RPM Windows Printing Portal

Purpose

One of the strengths of Microsoft Windows is that it offers you a great deal of device independence. What that means to you is that you can use any printer from any vendor, so long as you have a Windows driver for it.

With RPM Remote Print Manager® (RPM) you can make full use of all your Windows printers.

What RPM provides

RPM has a text print action that does Windows printing. This is what we mean by that:

  • We use the True Type fonts installed on your system.
  • We print to any Windows printer installed on or accessible by your system.
  • RPM optionally uses login credentials, so we can potentially print to any shared printer visible to a domain user on your network.
  • RPM supports interactive printing where the job is held until the user logs in, at which time any dialogs needed by the print driver appear on the user's desktop as usual.

Additionally, the Elite version of RPM supports text watermarks, where you can use an image file as an overlay to your print job.

Working with text markup

The text action, which does our Windows printing, works hand in hand with the text markup transform. There are two advantages to this. First, the printed page looks as much like PDF output as possible. Second, you don't have to repeat a fairly extensive setup for each type of output. Instead, you can set the text markup transform as you like, and feed that to any number of outputs.

The text action will include a text markup transform automatically if it gets plain text data. However, for the most control, you'll want to bring the text markup (or compatible) transform into the flow so you can set it up the way you want. We use Courier New, half inch margins and "auto-calc" as defaults.

Where it gets interesting

RPM has always provided great control over fitting the text on the page, and we have recently added to that. You can specify lines per inch and characters per inch; that's not uncommon. RPM from the start has gone beyond that and fit lines per page and columns per page. This means you will get the right amount of text per page whether you use portrait or landscape, US Letter or A4. The text print action calculates those dynamics when it connects to the printer, and it works on any Windows print driver.

The only caveat with this approach is that you have to know the number of lines and columns that fit your case best.

We have gone one step farther in RPM 5.1 with the ability to "auto-calc" or calculate automatically the page metrics that fit your data. The text markup transform supports this setting as an alternative to specifying the font size as just described.

You could, potentially, send your reports to one queue and have them come out differently, but correct.