Thursday, September 13, 2012

Proper Fonts for dot-matrix printers

I have been wrestling with finding a proper font for quite a while now for my dot-matrix printing needs utilizing a POS printer which I decided to use for our Trip Ticket and Fuel Voucher issuances.  The usage of a POS printer appeals to me because it saves money, paper, ink and time because there is never a need to cut a paper into several portions anymore, but the fonts I used to print those do not appeal to me.

Here is the output using Tahoma:

While the output is clear, simply looking at the colons you can immediately notice the alignment is not proper, and that is because Tahoma is a graphical font.  Not to mention that it prints slower because it has more DPIs (Dots Per Inch) than the DOS fonts.

Alternately, we normally use Courier New because it represents the DOS style of printing albeit still graphical from within VFP or simply directly from Windows OS.  Here is the result:

But then again, I know there are better alternatives with clearer print output.  So I surfed the web and found two fonts that look promising:

But like the previous attempts, those are still graphical in nature with an attempt to give us a dot-matrix compatibility.  While I salute the efforts made by the guys who have created those fonts and that those show us properly aligned characters on screen, I am sad to say that those do not also give us "real" DOS text  via simply looking again on the alignment of the colons of the result print output.

So I said to myself, just this morning, the last recourse is to use the Draft Fonts (really named Draft Fonts) by trying to find out where those can come from.  Meaning I tried installing a lot of Epson Dot Matrix printers hoping one of these can result to the installation of the much wanted Draft Fonts; and fails finding those again.  Until a thought hit me, I have been doing this wrong all along!

You see, what I have been doing (and I believe most of you are) is looking for fonts by checking those from inside maybe Word's dropdown list of fonts and testing a font on some words we typed inside a document; and not seeing what we need.

The Hidden Trick

We are not seeing those we sought because we are checking those via the dropdown list of fonts while our printer is still set to another non dot-matrix printer.  The trick if you want to test and find the available draft fonts or its counterparts for a specific printer, is to  temporarily set that printer you are attempting to use for DOS printing style as the Default Printer.  Or simply from within Microsoft Word, change the printer into that.  Because the dropdown list of fonts depend on the printer you are trying to use.

By changing the printer to my POS printer (Epson TM-U220D in my case) from within Word, I was able to see now the "hidden" available fonts as shown in the image below:

And the output printing result is now this (using FontA11 and FontB21):

Available fonts varies with the printer you are "currently" using.  Keep that in mind and you won't have any more problem finding the proper fonts for your dot-matrix need in the future.

I hope this post has helped you in choosing the right fonts now for you dot-matrix printer use.  Cheers!

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