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RISC OS 3 User Guide


RISC OS 3.7 User Guide

11 - PrintEdit

This chapter provides an introduction to PrintEdit, an application which enables experienced users to edit existing printer definition files and experts to create them from scratch. It's unlikely that you'll need the information in this chapter, but it's provided for reference.

Printer definition files are used by the printer manager application !Printers. They define how the operating system translates the characters in the document into signals that can be used by the printer to print the document.

Creating new printer definition files

Creating printer definition files is technically very complex and requires a deep understanding of how printers work. This chapter gives you only a very brief introduction and you should not expect to be able to design your own printer definition files using the information provided here alone. The chapter Printer definition files in the RISC OS 3 Programmer's Reference Manual contains the detailed information you will need for creating printer definition files.

Modifying existing printer definition files

Occasionally, step-by-step instructions might be issued, for example, by Acorn or another printer supplier that tell you how to modify an existing printer definition file to change its use slightly.

The instructions list the exact operations you need to perform in each PrintEdit window. You will not need a full understanding of the features of PrintEdit.

This chapter gives you an overview of the functions of PrintEdit. This chapter should give you enough information to enable you to use PrintEdit to alter one of the existing printer definition files.

Before you can use PrintEdit you should

Most people use PrintEdit to alter one of the existing printer definition file configurations, rather than make up a completely new one. So we shall use the printer definition file for the Epson FX85 as an example.

Starting the application

To start the application:

  1. Double-click on the Printing directory icon to open the directory.
  2. Double-click on the !PrintEdit icon. The application icon will appear on the icon bar.
To load an existing printer definition file:
  1. With the Printing directory display open, double-click on the Printers directory
  2. Open the printer directory that corresponds to the printer you wish to modify.
  3. Select the printer definition file you require and drag it over the PrintEdit icon on the icon bar.
Note: You can also load non-PostScript printer definition files by double-clicking on them.

The PrintEdit window

The appearance of the PrintEdit window when the Epson FX85 definition file is loaded is shown below:

The differing text mode titles (Edit portrait mode and Edit landscape mode rather than 'Edit no highlights', 'Edit draft highlights' and 'Edit NLQ highlights') are set up by PrintEdit when the Printer class is lj. The information is still stored in exactly the same way as for Epson and IBM-compatibles.

For the rest of this chapter you should have your printer manual ready so that you can look up the information required by PrintEdit. It may also help to have the Help application active, as this will give you quick summaries about the function of each field in the dialogue boxes.

Graphics mode

Display the Graphics modes dialogue box by clicking on the right arrow by the Graphics modes entry. Choose an existing resolution to edit or New resolution if you want to start afresh. In most cases it is probably easier to edit an existing file and tailor it to your needs. Here is the Graphics mode window for the Epson at a resolution of 240x216dpi.


Dump information

The first part of the window gives the Dump information - the information the printer uses to print correctly.

The Dump quality boxes should normally all be ticked, as the software supports these features on all printers. However, don't tick the colour options unless you have a colour printer.

Additional Dump information for Printer Class lj

Copies should be selected if the printer supports this option.

Compression should be selected if the printer supports this option.

The Output order choices do not apply for this class of printer.

Dump strings

The second part of the window gives the Dump strings (use the scroll bar to see this).

These are codes sent to the printer that tell it to perform certain actions.

Text modes

Almost all printers can use the first two text modes and many also support an NLQ (Near Letter Quality) mode.

Choose which text modes your printer will use by clicking on the cross or tick next to each Text mode button. Changing to a tick allows you to select that mode.

Display the text mode window by clicking on the appropriate text mode button. Here are the Text draft highlights settings for the Epson FX85.

Edit no highlights

The no highlights mode is a very simple mode without any special effects, so most of this window is blank.

Edit draft highlights

The draft highlights mode uses the same basic definitions as the no highlights mode, but expands this to include pica, elite, condensed, expanded, bold, italics, light, superscript, subscript and underline printing.

Edit NLQ highlights

The NLQ highlights mode uses the same basic definitions as the draft highlights mode, but alters these to enable the printer's NLQ operation.

Edit character mappings

Edit character mappings allows a character from the Acorn ISO8859 character set to be converted to the same character in the printer's character set. Although all the standard characters normally map directly onto the corresponding printer characters, the top-bit-set characters normally need mapping from Acorn's character set to the printer's character set.

Mapping is done from the Edit character mappings window. Here is part of the Epson FX85's character mappings.

The number down the left column represents the Acorn character in decimal; next to it is the Acorn character itself. To the right of the arrow are the commands sent to the printer that reproduce the same character.

Modifying an existing mapping

To alter an existing mapping:

  1. Press Menu over the character to display the Mappings menu.
  2. Choose Mappings/Modify to display the Modify mapping dialogue box.
  3. If you want to modify the printer commands, type the printer commands that produce the character in the Maps to box.
  4. Press Return to modify the mapping list.

Entering a new character mapping

To enter a mapping:

  1. Press Menu to display the Mappings menu.
  2. Go to the New mapping dialogue box and type in the Acorn character to map in the Character box. You can type in the Acorn character directly from the keyboard, by using the Chars application or by using its decimal character code.
  3. Type the printer commands that produce the same character in the Maps to box.
  4. Press Return to add the mapping to the list.

Saving and quitting

When you have finished making changes to your the printer definition file, save the modified file by clicking Menu over the main Printer definition editor window and choosing Save.


If you want to discard any changes you have made and start again click on Restart.

To finish using the application, chose Quit from the icon bar.

RISC OS 3.7 User Guide - 21 JAN 1997

This edition Copyright © 3QD Developments Ltd 2015
Last Edit: Tue,03 Nov 2015