Troubleshooting Garbled Printing

  • 7021588
  • 14-Jul-1999
  • 01-Apr-2018


Reflection for HP version 13.0 through 14.x
Reflection for UNIX and OpenVMS version 13.0 through 14.x
Reflection for ReGIS Graphics version 13.0 through 14.x


This technical note provides suggestions for troubleshooting when printer output contains incorrect formatting or missing or incorrect characters.


Printing with Reflection

Printing from a Windows application involves the printer, Windows, and the host application, as well as Reflection. When printer output is garbled, the problem may be in the Windows configuration, the application (e.g., Reflection), or in the communications link between the host and the PC. This technical note provides a series of troubleshooting steps for Windows, Reflection, and PC-to-host communications.

If you are using compressed printing (more than 80 characters per line), see KB 7021601. If printer output does not appear, see KB 7021595.

Each of the following sections contains troubleshooting steps related to one aspect of printing from the host through Windows and Reflection. Follow all of the steps in a section and then try printing. If output is still incorrect, go to the next section.

Bypass Windows Printing

In some cases Windows tries to interpret host escape codes, and this can result in incorrect printer output. Selecting Bypass Windows Printing in Reflection allows the host escape codes to reach the printer.

Follow the steps below to bypass Windows printing.

  1. Click Print Setup on the File menu.
  2. In the Print Setup dialog box, select Bypass Windows Printing.
  3. Click OK.
  4. Test printing.

Note: If you are bypassing Windows and printing to a PostScript printer, the results may not be as you expect. PostScript printers are controlled by PostScript commands, which are typically sent to the printer from a PostScript printer driver. Some printers have built-in PostScript codes that are used when no driver can be found, and the font is determined by the printer's defaults. If your printer depends on the driver for PostScript codes, then nothing (not even a blank page) will be printed when this check box is selected.

Start Reflection with Defaults

If a Reflection settings file becomes corrupted, it can cause unpredictable results. A common troubleshooting technique is to start Reflection with default settings:

  1. Start Reflection.
  2. On the File menu, click New.
  3. If queried about saving changes, answer No.
  4. On the Connection menu, click Connection Setup to establish a new host connection without restarting Reflection.
  5. Test printing from Reflection.

Check the Printer Driver

A common printing problem is that an incorrect printer driver has been specified. In Windows, check the properties of the printer to confirm that the correct printer driver is selected for the printer. In Reflection, verify that the correct printer and print queue have been selected.

  1. On the Start Menu, click Settings, and then click Printers.
  2. Highlight the printer, and then click Properties on the File menu.
  3. Under the Details tab, make sure the name of the printer driver is correct.
  4. In Reflection, click Print Setup on the File menu and verify that the correct printer and print queue have been selected.
  5. Test printing from Reflection.

Datacomm Errors

Printing requires a lot of processor time, and the processor may not be able to manage Windows, the printer, and a serial port or modem. Check for data communications errors by pressing Alt-F5 from within Reflection. You will see the Statistics dialog box. If there are any errors, you may need to disable local flow control on your modem or configure Reflection to do hardware handshaking.

If you are using a modem connection, consult your modem documentation for instructions on disabling local flow control.

If you are using a serial or modem connection, you can set Reflection to do hardware handshaking:

  1. Start Reflection.
  2. If connected, click Disconnect on the Connection menu.
  3. Click Connection Setup on the Connection menu.
  4. In the Connect Using area, select Serial or Modem, depending on your connection method.
  5. In the Connection Options area, click More Settings.
  6. In the Pacing area, select Hardware in the Transmit and Receive boxes.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Test printing from Reflection.

Disable Printer Translation

Windows uses the ANSI character set by default. If you want to disable character translation and print characters exactly as they come from the host, you should use the Disable Printer Translation option:

  1. Start Reflection.
  2. On the File menu, click Print Setup.
  3. In the Print Setup dialog box, select Disable Printer Translation.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Test printing from Reflection.

Print to a File

To narrow down the source of a printing problem during host-initiated printing, it is helpful to send the printer output to a file:

  1. Start Reflection.
  2. On the File menu, click Print Setup.
  3. In the Print Setup dialog box, select Print to File and enter a file name.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Print to the file from your host application.
  6. Press Alt-Y to open the command window.
  7. In the command window, open the file you printed to (click Open on the File menu, select the name of the file you created in step 3, and click OK). If the file contains the same problems as the printed output, then the host computer and Reflection are not communicating properly. Get an event trace and contact Attachmate technical support.
  8. If the contents of the file look normal, print the file from the command window (click Print on the File menu). If the printed output is still not correct, then the PC and the printer are not communicating properly. Check the cables, try a different printer, check the printer's configuration menu, or otherwise troubleshoot the problem.

Serial Printing

A serial printer is attached to a serial port rather than a parallel port. Serial ports have either 9 or 25 "male" pins. If you are printing to a serial printer, verify that Windows is configured correctly by making sure that the Baud Rate, Data Bits, Parity, Stop Bits, and Flow Control values in Windows Printer Setup match the parameters required by the printer.

Still Unable to Print?

If you still have questions about printing, please contact your local Attachmate technical support provider. Before contacting Attachmate technical support, please have the following:

  • A paper copy of the failed print job (if possible).
  • The model of the printer.
  • The type of PC-to-printer connection (for example, COM port or LPT port).
  • The Reflection product and version.
  • If you are attempting host-initiated printing, get an event trace. For instructions on how to perform a trace, see KB 7021622.

Additional Information

Legacy KB ID

This document was originally published as Attachmate Technical Note 1042.