Printing

Manifold provides two paths to printing:

 

·      The contents of any component window may be printed in a default way using the File - Print command.

·      More sophisticated layouts may be composed using a Print Layout , which may then be opened and printed using File - Print. The layout will be based on whatever settings (paper size, orientation, etc.) specified in the File - Page Setup dialog. Layouts are used to print maps at a specific scale. See the Layout topic.

 

Note that printing items with a layout is a three-step process: create the layout, adjust the elements of the layout to taste, and then print the layout.

 

Page Setup

 

The page setup dialog allows us to set paper orientation (portrait or landscape), paper size, printer properties and borders. Page setup options will be applied to any print job.

 

Layouts

 

Layouts are used to provide more sophisticated control over printing jobs. A layout may be created using a single component or none at all. Additional components that are to appear in the layout may be dragged and dropped into the layout and then resized, moved and adjusted as desired. We can change the characteristics of components that appear within a layout by right clicking on them and choosing Properties. This allows us to change the component to use a view or to show embellishments such as a North arrow or scale bar. We can use layout tools to add text or border lines. We can then print the layout.

 

The most sophisticated print layouts will normally feature a main compositional element that is a map. This map will consist of many drawing, image and labels components to create the visual effect desired. Because maps provide very rich editing capabilities they are the natural "console" within which to work when creating desired effects involving many layers..

 

Experienced Manifold users will therefore often put most of their compositional efforts into arranging the main map as desired. They will then use that map as the main element in a layout and will add other components to the layout rather sparingly. It is often a matter of taste and convenience whether a particular compositional element is placed within a map or is dropped into the layout as a separate element.

 

Suppose for example we have a map of wetlands that is to be printed and we wish to have a title block that includes a main text title hovering over a corporate logo. We could create the entire ensemble with both the wetlands drawings and the text labels and image used as the title block as a set of layers in one map. Such a complex composition is shown at the end of the Layers topic using the splash screen for Manifold as an example. Once a complex composition is created as a map, it could then be dropped into a print layout that consists of just that one component.

 

Alternately, we could create a map showing the wetlands and then create another map that just consisted of a few labels and image layers that made up the title block. We could then drop the wetlands map into a layout and also drag and drop the title block map into the layout. We would then print the layout that now is made up of two components.

 

The former approach allows creating everything within the same map window so that all layers are immediately at hand to allow adjustment of any visual aspect of the map. The second approach allows us to create a standard title block that could be recycled into other print layouts. Production print jobs could well include a combination of the two methods.

 

Layouts also support use of layout templates which allow us to create standardized arrangements for layouts. It is very important to master the use of layout templates when engaged in repetitive layout work or when creating layouts that must share the same look and feel.

 

Print Toolbar Button

 

images\btn_print.gif As is the case in standard Windows applications the Print toolbar button prints directly to the default printer. In contrast the File - Print command called from within the main menu will display a Print dialog that allows choice of which printer to use.

 

Printer Drivers

 

Printer drivers vary widely in their ability to provide rapid and efficient printing. The printer vendor normally provides printer drivers. A well-written driver will allow faster printing with less data passed between Manifold and the printer. A poorly written driver may result in slow print jobs or very large amounts of data in temporary printing files. Printer drivers with very serious defects may not print jobs correctly.

 

When a layout is printed, Manifold sets up the print job and passes it to Windows, which then passes the job to the printer driver. Two key options found in the printing page of the Tools - Options dialog help control how Manifold interacts with Windows and thus the printer driver.

 

Optimize printing of images and surfaces

When on, the system avoids rendering image and surface components in full resolution during print job setup, deferring final rendering to the printer driver, provided the image or surface can be rendered with either no re-projection or with simple scaling and shifting. This makes the size of the print job smaller and offloads the task of scaling raster images to the printer driver. Most printer drivers can automatically re-scale images and surfaces within the driver for better performance and reduced print job size. Some drivers cannot do so and will so cause the job to be printed more slowly than if Manifold renders images and surfaces. By default the option is turned on since most modern printer drivers can automatically render and re-scale. If the print job is slow or if the printer or plotter in use is suspected to be Windows unaware, try turning this option off and see if performance improves.

Print using GDI+

On by default. If unchecked, prints using GDI mode instead of GDI+ mode. GDI is an earlier Microsoft technology. Provided for use in case of a buggy or incomplete printer driver. Printing in GDI mode does not support antialiasing or transparency for drawings. See the Layer Opacity topic for information on transparency. Curved (rotated) or labels aligned to lines cannot be printed n Windows 9x systems if the Print using GDI+ option is turned off.

 

The Tools - Options dialog includes other options related to printing, but the above options have by far the largest impact on the process of printing.

 

If your printer driver provides poor performance or causes errors, try changing the default settings of the above two options. Make sure you have installed the most recent version of the printer driver available for your Windows operating system. Printer vendors will frequently provide new editions of printer drivers on their web sites that are more recent than the versions delivered with the printer or bundled into Windows.

 

It is always possible in the case of older printers or plotters that the printer vendor no longer provides driver updates, or that the only printer drivers available do not support recent Windows editions. In that case, the only choice may be to upgrade to a new printer that is supported with drivers that fully support current Windows editions.

 

Tech Tip: Printing a Layout to PDF

 

There are two ways to create a PDF file from a layout: exporting a layout to a PDF or "printing" the layout via File - Print using a PDF virtual printer driver, which mimics a printer to capture any printing activity as a PDF.

 

Printing a layout to a virtual printer driver that produces PDF feeds the layout through an ordinary GDI / GDI+ rendering pipeline, which issues "dumb" printing commands that are then captured by the driver. Exporting a layout directly as a PDF feeds the layout through the Manifold PDF rendering engine, which optimizes printing commands. In general, the results of exporting a layout as a PDF will almost always be better than the results of printing the same layout to a virtual printer driver.

 

Note also that printing a layout to a via File - Print exposes you to the risk of whatever that PDF printer driver vendor has in mind. For example, it could easily produce different results depending on the installed version of Acrobat if that is what is used for a PDF printer driver. In contrast, exporting a layout to a PDF via File - Export - Image will be consistently the same.

 

See Also

 

File - Print - Many components can be most easily printed by clicking open the map, drawing or image window and choosing File - Print.

 

How to Print - For a step by step example of creating and printing a layout.

 

Exporting Layouts