Which Desktop Publishing Software to Use?
The ideal traits for a DTP system to use for preparation of software for use with Proform are:
- Understands printer capabilities well
- Knows what fonts each printer can do
- Tries to utilize printer resident fonts
- Does NOT attempt to download printer fonts
- Displays a good representation of the final result
- Creates compact PCL which utilizes printer features efficiently
Word Perfect 5.0, 5.1, 6.0, 6.1
These are the best and cleanest to use for creating Proform templates when using the WP printer
Word can be used with some important caveats:
- There are a few identified non-true type fonts; you must use these. Otherwise, it will try to
shovel a true-type font out the door, and being really "smart", it will only send those font
characters it thinks is needed for the page in question.
- It has the annoying habit of setting line spacing to 4 lines per inch. This is irrelevent to its
normal operation, and for Proform field fill forms, BUT it does play havoc with letterhead
forms - it ends up being double spaced. You have to go into the template and patch it back to
8 lines per inch.
We have never gotten the built-in Windows software to generate any decent templates.
We have seen VP do some really annoying things in its printer output in relation to use with
Proform, but we can't remember specifics.
If your form is so detailed that you don't want to try to lay it out with these tools, you have
several other choices we are aware of:
This can work well if you are trying to scan printed forms, but some of the printer drivers are
downright diabolical. The Laserjet III driver seems much cleaner than Laserjet IV.
Ecpage is a simple DOS text mode program which allows you to define each PCL element, be it a
line, text, shaded box, whatever. It then generates the simplest PCL to create the result. It can be
tedious to use, but for very complex forms it might be the best. Here is a copy; perhaps you can
find a newer one elsewhere: ecpage.zip
This provides a WYSIWYG view with some of the forms smarts of ECPAGE. Some clients
doing really complex forms have switched to it from ECPAGE.