Printing Speed in PC Access
[How to Increase your Print Speed in PC Access]
Several setup options in both
PC Access and in Windows can affect printing speed and quality
dramatically. Naturally there is usually a tradeoff between speed and
In our tests at MFM, we have found PC Access to be capable of printing
about as fast as fast as other Windows programs, when we set up for
maximum speed. Please be aware that Windows itself limits the printing
speed of all Windows programs. A Windows program may take slightly
longer to get a page out of the printer than a DOS program does.
However, Windows has the important advantage of print spooling via the
Print Manager, meaning that a user can get control back in an
application before a print "job" has finished. A DOS program often
prevents the user from entering any commands until printing is
How to Increase your Print Speed in PC Access
When you finish setting your print options, click the
OK buttons on your printer driver dialogs and on the
Edit Printer window. Then click
Close on the Printer Setup and
Advanced Setup Menu windows to return to the
PC Access for Windows Main Menu window. Call your
MLS and try printing something. The quickest way to test your printer
settings is to click the Prtscrn button on the
Terminal window as soon as you see the Main
Menu screen of your MLS.
- Click the Setup Menu button on the PC
Access for Windows Main Menu window.
- Click the Advanced button on the Setup
- Click the Printer(s) button on the
Advanced Setup Menu window.
- On the Printer Setup window, highlight the
printer you are using as your default printer in PC Access, and
click the Edit button.
- Now you should be viewing the Edit Printer
window. This is where we can set many options that affect printing
- In the Printing Options group, check the
Fast Photo Printing box. (Your version of PC Access
may call this the Fast B&W Photo Printing box.)
- In the Printing Options group, do not
check the Enhanced B&W Photos box.
- In the Choose Fonts group, click the
Normal button. This displays a standard Windows
Font dialog where you may select the font PC Access
will use for Normal text. (Normal
text is most of the text in your summary reports and full-listing
reports.) To the left of each font name you may see a small icon.
TT indicates a "True Type" font. No icon
indicates a Windows system font. A printer icon indicates a printer
font. Here's the rule: printer fonts print faster than True Type or
system fonts, because the Windows printer driver does not need to
- Therefore you should choose a printer font you find acceptable
for Normal text. You may need to print a sample
report after selecting a font to decide if you like it. Good
choices for your normal font would usually be
Courier or Courier New.
- If you do not see any printer fonts, then you may need to
re-install your printer's Windows driver. Normally when you
install a driver for your printer, the install program asks you if
you want to install printer fonts. See your printer's
documentation if you have any questions about how to install
- If you want PC Access to pick a printer font for you
automatically, you may check the Fast Text w/Printer
Fonts box on the Edit Printer window.
However, PC Access may not always select the "best"
printer font this way.
- If you also print CMA reports in a Compressed
font, you should click the Compressed button in the
Choose Fonts group. Select a printer font for
- Click the Set Up button on the
Edit Printer window. This displays your Windows
printer driver's setup dialog. This dialog will be different for
every printer driver, so we can't tell you exactly what you will
find there. You should consult your printer documentation. However,
you should be able to find setup options similar to the following
that can affect printing speed:
- Resolution: This has
an enormous effect on
photo printing speed and quality. Increasing the resolution
improves photo appearance but slows printing dramatically. For
example, at 600x600 DPI resolution the computer must calculate
four times as many "pixels" to print a photo as at
300x300 DPI. That means the photo requires roughly four times as
long to print.
- Note: Even though Photocom for DOS offers a 600x600
DPI resolution, our experience has been that it really only sends
photo data to the printer at a maximum resolution of 300x300 DPI.
If your Windows printer driver is printing at 600x600 DPI, it will
be dramatically slower than Photocom for DOS.)
- Dithering: This also affects photo printing
Turning off dithering speeds up photo printing, but may make your
photos appear somewhat "checkerboarded."
- Print Quality: This is an important setting
on dot-matrix printers, since they require more print-head passes
to form near-letter-quality characters than draft characters. On
laser printers, all printer fonts should print at comparable
speeds, but you might want to experiment with draft mode anyway.
- Note: Build 93
of PC Access for Windows adds a
Test button to the Edit Printer
window. This is much more convenient than dialing into your MLS
when you are testing your printer setup.
- If you are running a PC Access Build lower than 93, you
should download an
In addition to above suggestions, the following tips may help increase your
- A faster computer will speed up printing in all of your DOS and
Windows applications. This does not help you immediately, but it is
important to keep in mind for your future hardware purchases.
- If your computer has only 4 MB RAM, it will print slowly in
Windows due to excessive disk swapping. Even 8 MB RAM may be
inadequate on some computers, especially if you are printing photos
at high resolution or running multiple
applications. Some printer drivers are also quite large and require
extra memory to avoid disk swapping. If your disk light flashes
frequently while you are printing, consider buying more RAM.
- You can also try disabling the Print Manager in Windows 3.1, or
disabling print spooling for your printer driver in Win95.
Sometimes this can speed up your Windows printing, at the cost of
increasing the time that an application displays an hourglass during
- To compare PC Access for Windows against the printing
performance of other Windows applications (such as word processors),
you can try copying a photo from PC Access to the Windows clipboard,
and pasting it into another application. To copy a photo, move your
mouse cursor over it in PC Access and click your right mouse button.
From the Photo Commands Speed Menu select
Copy to Clipboard. You can also copy text from the
Terminal window to the clipboard and paste it into
a word processor. Select the Edit | Copy Text menu
item on the Terminal window.