What’s this PDF ?

[This is not an official Adobe publication. This article may contain errors or omissions, and is subject to change without warning.]

While troubleshooting PDF-related problems, a number of tests come back again and again, and I intend with this article to give a brief overview of basic techniques and considerations on troubleshooting PDF problems.

Note that Reader is the free PDF reading software by Adobe. Acrobat has many more functions including PDF creation, manipulation, analysis, peer-reviewing, tracking, securing…. the list goes on.

Also note that sections referring to browser environments apply to Windows only, as browser plug-ins for Acrobat and Reader are not issued by Adobe for non-Windows operating systems (excpetion: on Mac OS X, browser integration exists only for Safari, but not other browsers)

1) Who’s Driving ?

When in a web browser in Windows, to check what plug-in is rendering the file, you can simply click somewhere in the PDF, and then use the key combo [Ctrl K]

If it is Reader or Acrobat, it will bring up a Reader or Acrobat dialog box.
If it is Acrobat, one of the sets of preferences will be “Convert to PDF”
If you’re in Reader, the PDF conversion preference set will be absent.

Otherwise, anything could happen – within the scope of the PDF reading application. If nothing happens, or a dialog for non-Adobe software appears, then you’re not displaying in Reader or Acrobat.

2) What Are My Rights ?

Through Acrobat, and some other Adobe software, it is possible to restrict how a user uses a PDF: whether they can print, save copies, modify, fill-in forms etc.

To determine this, right-click on a page in the PDF, and select “Document Properties” (available both in Acrobat and Reader)

The Security tab will show you what you are allowed to do with the PDF – whether you can print; add or remove pages, and a few more restrictions.

The Description tab will show you some useful information, of which the “PDF Producer”. Typical Adobe PDF producers are Acrobat, LiveCycle Designer, InDesign, PhotoShop, PDF Maker, PDF Library, Distiller and Adobe Central Output Server Print Agent 5.x.

If your PDF was not created with an Adobe product (in which case, it is not an “Adobe PDF”), and you are having PDF-related problems, then Adobe’s technical support may only be able to provide limited assistance (see http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/328/328140.html ). This also applies when you modify a PDF with a non-Adobe product; this will sometimes leave the PDF producer intact, depending on the software you use.

To test whether an issue occurs with a real Adobe PDF, and you have Acrobat (not Reader) installed, you can try printing the PDF to the “Adobe PDF” printer (available from the “Print…” dialog). This is commonly known as “re-frying” a PDF. This will create a static PDF, whose producer will then be “Adobe Distiller”. You can only do this if you have printing rights on the PDF. Use this new PDF to try to replicate the issue.

3) What Type of Form is my PDF ?

There are two main types of PDF forms that Adobe software produces: forms created directly in Acrobat (not Reader) through the menu item [Forms: Add or Edit Fields]; and those created in LiveCycle Designer (formerly “Adobe Designer”).

The first, created by Acrobat, are known as “AcroForms”. They have static (don’t move) form fields layered on top of static (non-changing) PDF pages.

The other, created by LiveCycle Designer, are called “Dynamic XFA Forms”, or “XFA’s”, whose structure are part encoded in XML, and partly in a native binary format. These have fields that are objects within the rendered PDF, as are nearly all other elements on the pages (with some exceptions, not discussed here). XFA forms can have items that repeat depending on the data entered, have areas of text that change depending on what data is in the form, etc, etc.

This is not to be confused with embedded Flash, which may also be used as a form, and constitutes neither an AcroForm or XFA Form. That would then be a PDF with “embedded content”. You can check this by right-clicking in the form: if you get the contextual menu for FlashPlayer, then you’re in an embedded content PDF.

In Reader, there is no sure-fire way of determining whether you have a dynamic XFA form. Even if the PDF Producer is LiveCycle Designer, you may have a static form that Designer produced.

4) Does My PDF Have a Problem ?

As far as software is concerned, there is only one thing that is certain: either data is badly formatted, or we hope it is well formatted.

There is a functionality in Acrobat (not Reader) that allows you to analyse a PDF, called “Preflight”, available through [menu Advanced: Preflight]

Preflight will analyse the current PDF for any defects, and if you choose, attempt to repair the issues.

A good rule of thumb is: if Preflight says there’s a problem, there’s definitely a problem. If Preflight reports no problems however, there’s no guarantee: it just means Preflight hasn’t been able to detect any problems. If you see a spider, there’s a spider. If you don’t see a spider, maybe there isn’t one – but maybe there’s one behind you.

So if Preflight reports issues with your PDF, and you have problems with that PDF, then it will be considered that the PDF is not compatible with Adobe software. Re-fry the PDF, and try again.

Installing Central on later OS’s

A frequent problem that occurs when installling Adobe Central Output Server is that sometimes a valid serial number is declined at install time. This most frequently happens when installing Central 5.5 on WIndows 2003.

Central 5.5 pre-dates the Windows 2003 operating system, which is not in the installer’s list of accepted OS’s.

To install correctly, you will need to copy the installer to a location on the local drive.

-Inside the installer directory, there is a setup.exe – right-click on this file and select the Compatibility tab

-Select Compatibility Mode for Windows 2000

-Repeat these steps also for the setup.exe in the Software\ directory

This will allow the correct recognition of Windows 20003

You do not need to repeat this for the installed binaries, these will accept the platform without any problems.

What is the maximum number of tabs Reader can have in a browser?

Answer-in-theory: as many as you want

Answer-in-practise: as many as the machine can handle

Full answer:

In Windows, in Firefox, IE7 and IE8, you can opt to view PDFs linked from web pages in your browser. If you start opening a large number of these however, you’ll find that your browser will have a tendancy to complain…

This is due to depletion of desktop heap space. For every tab with a Reader (or Acrobat) plugin, a new Rdr/Acro process is launched, and it uses some heap space resources. So whilst your overall memory (RAM) is not running out, you’ll still find Firefox complaining at you with a dialog saying you have reached the maximum number of documents you can open.

On IE7/IE8 however, you may not see this. IE will merrily open as many PDFs as you tell it to, until it chokes, croaks and crashes. This has been recognized as an IE limitation – Rdr/Acro does not get a chance to display the dialog that prevents you from opening that one-too-many documents.

You can however do the following to prevent the crash (the usual CAVEATS concerning editing the Registry apply):


To correct this problem, increase the size of the desktop heap: Run Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe).
From the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE subtree, go to the following key: \System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\SubSystems
Select the Windows value.
From the Edit menu, choose String.
Increase the SharedSection parameter.

For Windows NT:
SharedSection specifies the system and desktop heaps using the following format:
Add “,256” or “,512” after the yyyy number.

For Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003:
SharedSection uses the following format to specify the system and desktop heaps:
Increase the zzz number to “256” or “512.”

With that you should start seeing the dialog pop up when you open too many PDFs.

Of course, you should also question why you are opening so many PDFs at the same time in the first place. It’s just inherently not safe.

Problems running XmlImport from command line in Nix systems

Sometimes you may want to run xmlimport in a Nix system from the command line. If you try this, xmlimport will probably blurt back at you:

~/adobe/central/bin/xmlimport: can’t find resource file jftools.cat!

Even though xmlimport works fine in standard use of Central

The reason is that in your shell, you probably don’t have the proper environment variables set.

See this public document, that seems to be hidden from the web at the time of writing:

It refers you to the XmlImport.pdf documentation for UNIX, which lists the environment variables that need to be set for use of xmlimport

The above error can be corrected by setting the NLSPATH variable to


And hey presto! now you can use xmlimport from the command line and from your scripts :-)

Cannot deploy LCA on LC ES2

There’s an issue with the string substitution, inside the deployment or compilation code for LC ES2 ; it’s not an obvious one to find either, as the symptoms don’t seem to point to anything at first.

When deploying LCA on LiveCycle ES2, you get an error in the Admin UI

“An error has occurred durring import or deploy. Please see error log for details.”

In the log, there are the following errors

ERROR [org.jboss.ejb.plugins.LogInterceptor] RuntimeException in method: public abstract java.lang.Object com.adobe.idp.dsc.transaction.impl.ejb.adapter.EjbTransactionCMTAdapterLocal.doRequiresNew(com.adobe.idp.dsc.transaction.TransactionDefinition,com.adobe.idp.dsc.transaction.TransactionCallback) throws com.adobe.idp.dsc.DSCException:

As an example, if there is component inside the LCA which is called “My”, the compilation of the LCA will generate a file called “MyService.component” which is located at full-path as below.

During the calculation of the location of the corresponding jar file associated with this component, an incorrect string substitution is used, replacing any occurrence of the explicit string “component” with the new string “compjar”

Component path                "My/1.0/components/MyService.component"
Calculated path               "My/1.0/compjars/MyService.compjar"

The solution then would be, in Workbench ES2, to rename any part of the path to something other than the string “component”. The result would then be, for example:

Component path                "My/1.0/parts/MyService.component"
Calculated path               "My/1.0/parts/MyService.compjar"

Checking the validity of your JMD

One of the things I need to do on a regular basis is check the JMD of an installation, when things don’t seem to be running as they should. More often than not, someone edited the JMD by hand, missed a quote mark – causing havoc with the table alignments.

At other times I just want to be able to read the JMD so that I know what steps are being taken, without having to load/reload various JMDs. And trust me, reading a raw JMD is not fun…

So I came up with the following python script. I’ll be putting it on my personal website at some point, so you can use it there too. In the mean time, have a go at this, if you have a Python CGI server… TableJMD 0.2a

The following highlighting is a backup taken from the corresponging pygments.org post – in case it gets deleted from pygments.org one day…

#! /Program Files/Python25/python

import re,sys,cgi

helpnote = """Table JMD 1.1
(C) 2009 Tai Kedzierski

This tool reads a JMD and writes HTML to STDOUT representing the JMD in a table, as it would be parsed by Central's JfServer.
It also highlights substitution variables not surrounded by double quote marks.

This can either be used from the command line, or as a CGI script on a web site.

From the command line, type:

python tablejmd.py PATH

where PATH is the path to the JMD file

class JMDInvalidLine(Exception):

	def __init__(self,message):
		Exception.__init__(self,message)# = "The line was invalid"

# don't fail silently!
sys.stderr = sys.stdout

def readjmdfile(filename):

	readjmd( open(filename,'rU') )

def readjmd(fileh):

	jmdline = '.'
	job_t = dict()
	task_t = dict()

	print_t = dict()
	memory_t = dict()
	while jmdline:

		line = fileh.readline()
		if line == '': # EOF

		if re.match(r'(^#)|(^\s*$)',line): # comment or empty line

		jmdline = jmdsplit(line)
		if jmdline == None:

			print "<p>Error parsing line: %s</p>" % (line,)

		if jmdline[0] == '!f':
			if job_t.has_key(jmdline[1] ):

				job_t[jmdline[1] ].append(jmdline)

				job_t[jmdline[1] ] = [jmdline]
		elif jmdline[0] == '!x':

			if task_t.has_key(jmdline[1] ):
				task_t[jmdline[1] ].append(jmdline)

				task_t[jmdline[1] ] = [jmdline]

		elif jmdline[0] == '!p':
			if print_t.has_key(jmdline[1] ):

				print_t[jmdline[1] ].append(jmdline)

				print_t[jmdline[1] ] = [jmdline]
		elif jmdline[0] == '!m':

			if memory_t.has_key(jmdline[1] ):
				memory_t[jmdline[1] ].append(jmdline)

				memory_t[jmdline[1] ] = [jmdline]

	print "<h2>Job table ["+str(len(job_t))+" entries]</h2>"

	print "<table><tbody>"
	print r'<th>Job name</th> <th>Printer name</th> <th>Form file</th> <th>Preamble file</th> <th>Macro number</th> <th>Load flag</th> <th>Task id</th> <th>Input file</th> <th>Output file</th> <th>On error</th> <th>Comments</th>'

	print "</tbody></table>"
	print "<h2>Task table ["+str(len(task_t))+" entries]</h2>"

	print '<p><font color="blue">Blue</font>: not surrounded by doubled double-quotes<br /><font color="red">Red</font>: substitution name does not end with "."</p>'

	print "<table><tbody>"
	print r'<th>Task id</th> <th>[This column reserved]</th> <th>Program name</th> <th>Program options</th> <th>Comments</th>'

	print "</tbody></table>"
	print "<h2>Printer table ["+str(len(print_t))+" entries]</h2>"

	print "<table><tbody>"
	print r'<th>Printer name</th> <th>Printer id</th> <th>Physical device</th> <th>Print agent options</th> <th>Priority</th> <th>Comments</th>'

	print "</tbody></table>"
	print "<h2>Managed Memory table ["+str(len(memory_t))+" entries]</h2>"

	print "<table><tbody>"
	print r'<th>Printer id</th> <th>Managed Memory [bytes]</th> <th>Comments</th>'

	print "</tbody></table>"

def dumptablelines(table_t):

	keyset = table_t.keys()
	for entryset in keyset:

		for entry in range(len(table_t[entryset])):
			print "<tr>"

			for col in range(1,len(table_t[entryset][entry]) ):

				print "<td>",table_t[entryset][entry][col],"</td>",
			print "</tr>"

def jmdsplit(line):
	'''INPUT: a line of text from the JMD
OUTPUT: the line, tokenized into a list
	if line[0] != '!':# any meaningful line must start with '!'

		return None
	oline = line
	if not line[1] in [

		'f', # job
		'x', # task
		'p', # printer

		'm']: # shared memory
		raise JMDInvalidLine(line)
	jmdline = []

		while line:
			token, line = readfirsttoken(line)

			token = atprocess(token) # identify substitution variables and possible errors

	except JMDInvalidLine,msg:
		print msg,':',oline

	return jmdline

def atprocess(token):
	pat = re.compile(r'((?<!"")[a-zA-Z-]*@[a-zA-Z]+\.?|@[a-zA-Z]+\.(?!""))')

	# NO r'((?<!"")[a-zA-Z-]*@[a-zA-Z]+\.?|@[a-zA-Z]+\.?(?!""))'
	# OK r'((?<!"")[a-zA-Z-]*@[a-zA-Z]+\.?|@[a-zA-Z]+\.(?!""))'
	pat2 = re.compile(r'(@[a-zA-Z]+)(?=[^\.a-zA-Z#])')

	if not type(token) == str:
		print type(token)

	token = pat.sub(r'<font color="blue">\1</font>',token)

	token = pat2.sub(r'<font color="red">\1</font>',token)

	return token

def readfirsttoken(line):
	line = re.match(r"\s*(.*)",line).group(1) # remove leading whitespace

	if line == '':
		return ('','')
	pos = 0

	text = ''
	inquote = False
	inarg = True

	while inarg and pos < len(line):
		if line[pos] == ' ' and not inquote:

			inarg = False
		elif line[pos] == '"' and not inquote:

			inquote = True
			text += line[pos]

		elif line[pos] == '"' and inquote:
			if len(line) == pos+1:

				inarg = False
				inquote = False
			elif line[pos+1] == '"':

				text += '"'
				pos += 1

				inquote = False
				inarg = False
			text += line[pos]

			text += line[pos]
		pos += 1

	if inquote:
		raise JMDInvalidLine("Unclosed quote")
	return (text,line[len(text):])

# RUNTIME ================================================

def printJMD(thefile):
	print """<html><head><style type="text/css">

body {font-size:9pt}
td, th {
	border-left:2px solid #000000;
	padding: 3px;
	margin: 2px;


th {
	background-color: #ccffcc;
<title>Table JMD - Done</title>

<h1>Table JMD</h1>"""
	print "<!-- ",helpnote," -->"

	print "</body></html>"

def printform():
	print """<html>

<head><title>Table JMD</title></head>
<h1>Table JMD</h1>

<form action="tablejmd.py" method="POST" name="logprint" enctype="multipart/form-data">

<p>Check your JMD Tables.</p>
File: <input type="file" name="jmdfile" /><br />
<input type="submit" />



#print "Content-Type: text/plain"

fs = cgi.FieldStorage()

if fs.has_key('jmdfile'):
	print "Content-Type: text/html"

	#print '<p><b>Displaying JMD table for '+fs['jmdfile'].filename+'</b></p>'

elif len(sys.argv) > 2 and sys.argv[1] == '-f':

elif len(sys.argv) > 1:

	if re.match(r'-h|/h|--help|/\?|-\?',sys.argv[1]):

		print helpnote
	print "Content-Type: text/html"

How to create an Acrobat 9.x.n Admin Install Point (AIP) – integrate MSP patches to a MSI installer

NOTA: this article is not an Adobe publication, and carries no guarantees of accuracy. This article may be subject to change at any time.

The technique described here can be applied to patch all the way to 9.4.x and beyond. It can also be applied to other MSI+MSP’s in general :-)

Normally to get your Acrobat to version 9.2, you must first install v9.0, then install 9.1.0, then proceed to 9.1.2, before applying 9.2 – applying each manually, instalelr after installer. If you are administering multiple computers, you may wish to create a standalone installer, that includes all the patches up to 9.2 for example.

Here’s how to do just that, refined from a procedure sent to me by a colleague, Steve. All together now: “Thank you Steve!!” :-)

To determine exactly which patch files you need (and which you should not install as part of the AIP chain) please refer to http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/498/cpsid_49880.html

The patch files can be downloaded from http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/product.jsp?platform=windows&product=1

  1. Copy the media Setup files to a location (i.e. C:\Acrobat9\) on your hard drive.
  2. Create a folder to a location on your hard drive (i.e. C:\A920aip\). This will be the AIP folder.
  3. Open the command prompt.
  4. Navigate to the media Setup files that you copied to your hard drive.
    $> cd C:\Acrobat9\
  5. Run the setup.exe to confirm the installer files are volume, by checking if there’s an option to install as trial.
    • If install as trial has been greyed out, then the files are volume and you can go ahead with the next steps.
    • If the trial option is available, first check that the full qualified path of the location to the installer files does not contain any Unicode characters (Cyrillic, Greek, etc).
    • If it doesn’t then it is necessary to obtain the correct installer files before continuing with the next steps
  6. Once the above preparation is done, you can either perform the full-interactive steps as follows, or run the silent method as described further down.

  7. Run administrative installation from the command prompt.
    $> msiexec.exe /a AcroPro.msi
  8. When prompted point it to the AIP folder (i.e. C:\A920aip\).
  9. Place the following Acrobat MSP update files into the AIP folder:
    { AcroProStdUpd910_T1_T2_incr.msp ,
    AcrobatUpd912_all_incr.msp ,
    AcrobatUpd920_all_incr.msp }
  10. At the command prompt, navigate to the newly created folder that has the AIP files.
    $> cd C:\A920aip\
  11. At the command prompt run the Acrobat 9.1 Update, specifying the fully qualified path to the MSP file
    $> msiexec.exe /a AcroPro.msi /p C:\A920aip\AcroProStdUpd910_T1_T2_incr.msp
  12. When prompted by the Acrobat installer, point the patch installation to the folder that you are running the installation from (i.e. C:\A920aip\ , the AIP folder). Let the installer run, and terminate.
  13. At the command prompt run the Acrobat 9.1.2 Update, specifying the fully qualified path to the MSP file
    $> msiexec.exe /a AcroPro.msi /p C:\A920aip\AcrobatUpd912_all_incr.msp
  14. When prompted by the Acrobat installer, point the patch installation to the AIP folder. Let the installer run, and terminate.
  15. At the command prompt run the Acrobat 9.2 Update, specifying the fully qualified path to the MSP file
    $> msiexec.exe /a AcroPro.msi /p C:\A920aip\AcrobatUpd920_all_incr.msp
  16. When prompted by the Acrobat installer, point the patch installation to the AIP folder. Let the installer run, and terminate.
  17. You should now have a complete Acrobat 9.2 MSI and administrative install point set of files

The following script is the silent equivalent of the steps above. Write it to a BAT file and run it.

cd C:\Acrobat9
mkdir C:\A920aip
msiexec.exe /a AcroPro.msi TARGETDIR=C:\A920aip /passive

cd \A920aip
msiexec.exe /a AcroPro.msi /p C:\A920aip\AcroProStdUpd910_T1_T2_incr.msp TARGETDIR=C:\A920aip /passive
msiexec.exe /a AcroPro.msi /p C:\A920aip\AcrobatUpd912_all_incr.msp TARGETDIR=C:\A920aip /passive
msiexec.exe /a AcroPro.msi /p C:\A920aip\AcrobatUpd920_all_incr.msp TARGETDIR=C:\A920aip /passive

Creating a Soft Font Cartridge in Output Designer 5.x (“certain characters do not print correctly/at all”)

NOTA: this article is not an Adobe publication, and carries no guarantees of accuracy. This article may be subject to change at any time.

The print agent needs to firstly know the page codes necessary for interpreting the bytes representing the characters you want to print. This can sometimes be dependant on the print agent, sometimes it depends on the system.

NOTE: The Print Agent manual 5.6 specifies: The use of Thai, Hebrew, and Arabic with Output Designer and Central is neither certified nor supported by Adobe.

Additionally, some characters from Baltic languages cannot be accessed because the glyphs are not supported by Central. Check that the correct symbol sets are in use, that the appropriate fonts are installed on the machine, and that the locale/encoding scheme is supported by the machine.

If you cannot provide UTF-8 data (the encoding jfmerge expects by default), you need to specify the encoding. For example WinLatin-1 is short-handed to “5”. To do this, use either:

  • -ass processing option, e.g. -ass5
  • ^symbolset dynamic command in the DAT data, e.g. ^symbolset 5

Remember that ^symbolset can be called anywhere in the data, even in the preamble. If you are having issues with data that exists in the preamble, try insterting ^symbolset 108 at the top of the custom preable. If you’re having problems with characters from your data, check whether it contains erroneous ^symbolset comands.

If you are mixing several files with different symbol sets (for example, using the ^file command), use the -autf8on option.

This is generally sufficient for printing in Germanic, Nordic and Latin-based languages. Greek and Cyrillic require special fonts to be loaded, as do certain extended characters, and so a soft font cartridge may be required.

Check your fields

First thing to check is that the field that is to display special characters has been set up correctly. If you tell the field that you will give it Latin-based symbols (W1 encoding, such as “a”, or “ê”), but then pass it something else (such as Greek or Cyrillic text), you won’t get the results expected at all…!

  1. Double-click the text field
  2. Click the Font button in the top right
  3. Ensure you have selected the correct font and symbol set
  4. Click OK, and OK again

So far so good. But you may not have the appropriate font, or your font was perhaps not available in the correct symbol set. That’s when you need to create a Soft Font Cartridge

Creating a soft font cartridge

  1. Open Output Designer 5.x
  2. Go to menu File > Presentment targets…
  3. Select the Presentment target to add fonts to
  4. Click the button Font Setup…
  5. The Font Cartridges tab shows what soft font cartridges are available.
    The highlighted ones are the ones that are effectively available for use.

  6. Select TrueType or Type 1 Fonts tab as appropriate
  7. Check that the font directory selected is correct so as to populate the list of fonts
  8. Check that the appropriate symbol set has been selected (list to the right) – W1 is for standard Latin and derivatives, CYR is for Cyrillic, etc
  9. Check that the appropriate Font Storage is selected (ref Designer Help topics accessible from menu Help > section Permanent soft fonts/Download options)
  10. Select all instances of the font you wish to use.
  11. For example, if adding Verdana, it is likely the required files will be verdana.ttf, verdanab.ttf, verdanai.ttf for regular, bold and italic Verdana, respectively.
    You can also include other fonts in the cartridge to identify sets of fonts.

  12. Give this soft font cartridge a name – it will be displayed in the Font Cartridges tab
  13. Click Create soft font
  14. Go to the Font Cartridge tab and select your new soft font cartridge
  15. Click OK

Important: you will need to add the soft font cartridge to every presentment target you intend to use with your design template.

Incorporate the cartridge in MDF for use with Central Output Server

  1. Go to menu File > Compile…
  2. Select the option “Embed soft fonts in template”
  3. Click OK

Force font data to be sent to the printer

  1. Add the -ajutfno option to your processing options
    • if using Test presentment… then this must be done under Menu Tools > Options… : Test presentment : Print options
    • if using Central this can be done via Control Center, or in the ^job line of the data files
  2. Launch process for printing files.

Enabling UTF-8 on Linux/UNIX/*NIX systems

Some systems don’t support certain encodings out of the box.

Check that the locale is installed on the unit by running:

$>	locale -a

This will list all locales. The locale name is case-sensitive. If the locale is not present, it must be installed by the system administrator.
Once the locale is installed: to make a system-wide change of the LANG variable so that daemons etc may see the change, use:

$>	chlang EN_US.UTF-8

The change takes effect at the next session login (so for system services this generally means that the machine needs reboot)

If that command is not available, manually set the $LANG environment variable to EN_US.UTF-8

Problems with Greek characters Delta and Omega

Greek characters delta and omega sometimes do not appear at all in the page. To work around this issue:

  1. Open jetkeys.ini from <Install path>\Adobe\Output Designer\Config
  2. Go to the section headed by the comment “; MS Code Page 1253 (Greek) to Unicode UCS-2 and vice versa
  3. Under the subsection labelled [Translate 63 to 102], add the following:
  4. 0xC4=0x2206
  5. Under the subsection labelled [Translate 102 to 63], add the following:
  6. 0x2206=0xC4
  7. Save jetkeys.ini and re-process your document.

Adding a new Presentment Target to Output Designer 5.x (“adding a new printer driver in Central”)

NOTA: this article is not an Adobe publication, and carries no guarantees of accuracy. This article may be subject to change at any time.

Sometimes people incorrectly talk about “printer drivers” when referring to Presentment Targets. Presentment targets are customization profiles that the Print Agent uses to tailor the printer language that is written out from the Print Agent (jfmerge.exe). Unless you have specified the use of Generic Windows Drivers, it is the Print Agent that produces the printing language, without involving the Windows driver (installed to Windows, not Central) installed on the local machine.

PostScript and PCL5 are the two currently most wide spread languages in use on printers at the time of writing. Central also supports ZPL (for Zebra printers), IPL (for Intermec printers) and PCL6 (which works best with Hewlett Packard printers). It can also produce flat PDF 1.4 output.

If your printer does not appear in the list of presentment targets, but does accept one of the supported languages, then you should be able to create a new profile for your printer. The fact that there is a certain list of printers provided out of the box is more to say that these printers are tested, and they are expected to render correctly. If you create a custom profile for a different printer, there is no actual guarantee that it will work.

You can create a new presentment target for your printer. Please note that:

  • fax printers are an exception – only the presentment targets provided out-of-the-box are expected to work with faxing capabilities. There is no sure way to add a different target in this case
  • there is no guarantee to support custom Presentment targets. Custom targets are the creator’s responsibility
  • when using multiple presentment targets for a form design, you must design for the most restrictive layout (the one with the largest margins)

How to add a Presentment target to your list in Output Designer / Editing a Presentment Target

To create a custom target, first find a target that works when used with your printer. This will depend on whether the printer is meant to understand PCL5, PCL6, PostScript, ZPL, IPL

We will assume for the purpose of this article that you have a (theoretical) printer from manufacturer “PrintBrand” and of model “100”. Its short name shall be designated as “PB100”

We further assume that using the HP LaserJet 5 Presentment target produces correct output on the PB100.

The short name of the HP LaserJet 5 presentment target is “hplj5”. The short name can be seen in Output Designer can be seen at the end of a presentment target’s name in the list of presentment targets, accessed from menu File > Presentment targets.

To create a new presentment target “PB100” based on a pre-existing “HPLJ5”

  1. Open <Program Files location>\Adobe\Output Designer [version]\Config
  2. Locate the hplj5.ics file
  3. Create a copy of hplj5.ics and rename it to pb100.ics – this file name will determine its ID in Designer, and for the -asp processing option
  4. Open pb100.ics in a text editor (e.g. NotePad)
  5. Edit PrinterName and and PrinterDesc as follows:
    PrinterName PB100 ; this is a comment to say it's a PrintBrand 100
    ; comments start with ";" and end with the line
    PrinterDesc My PrintBrand 100 printer
    • PrinterName identifies the printer short name – this should be kept the same as the file name
    • PrinterDesc provides the description seen in the presentment targets list.
  6. Customize any further items you need
    Most items are self-documented in the ICS files.
    You can customize and add page sizes, line heights, etc.
  7. Save the ICS file
  8. In Output Designer, open menu File > Presentment targets…
  9. Select the PrintBrand 100 printer that you have just defined, by ticking the checkbox on its left.
  10. Click the button Font Setup…
  11. Click “OK” to come directly back to the presentment targets. This will re-compile your ICS file for inclusion in future presentment targets. This will not affect MDF files created previously – thise will have to be recompiled to benefit from your changes
  12. Click “OK” to close the Presentment targets window
  13. Use “Test presentment”, or re-compile your form for the changed ICS to take effect.
  14. If afterwards you wish to modify the ICS, or edit an ICS that already exists, repeat steps 4-13

You may have an issue wherein page elements in the output are displaced/moved/in the wrong location when printing to one output device, but appear correctly on another output device, or PDF.

This is because the PDF target has margins of size 0 – this means that a page element is allowed to be printed to any part of a page, even the edge. Some printers impose hard margins on their pages, and page elements cannot appear there, and this is catered for at design time by checking that the form has been designed with the most restrictive margins in mind.

You can change the margin space that JfMerge will take into account in the Presentment Target file.

To see the margins in the design layout, use menu File > Presentment targets and setting the default presentment target. The result is that in the form design, a darker area around the edges of the page will appear, indicating that the current default target has margins set, and no design element should appear there.