Summary: A dot matrix printer can be productively operated under Windows, given an understanding of the interaction between Windows and the printer.

Details: Documents generated under Windows are page oriented, while a matrix printer is character oriented.

There is an order of hierarchy in printer control when printing from Windows. At the bottom is the printer control panel. Most options set on the printer are over-ridden by the driver properties. The driver properties set the defaults for most options selectable under Windows, and can be over-ridden by the application settings.

Printing Preferences (Windows 2000 Pro)
Document Defaults (Windows NT/2000)
Driver Properties
Printer Control Panel


Setting the Font from the printer control panel is non-effective.

Font Types:

Font Selection:

The printer has not been selected within the application.

Landscape orientation is selected- printer fonts cannot be rotated.

Control Panel | Fonts | TrueType | Show Only TrueType Fonts in Applications is checked (Windows 3.1).

Start | Settings | Control Panel | Fonts | //View | Options | TrueType// or //Tools | Folder Options | TrueType Fonts// | Show Only TrueType Fonts In The Programs On My Computer is checked (Windows 95/98/NT/2000).

The application does not support the selection of Printer fonts. Some applications simply will not support fonts other than TrueType fonts. Some applications use a special printer driver that does not allow font selection. Contact the software vendor for further help.

Font Size:

Print Quality:

Ensure that Printer fonts are actually selected.

The resolution setting has no effect on resident fonts.

Perform the print quality tests on the printer and make any needed adjustments for print quality. On line printers, check and adjust the amplitude.

Font Speed:

Printer Resident Bar Code Fonts:

Bar Code Quality:

Bar Code Speed:

LPI and Line Spacing

Setting the LPI from the printer control panel is non-effective.
Under Windows, line spacing is controlled entirely by the application. Line spacing cannot be controlled from the printer control panel or the driver properties, unless the Generic/Text Only driver is used (with signifigant limitations). If the application does not control line spacing, please contact the software vendor for help.

Windows does not use a line feed or carriage return to move from one line of text to the next (except with the Generic driver). Instead, vertical and horizontal micropositioning commands are used. Within an application, line spacing is usually set in points. There are 72 points in one inch.

All line spacing is controlled by the Windows application.

EXAMPLE: To set line spacing in Microsoft Word for Windows:

- Open a Word document.
- Select Format, then Paragraph.
- Line spacing can be set to single (6 LPI), double (3 LPI), or to an exact spacing set in points.

To calculate exact line spacing, divide the desired LPI into 72. Thus, for 8 LPI, 72 / 8 = 9 points.

Note that changing line spacing does not change the character height.

GENERIC DRIVER: The Generic/Text Only driver has no graphics capability, but presumes that the printer is set to 6 LPI, and has no provision for change. If the LPI is changed from the printer control panel, the printer will print at the selected LPI, but the form length will not match the form size selected in the driver properties. Selecting no page breaks will usually solve this, but on some printers the last line may not print until another job is sent. This is because the line is not printed until a terminator is seen in the datastream- a terminator is usually any vertical position command. Adding a line feed or carriage return at the end of the job will usually resolve this issue.