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"Text Only" print driver no longer working?

TBugReporter

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For many years, I've used the Generic / Text Only virtual printer driver to convert Web pages and other files to plain text with minimal formatting, but the last time I used it, the resulting file was peppered with unnecessary spaces, making it close to indecipherable when viewed in a text editor. Has some recent update changed the way this driver works (or, in my case, doesn't work)?

I've attached two files to illustrate the problem: filler.html contains a few paragraphs of boilerplate text, and filler.prn is the result I get from loading filler.html into Firefox and printing it to the Text Only "printer". (Both files were renamed to filler.*.txt to conform to this forum's limitations for uploaded files.) Note that the output file is more than ten times the size of the input file; if you examine it with a hex editor, you'll see that the increased size of the output is due to many sequences of a carriage return (without a linefeed) and several spaces being unnecessarily inserted in the output stream every few characters. I imagine if this were sent to a 1970s-era printer, the defects in the output would be invisible on the page, but since the whole point of the Text Only driver is to bypass any physical printer, I don't understand this change in behavior. Is there any way to prevent this and get back to the output I'm used to?
 

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  • filler.html.txt
    2.1 KB · Views: 34
  • filler.prn.txt
    30.1 KB · Views: 27

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broe23

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Are you trying to print from a command window, or from Notepad/wordpad. It helps to know what mfg & model of printer you have.
 

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TBugReporter

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Are you trying to print from a command window, or from Notepad/wordpad.
I'm not trying to print anything; the Generic print driver is intended to convert a program's output (in my example above, I'm using Firefox, but it's intended to be used with any program) into a minimally formatted text file.

It helps to know what mfg & model of printer you have.
Again, I'm not using any printer; the idea is to be able to use the "print" function to create text file output from programs that don't provide other means to produce text output.
 

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CountMike

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Do you mean the old "Print to file" feature ? I don't think it exists any more. I started copy / paste to text editor first and than after eventual changes print it normally or save it as "filename.txt"
 

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TBugReporter

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Yes; this is exactly what I'm talking about.

Edit: Tried it and it works. Took your .txt as input, printed to the Generic Printer and got this as output:
"Printed" using what program? That is to say, you generated that output file by clicking Print on the File menu of Program X and selecting "Generic / Text Only" as the "printer" to print to, but which Program X did you use? From your output file, I suspect it was Notepad, but I was using Firefox. I tried myself using Notepad and got similar results to you, so maybe this is actually a Firefox problem? Then again, I've been getting crazy results from other programs, as well.

(Interestingly, I also tried to make a test "printout" from IE, but that resulted in an "access denied" error, and Google Chrome produced a mostly empty file.)
 
Last edited:

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CountMike

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Instead of printing directly I just saved this page as "Text only" and got this result printable conventional way.
 

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  • 'Text Only' print driver no longer working.txt
    23.7 KB · Views: 29

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Ztruker

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I'll try it from Firefox tonight when I get home. I did print from Notepad as you thought.
 

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TBugReporter

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... I was using Firefox. I tried myself using Notepad and got similar results to you, so maybe this is actually a Firefox problem? Then again, I've been getting crazy results from other programs, as well.

(Interestingly, I also tried to make a test "printout" from IE, but that resulted in an "access denied" error, and Google Chrome produced a mostly empty file.)

Actually, right now I'm most interested in getting this working with iTunes, so if you have that available, I'd also appreciate your testing using that as well. (I frequently make .txt file versions of playlists and app lists this way and transform them into spreadsheets, to which I add custom notes and info.)
 

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Ztruker

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Doesn't work from any web browser. Tried Firefox and Seamonkey. In both cases got an error message saying Generic printer driver no longer working.

Edit: Save as Text works fine though.
 

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TBugReporter

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So I suppose I'm lucky to be getting any output at all (see the filler.prn.txt file attached to my original post). Unfortunately, iTunes is one of the many programs that doesn't have a "save as text" option - which is the shortcoming that caused me to start using the "Text Only" print driver in the first place. I guess I'll have to continue to hand-edit out the extra garbage that the "Text Only" driver generates - unless I (or someone) can come up with a way to automate that editing process.
 

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