When you print a record or a report to a printer, it
is not Cardbox that is doing the printing. All
that Cardbox does is send commands to Windows, which
then passes them on to a printer driver, which
knows all about your particular printer and translates
the standard Windows drawing commands into a format
that the printer can understand.
Printer drivers are complex pieces of software, and
they are the source of many problems, because they are
usually written in a hurry at the last moment and are
inadequately tested. Here are a few of the printer
driver problems that have come up in the past:
- The last character on a line is missing.
- Grid lines are missing when you print a format.
- The printout is covered in solid black boxes.
- Nonsensical characters appear.
- The program crashes when printing, and Windows reports
the error as occurring in a file like
It is quite possible for bugs and crashes to be very
specific. They may result from your using a particular
layout, so that some formats cause the problem while
others do not; or some fonts may cause the problem while
others do not. This is what makes printer driver
bugs so hard to trace.
There are three solutions:
can read about some of these problems in the online
Help for Cardbox: enter Help, Common Problems
and look at the last few entries in the "Bugs"
Get an updated printer driver
The first, and best, solution to a printer driver bug
is to get a newer and better printer driver. If
one exists, you can get it from the supplier of the
printer driver - normally either Microsoft or the
You can see information about downloading new drivers
from Microsoft by looking up "Drivers, downloading"
in the Windows help.
your current version
the Windows Start menu, select "Programs,
Accessories, System Tools, System Information".
Open the section marked "Components",
and select "Printers". You will
see a series of lines such as
LaserJet 4M Plus = HPPCL5MS, 126.96.36.1998, 11/05/98
20:01, 526032 bytes, LPT1:
this information because it will help your supplier
to know if you have the latest version of the
Use a different driver
If you can't get an updated driver, or it will take
a long time to get one, then you can often relieve your
problem by installing a different printer driver.
This will not change the way that your existing programs
work. The steps are:
- Think of a compatible printer
- Install the driver for that printer
- Print to that printer
Think of a compatible printer
Printer manufacturers do not change their printers
radically from one release to the next. If you
print to a Hewlett-Packard Laserjet 5 as if it were
a Laserjet 4, everything should print correctly.
So what you need to do is find an older printer from
the same manufacturer that will be compatible with the
one you actually have. The manufacturer's technical
support line will be able to help with this.
Install the driver for that printer
(The step-by-step instructions here are for Windows 98:
the exact steps may be slightly different for other
versions of Windows)
- Open "My Computer".
- Within "My Computer", double-click on
- Before you go any further, you need to know what
port your printer is connected to. The
commonest port is LPT1, but it is best to check.
If you have used System Information, the port name
is the last item on the line. If you haven't
already used System Information:
Within "Printers", double-click on "Add
Printer" and follow the instructions.
- In "Printers", right-click on the icon
for your printer.
- A menu will pop up. Select "Properties",
and then pick the "Details" tab.
- You will see a caption saying "Print to
the following port:". Note what port
it says (usually LPT1).
- Press Cancel to close the window.
- When it asks you what port the printer is to be
connected to, answer with the port that your existing
printer is connected to.
- When it asks you whether to make this your default
printer, say No.
When you have successfully installed the new printer
software, you will see a new icon in the "Printers"
folder. You can now close that folder.
Print to that printer
You have now created a new printer, but because you
have not made it the default printer, all your applications
will continue to print to the old one. So to try
printing to the new printer from Cardbox:
- Within Cardbox, get ready to print in the usual
way, but instead of pressing OK in the Print dialog
box, press Setup.
- You will see an entry named "Printer".
- Open the list next to that entry, and select the
name of the newly installed printer software (for
example, "Laserjet 4").
- Press OK and print in the usual way.
Change your format
This is very much a last resort, since of course the
whole purpose of the Cardbox-Windows-driver combination
is to be able to print anything at all, no matter what
the format is like. But an ideal is one thing
and practice is another, and if you have a report that
you simply must print, there is no point in wasting
time on what might have happened if the printer driver
In general, printer drivers behave better on simpler
tasks. If you have designed a format on the screen,
it may well have background shading that you don't really
need, and removing it may make life simpler for the
printer driver. There is no guarantee (after all,
a failing printer driver is by its nature unpredictable)
but it can be worth trying.
- In Cardbox, select "Printer Setup".
- Open the "Appearance" tab.
- Go through each of the possible text types, and
set the background to white for all of them.
- Press OK to save the result.
- The on-screen appearance will not be affected, but
your file should now print on a white background.