Does anybody know if you can print out a PDF (Postscript) to a line printer?

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AS/400
We are trying to print a PDF file to a line printer (IBM 6400) and need to know if this is even possible as I lose all formating. Thanks
ASKED: January 26, 2006  6:24 PM
UPDATED: January 27, 2006  10:49 AM

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Typically, with any line printer, you are going to lose formating. The 6400 is built on the ProPrinter engine, and so does not understand PostScript or PCL.

There is one page descriptor language that it can read, IPDS. Dependant on O/S Platform, there are ways to convert PS/PDF to AFP. There are software requirements on the host – Print Services Facility (PSF) in z/OS and i5/OS, Inforprint Manager in AIX and Windows. The printer requires an IPDS feature, which is a chipset installed by a CE on the planer.

It may also be possible to convert the PDF to an image, and print the image. The drawback would be that the printer would run very slow.

I think that it really becomes a question of what you need to do.

Q. Is this just one PDF, or are you going to print PDF’s as a matter of course.

A. If you have a single large file that you just need to print a copy or ten, then I would say take it to a local printer (FedEx/Kinko’s allows you to do this online to the nearest facility, it is pretty slick). If you are going to do this regularly, then:

Q. Are they large files? Lots of image, or just formatted text?

A. If there is a lot of image in the files, I would suggest that you consider getting a printer designed to handle that type of output. There are a lot of laser printers which would handle any size file very well – IBM has several, see http://www.ibm.com/printers .

If it is just a lot of text, you CAN format the output for line printers, but it IS rather limited – bold, italics, Courier and Gothic text, and a variety of sizes in a 6400. You need to get the 6400 ASCII Programmer’s Reference (S544-5635-02):

http://publibfp.boulder.ibm.com/epubs/pdf/54456352.pdf

The output is not WYSIWYG, but generally ok. You would need to get your PDF generated in a wholly different format, however, so that may not be an option.

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