14 Replies Latest reply on Oct 29, 2015 4:08 PM by John Siegel

    Printing pages with a "Blank" attribute?

    Kurt Albrecht Tracker

      We have noticed a few of our patrons printing pages with the curious attribute of "Blank".  The pages are indeed blank and the patrons are charged the appropriate amount for a printed page, but the patrons are apparently not expecting blank pages and so are perplexed as to why they have been charged for such un-fulfilling and un-useful stuff.  We are also perplexed because we have no idea how to generate "Blank" files unwittingly, and we do not know how this gets past the "Job Attributes" since "Blank" is not listed in any job attribute list and if it were we would not check it.

       

      Has anyone else seen this?

       

      We are currently running Uniprint 9 R2, but this also happened occasionally before R2.  We did not see this with UP 8.x

        • Re: Printing pages with a "Blank" attribute?
          Steven English Guide

          Kurt Albrecht,

           

          Someone from Pharos could probably better speak to the possible sources of a document that is completely blank, but a scenario where blank pages would be expected is a book report that has a blank page between chapters - without the text "This page intentionally left blank" of course. :-)  Theft of paper has been an issue at some sites and the default of charging for blank pages serves them well.  At the far end of the spectrum, one client told me that students had even gone so far as to print blank pages through the printer in order to get paper (ahhhhhh... warm, curled, paper).  This can easily be disabled via registry key on each print server that you want to not charge for blank pages.  See the table below from the Pharos Help.

           

          NAMETYPEMEANINGDEFAULT

          No Blank Pages

          REG_DWORD

          If this value is set to 1, the page counter will not include blank pages in the page
          count for a document. If this value is set to 2, the page counter ignores blank pages at the end of
          the document.

          0

           

          32-bit Reg Path = HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Pharos\Page Counter

          64-bit Reg Path = HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Pharos\Page Counter

           

          Regards,

          Steven

            • Re: Printing pages with a "Blank" attribute?
              Kurt Albrecht Tracker

              This does not answer by basic question of how those files got to be "Blank", but we will use this to keep our students from getting charged for warm, curled paper.

               

              I think that between Steven English and John Siegel there is a correct answer here.

               

              Kurt

                • Re: Printing pages with a "Blank" attribute?
                  John Siegel Guide

                  Hi Kurt,

                   

                              They are blank because the system sees them as blank for the variety of reasons we've covered, much in the same way that you get "zero length job" errors but no explanation from the system as to why the system reads them as zero length. You can make a registry change to ignore them, much as you can for zero length errors, but I don't believe there is a way to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

                   

                              Not to get off on a tangent, but this is why having "meaningful" error responses for customers is so challenging. Realistically the errors are design to give technical staff a clue as to why a problem exists, and they fail miserably at that!    

                   

                  Regards,

                   

                                John

              • Re: Printing pages with a "Blank" attribute?
                Steve Lasich Adventurer

                We're still on Uniprint 8.4.  After reading this, I located one job in our Queued Jobs with a Blank attribute.

                The user had submitted two jobs with the same title.  Both jobs had all the same attributes except one also had Blank.

                I figured there was no harm in printing the blank one, so I did.

                It page counted as one page for 5 cents and printed out a blank page.

                I followed Steven English's advice and changed the No Blank Pages key value to 1, which will produce less user frustration.

                I'd also be interested to hear any theories about what the user might have done to attach the blank attribute and how it could be avoided.

                  • Re: Printing pages with a "Blank" attribute?
                    Steven English Guide

                    Steve Lasich,

                     

                    If printing from Word, it could have been as simple as line breaks that result in a blank page at the end.  The job attributes displayed in Pharos Remote and Administrator are for each section of the job.  If the last section was the one with the blank attribute, that would suggest that the final page of the document was blank.

                     

                    Regards,

                    Steven

                      • Re: Printing pages with a "Blank" attribute?
                        Steve Lasich Adventurer

                        Here's the reason this caught my interest. A few weeks ago a student was printing PDFs of course notes scanned by his professor.

                        Some of the pages of some of the PDFs printed blank even though there were NO blank pages in any of the PDFs.  He was in a hurry so I couldn't copy the documents for analysis.

                        If we scrolled to any of the pages which printed out blank and chose, "Print Current Page", then the page printed correctly.

                        I chalked it up to being Adobe problem, but now I'm wondering who adds the Blank attribute to the spool file, Windows or Pharos.

                          • Re: Printing pages with a "Blank" attribute?
                            Jeff Geller Guide

                            Hi Steve,

                             

                            Pharos has no part to play in the creation of the print file (spool file).  This is done by the Windows Print Spooler (or CUPS on a Mac) on the machine with hands in the pot from the driver and the application.  Of course the content of the file also comes into play in terms of how a print device actually outputs something to paper.

                             

                            In the past IE (Internet Explorer) used to be a big offender in adding the "Blank" page attribute and a trailing blank page to things that were printed through it.

                             

                            Regards,

                            Pharos Support

                            Jeff Geller

                              • Re: Printing pages with a "Blank" attribute?
                                Steve Lasich Adventurer

                                Pharos has no part to play in the creation of the print file (spool file).  This is done by the Windows Print Spooler (or CUPS on a Mac) on the machine with hands in the pot from the driver and the application.  Of course the content of the file also comes into play in terms of how a print device actually outputs something to paper.

                                Can any of these attributes be modified on the server without mucking up the print-out?  I'm looking at a job with these properties: PCL,612x1008,Legal,Mono,Simplex. Could a script change "Simplex" to "Duplex" and cause the spool file to print on both sides?  Or would codes for Simplex inside the spool file control the output?

                                 

                                While I'm dreaming, what about the "612x1008,Legal" properties?  Is there a way to translate that to "612x792,Letter" and have the job correctly formatted on letter size without resubmitting?

                                 

                                We often get PDFs submitted with oddball paper sizes which causes lines at our release stations because the printers stop and ask for paper in non-existent sizes.  What I'd really like to do is cause these PDFs to print on the printer's default paper size without user intervention, i.e., so the printer doesn't prompt for special paper in the bypass tray.

                                How do other sites deal with the problem of unavailable paper sizes in the queues?

                                  • Re: Printing pages with a "Blank" attribute?
                                    Steven English Guide

                                    Steve Lasich,

                                     

                                    Wake up, Steve!  You're dreaming!!!  Hahaha... Seriously though, Pharos does not change the content of the spool file (just attaches the popup info to it when applicable), and as such, the scripts do not allow for manipulation of a spool file after it has been rendered.  The attributes that Pharos provides are based off of an analysis by the page counter, and the attributes of each section (if more than one) are displayed in Pharos Administrator.  You can script rules around what to do with jobs that meet certain criteria, but if you are just looking to prevent the problem from occurring...

                                     

                                    The following thread contains info on how to prevent the issue you just described: Prevent printing to A4 and Legal .  You might also try working with your print manufacturer to find out if there are any settings on your device that would allow you to force/convert between paper sizes at the printer itself (i.e., a ledger size job is sent, but the printer automatically prints it out on letter anyway).  I think the manual paper tray is the one that would be most troublesome.  Perhaps it can be disabled in your driver settings to avoid the issue.  Simplex and duplex can be controlled with the driver defaults, but cannot be enforced - that I know of - without simply rejecting all simplex jobs.  The user would then need to resubmit the job.

                                     

                                    Regards,

                                    Steven

                                      • Re: Printing pages with a "Blank" attribute?
                                        Steve Lasich Adventurer
                                        Wake up, Steve!  You're dreaming!!!

                                         

                                         

                                        At the Pharos User Conference in Scottsdale in February I saw a demonstration of Mobile Print 2.0 and the Pharos App for IOS (which is still on my phone) that appeared to allow users to choose to print color jobs in black and white and to choose between simplex and duplex for jobs already in Pharos queues. 

                                        I admit the whole experience of Arizona in February seemed like a dream, so I'll believe you if you tell me I misunderstood or misremembered.

                                          • Re: Printing pages with a "Blank" attribute?
                                            Steven English Guide

                                            Steve Lasich,

                                             

                                            I was there too, and on this part you are definitely not dreaming since MobilePrint jobs are a whole 'nother story (MP jobs have not yet been rendered to spool file).  These MP submissions definitely allow for manipulation of attributes, because although they have been uploaded/email/submitted they have not yet actually been printed since that only happens moments before the job is actually released.  I was under the impression that we were talking about Uniprint jobs, and those have already been "cast" into a spool file with specific attributes, copy counts, and color attributes.  Uniprint jobs will show up/list in Print Center, but they cannot be modified, only release (if your organization has the print option enabled for Pharos Print Center)

                                             

                                            Here is a list of the attributes that PPC (Pharos Print Center) and the iOS app will allow you to manipulate/set after the documents have been emailed or uploaded:

                                            • Color or Mono (default behavior is configurable, but the job must have color in it to be able to convert it to color)
                                            • Simplex or Duplex (default behavior is configurable)
                                            • Number of copies (default value is configurable)
                                            • Pages per side aka N-up printing (default value is configurable)
                                            • Note: The default page size is also configurable in Pharos Admin, but this is not configurable to the end users

                                             

                                            Sorry for the confusion!

                                             

                                            Regards,

                                            Steven

                                        • Re: Printing pages with a "Blank" attribute?
                                          Kurt Albrecht Tracker

                                          For non-acceptable paper sizes (for us non-acceptable = non-Letter, since we stock our iMFPs only with letter), check only the appropriate paper sizes in "Job Attributes".  This was the original point of discussion in "Can Uniprint reject a print job with incorrect paper..."

                                           

                                          Kurt

                                • Re: Printing pages with a "Blank" attribute?
                                  John Siegel Guide

                                  Hi Steve,

                                   

                                                It isn't necessarily an attribute issue either. In these cases, the "attribute" wasn't the problem, but it still printed blanks.

                                   

                                                A user issue that appeared to be an "Adobe" problem, wasn't.  When printing from a web interface, we experienced problems with printing PDF's via a browser. The user chose print from the file menu and it printed a blank page. That's because the print command via the browser prints what the browser "sees", which is a blank frame, so the page comes out blank. If you chose print via the adobe plug in it printed correctly.

                                   

                                             Had seen similar situations with Microsoft Word and IE. Older versions added a "tag" to the end of a document, which often added "invisible" carriage returns. If the document is long enough the carriage returns add a "2nd page" which was charged  as a page and printed as a blank.

                                  Print page one of two, or editing out the carriage return(s) fixed the problem.

                                   

                                             Another possible cause in the PDF case you mentioned would be versional compatibility. In our experience, especially with course notes or syllabi, the original document was often created using an older version of Adobe Acrobat. Prior to version 6.0 there was no standardization, so older documents would have problems when printing via newer versions of Acrobat reader, because the version of reader wasn't compatible with the older Acrobat format. After version 6.0 there isn't a problem. In our case converting the PDF to a newer version with Acrobat and or printing using the full version of Acrobat solved the problem. Keep in mind that there are many manufacturers besides Adobe who sell PDF software, which produce .PDF items that aren't always fully compatible with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

                                   

                                  Regards,

                                   

                                                  John