adobe PDF or Microsoft Print to PDF.   FreePDF uses Ghostscript as a PDF engine, which makes for well-understood results.  tech_angus_sm.png

 

Caution:  Some PDF packages deliver advertising or spam upon installation.   Be wary of packages that may install adware, pop open spam/upsell dialogs or which might hijack browser settings or install unwanted extras. Always pay careful attention during installation sequences to avoid installing unwanted adware.

 

PDF printing software varies widely in quality and capabilities.   Depending on the print-to-PDF software used, the resulting PDFs created can vary greatly in size and rendering quality, and may result in errors or strange displays depending on which PDF viewer is used.  The Advanced rendering engine within Manifold usually provides the best results with most PDF printers.

 

Initial testing indicates Adobe PDF, Microsoft Print to PDF and FreePDF provide a good balance of quality and capabilities.

 

Problems Viewing PDFs - PDFs from any source may be displayed different in different PDF viewers.   For example, it is routine for Adobe Reader to display PDFs slightly differently than the PDF display capability build into Microsoft's Edge browser, and both Adobe and Microsoft may display PDFs slightly differently than the Opera browser or Google Chrome.

 

How a PDF appears in a different viewer may also depend on which PDF printing software was used to create that PDF.   Microsoft Print to PDF usually works well when results are viewed in Edge but not always in Adobe Reader or Chrome.  Adobe PDF and FreePDF seem to work well with Adobe Reader, Edge and Chrome.  

 

If an obvious visual problem occurs in the results when printing a layout to a PDF there are several things to try by way of debugging:

 

 

 

 

 

If the above debugging indicates a possible problem within Manifold, that should be reported to tech support.

 

See Also

Getting Started

 

User Interface Basics

 

Maps

 

Layouts

 

Project Pane

 

Contents Pane

 

File - Page Setup

 

File - Print Preview