PageMaker 6.52 to HP 8550--problems? solutions?

Subject: PageMaker 6.52 to HP 8550--problems? solutions?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2001 09:43:48 -0500

Dick Margulis reports: <<We just had an HP 8550 GN installed today, and it
is garbling everything I send it from PageMaker. All the text is tracked
wrong (way wrong), and it is substituting Courier, seemingly at random, for
various fonts in various places. Some colors are funky, too. All of these
documents printed fine on the 8500. I've downloaded and installed the latest
drivers (HP's suggestion) on the server and installed the latest PPD on my
client. I've twiddled every PS-related menu option I can find on both the
printer control panel and the driver, and nothing has changed. Any thoughts?
(Both the server and client machines are running NT 4.) Yes, I installed the
NT drivers. Yes, HP claims the printer is compatible with NT. Yes, I tried
PDF, and that doesn't work, either. Okay, I just printed to file, using the
8550 PPD, then distilled, with all compression turned off. In the resulting
PDF, the tracking is still hosed and the colors are still funky; but the
Courier substitution seems to be gone. However, there are missing characters
(specifically line-break hyphens).>>

Two thoughts: First, Adobe has admitted (reluctantly) that PageMaker 6.X is
unreliable on networks, and recommends that you work on and save files
locally, on your hard disk, then back them up to the server.
( No idea whether
they plan to fix this in the future, but as of a month or two ago, they
hadn't even tried. Document corruption is one common result; we got burned
this way a while back. Try resaving the document on your hard disk (using
"save as"), and configure _your_ computer (not the server) properly for
using the new printer. If the document is truly hosed, you may have to
rebuild it from scratch; first, try a "diagnostic recomposition" by holding
down the control and shift keys, then opening the Type menu and selecting
"Hyphenation". (The developer who came up with this shortcut should be shot,
but that's another story.) More details on troubleshooting damaged PM files:

Second, it's also quite possible that the new printer's onboard fonts are
damaged, or that font information isn't being transferred properly to the
printer (e.g., because of damaged onboard fonts or miscommunication between
the software and the printer's rasterizing chip); whenever Courier appears
in a document, it's a clear sign that the printer can't recognize the font
you specified in PM, and substituted a standard font (by default, Courier)
in its place. You can actually change which font will appear when the
printer can't recognize the font you specified, but it's not worthwhile,
since Courier is so easy to spot and thus serves as a great flag that
something's wrong.

Somewhere buried in the print driver settings, you can specify that
PageMaker should download all fonts, even if it thinks they're present on
the printer. One place you'll commonly find problems with fonts (thus, with
any tracking and color settings for those fonts) is when you specified a
true boldface or italic font (e.g., Adobe Times Bold or Adobe Times Italic)
instead of using a keyboard shortcut (formatting text using Adobe Times,
then selecting a word and pressing control-B or control-I to turn it into
bold or italics). When you print the document, PageMaker checks the printer
to see whether it should download the font (Times Bold or Times Italic); if
it thinks the font is already on the printer, it won't download the font,
but if the printer then doesn't recognize the font name, it can't find the
onboard font and must substitute Courier. A friend got burned that way many
years back, and it took us forever to figure out the problem. Using Adobe
Times Bold or Adobe Times Italic (or their equivalents in other typefaces)
is typographically purer, but using the keyboard shortcut may save you these
problems. Try a test document this way to see if that solves your problem.

It's possible that the printer itself is the problem: if there's something
wrong with its onboard memory or PostScript interpreter, that would
certainly explain the random glitches. I must confess that the weird colors
strongly suggests a problem with the printer since you've said that the
colors still print fine on another printer. Try printing the same document
on another printer just to confirm this. Another possibility is that you're
trying to print TrueType fonts on a PostScript printer; this often works
just fine, but not always, and the missing line-break hyphens (and other
characters probably, ifyou look closely) is a longstanding bug arising from
a conflict between Acrobat and TrueType fonts. The original technical docs
that shipped with PM 6.0 for Windows all had a missing W throughout the
fonts. (Maybe Adobe was predicting the recent pranks at the post-Clinton
White House? <g>) Embedding the _entire font_ sometimes solves that problem,
but the only really reliable solution in PDF is to (a) embed the entire font
with no subsetting and (b) use only Type 1 Postscript fonts.

The "hosed tracking" sounds like a font corruption problem to me, since the
character spacing ("kerning tables") is defined by the PFM ("printer font
metrics") files for the font; you can find these guys hidden away on your C
drive several levels down in the Temp directory (use the Find File feature
from the Start menu to locate them). It's possible that when the fonts for
your new printer were installed, they weren't installed correctly for
whatever reason and either overwrote the previous fonts with corrupted
versions of the new fonts, or damaged the font metrics tables. You could
test this by reinstalling the old fonts (which you know worked) and trying
to print again. Another question: Are you using Adobe Type Manager? I have
vague memories of some problems between ATM and WinNT.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
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