RD Controls<P> EPICURE Software Release Note 155.0<P> <b> Screen Printing in VMS MOTIF</b>

RD Controls

EPICURE Software Release Note 155.0

Screen Printing in VMS MOTIF

Deb Baddorf


Printing a single X window on your VMS MOTIF screen seems like it ought to be simple. In fact, there is a Print option on the menu bar of a simple Decterm window. If it works for you, good! I'm not aware of anybody who has gotten that print option to work. Instead, here's what works for me.

Use the Stand Alone Print Screen Application

I print by using the separate Print Screen application. It's in the Session Manager window (a key if iconized), under the Applications menu. It's called Print Screen on that menu. Select it, and after a few moments, a separate window will come up with this print utility running.

If you plan to print lots of things, leave the print application running. Iconize it between uses. If you always plan to print a lot, you could even set the print application to be an Automatic Startup item. I don't bother with that, even though I print something at the end of every day.

Settings for the Print Screen Application

Choose your settings for all the switches. When you have a setup that you like, make sure you save it by selecting Save Options in the Options menu. Then you won't have to mess with these settings each time you run the Print Screen application.


You can choose ``Portion of Screen'' or ``Entire Screen.'' I've not yet found a use for an entire screen printout. The portion of screen setting will allow you to choose which part of the screen to print.

Time Delay

The Time Delay can be a very useful setting. If it is set to 0 seconds, selection of screen area will begin as soon as you choose the Print option under File. If you set a delay time (5 or 10 seconds is nice), you will have a grace period during which you can bring your target window to the top of the screen. This is useful if the Print Screen application itself is covering it, for instance.

Send To


I like the Print Screen application not to print, but instead to save to a file. Then I can type in the print commands when I'm ready, and the file will hang around until I decide that the printout is good.

Accept the default filename, or enter your own choice. The default is a good choice, since a file ending in .TMP will be automatically cleaned up for you (deleted) in a day or two by our disk cleaning daemon.


If you prefer to print straight to a printer, you need to choose the second menu item under File, which is ``Print . This will bring up a screen which allows you to select a printer. If you mistakenly use ``Print'' (no dots), you will get no printer choice, and the printout will go to the first printer in the list (which you didn't see). This option will not save the file at all, but will send it straight to the printer.


If you choose Both, you must choose both a file name, and a printer. Read the above two sections. This option will save the file after it automatically prints.

Output Format

Depending on your printer, choose the output format that your printer is capable of printing. Postscript is the best choice most of the time. HP4SI, HP5SI and Macintosh printers require postscript. The older LJ250 printers require Sixel output.

Ribbon Saver

If your screen is mostly black, choosing Negative Image can save ink or toner, and can look better too. This selection interacts with Output Color though -- Ribbon Saver seems to be ignored unless the output color is Black and White.

Print Orientation

Your choices for print orientation are ``Best Fit'', ``Portrait'', and ``Landscape''. Best Fit works quite well, but you may prefer one of the other options. This selection interacts with Fit-To-Paper.

Output Color

The choices here are ``Black and White'', ``Color'', and ``Gray Scale''. If you don't have a color screen, you won't have that option. If you don't have a gray scale screen then you won't have that option either.

If you are printing to a black and white printer, you ought to choose either B&W or Gray Scale. You may have to experiment to see what works best with a particular image.


Save Your Settings

Choose your settings for all the switches. When you have a setup that you like, make sure you save it. Then you won't have to mess with these settings each time you run the Print Screen application. Find the Options menu (within the Print Screen application itself) and use item Save Options. Nothing visibly happens when you press it, but it will save your settings.

Prepare to Print or Capture

Get the image ready. Some programs periodically clear their screen and redraw. If it does this when you start the print, you'll be disappointed in the output. For such applications, you may want to freeze the target image before beginning to print. If the application accepts control-S, press control-S in each window you wish to freeze. X-programs may not stop on control-S. PLOT is unaffected by control-S. You might stop a plot, or scroll it to the left to stop the left shifting temporarily. Each program may be different.

How To Do the Print or Capture

Print the File

If you saved to a file, rather than to a printer, remember to print the file. If it is a postscript file, be sure to use a printer capable of handling postscript! An HP4SI or HP4SI printer is a good choice. If it is a sixel file, an LJ250 printer should work.

Version Limit Caution

If saving to a file, be aware that our directories are set up to allow only 5 versions of a file. When you save the 6th version, the oldest one will disappear. Print it or rename it before that happens, if you care about that version. You can change this version limit if you want to, on a file by file basis, or on a special subdirectory that you use for the print screen destination.

Suggested Settings for Certain Programs

EPICURE Plot program

Portion of screen

Delay 5 seconds or so

Send to a file

File Name: default is ok; your choice


Negative image (unless a color printer)

Best Fit

Black & White (unless a color printer)

Scale to Fit or Reduce Only

You'll have to experiment with the colors in the PLOT program. With a black & white printer and a negative image, pink and all darker colors disappear. Yellow, white, and other light colors are fine. Find what works, and save your PLOT settings too.

Keywords: MOTIF, print



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