Web Based PDF Dot Matrix Form Printing for Used Car Dealerships

Setting up your dot matrix printer to work with your DMS can be a frustrating experience. It is an older technology but in certain cases it may still be required. We recommend Okidata 320 Turbo because it is the most popular printer in the auto industry and we setup the forms based on that model. However, our form wizard can be setup to print all forms and work with all printers that support printing graphics.

Printer Driver Setup

Windows 10: Windows 10 should automatically detect your printer and set it up with the correct driver but if it does not detect it automatically, you can go to device manager and scan for hardware changes manually. When you do that you should see the printer in the device manager printers list as well as in "Devices and Printers" in control panel. If you are using Chrome, you may experience sideways printing when you print these dot matrix forms directly from Chrome. This is due to a Chrome bug. In order to work around the problem, you can install the Adobe Acrobat from here: Acrobat Reader and Adobe Acrobat Extension for Chrome. After you install both of these, you will see a dialog every time you open a PDF in Chrome. This dialog contains a link that says "Open in Acrobat Reader". You can click on that to open the PDF in reader quickly and print it from there. Adobe Acrobat prints the PDFs correctly.

Windows 8.1: Windows 8.1 has a bug with Okidata drivers that causes problems with paper sizes and page orientation. If you are using Windows 8.1, you will need to set Okidata in Epson FX emulation mode before usage. In order to do that:

  • Insert a blank sheet of paper in the printer.
  • Enable the printer's Menu Mode by pressing and holding the Shift and Sel buttons at the same time. If the Menu light does not come on, turn the printer off and back on and repeat this step.
  • With the Menu light still on, press Group until the printer prints a line that starts with Emulation Mode.
  • If the value for Emulation Mode is "Epson FX", skip to next step. Otherwise, continue to press Set until the printer prints Emulation Mode as "Epson FX".
  • Press and hold the Shift and Sel buttons at the same time to turn off the Menu Mode.

After setting the printer in Epson FX mode, set up your printer in your computer (should be automatic once you connect it). Once the printer is setup, go to Control Panel, Devices and Printers, find your printer, right click on it and select "printer properties". In the Advanced Tab, click on "New Driver" button. Click Next. Select Epson as the Manufacturer. You should see "Epson ESC/P 9 pin V4 Class Driver" among the drivers. If you do not, click on "Windows Update" button and wait. Once it finishes, you should see the "Epson ESC/P 9 pin V4 Class Driver" in the printers. Select it and click Next and Finish. Click OK to finish your driver setup.

Windows 7 and Windows 8: You can use Okidata in Proprinter mode with Okidata ML 321 Turbo/D (IBM) driver. This driver is provided by Microsoft (not downloaded from Okidata or anywhere else).

Windows XP: We recommend using Okidata 320 in Proprinter mode with IBM Proprinter III driver. This driver is provided by Microsoft (not downloaded from Okidata or anywhere else).

Other Drivers / General Info: There are usually quite a few drivers that can work with your printer, depending on its emulation mode as well. Okidata 320 has 3 emulation modes: IBM Proprinter (default), Epson FX and Microline. For each of these modes, there are multiple drivers you can use. Some of them are provided by Windows and some may be downloaded from manufacturer's site. When you are adding a printer, if you don't see at least a few options, make sure to click on "Windows Update" button at the driver selection dialog. This will bring the latest drivers from Microsoft.

The only thing to watch for is the driver's ability to use custom form sizes. If you do not need long forms, you can probably use the default driver that comes in Windows. Otherwise you may need to test a few drivers. For Okidata 320, click on properties in printers and faxes, click on printing preferences, click advanced and check the available paper sizes. You should see the form you setup (Long Form). If you do not see it, it means you should try another driver. If you tried all drivers and none of them support custom paper sizes, you can print the form in multiple pages but that means there may be certain areas of the form that are not printable.

Printer Settings

You may need to adjust certain settings of your printer to expand your default printable area. In Okidata 320, the bottom margin is 1 inch by default. This means you cannot print at the bottom of the form and usually there are a few fields that may need to be printed there (dates and parties information). Luckily, you can expand it by updating two settings: Bottom Margin and Paper Out Override.

Moving through the settings menu: To put your printer into MENU mode, you must first feed in a piece of paper in order for the printer to print the settings. Once the paper is loaded into the printer, press the MENU button while holding down the SHIFT button. This will cause the printer to enter MENU mode, and the MENU light will light up. Press the GROUP button until the group settings you want to change are printed. Once you have selected the appropriate group, press the ITEM button until the item settings you want to change are printed. Once you have selected the appropriate item, press the SET button until the item setting you want is printed.

  • Insert a blank sheet of paper in the printer.
  • Enable the printer's Menu Mode by pressing and holding the Shift and Sel buttons at the same time. If the Menu light does not come on, turn the printer off and back on and repeat this step.
  • With the Menu light still on, press Group until the printer prints a line that starts with Top Feed.
  • Press Item until the printer prints a line that contains the word Bottom Margin.
  • If the value for Bottom Margin is "Invalid", skip to next step. Otherwise, press Set, and the printer should then print bottom margin invalid.
  • Press group buttom until printer prints a line that starts with Set-Up.
  • Press item buttom until printer prints a line that contains Paper Out Override.
  • If the value for Paper Out Override is "Yes", skip to next step. Otherwise, press Set, and the printer should then print Paper Out Override Yes.
  • Press and hold the Shift and Sel buttons at the same time to turn off the Menu Mode.

Printing Forms

Before you test printing forms, make sure to get the latest Adobe Reader installed from adobe.com. If you are using Chrome, you will may to disable the built-in PDF reader plugin. The way Chrome and Adobe prints PDFs are different and the results are usually different. Now you are ready to test printing a form from Carsinia:

  • Enter a deal in deal wizard and go to forms tab.
  • Find the form you would like to print (should be setup by Carsinia support) and click the view link next to it.
  • You should now see a blank PDF page with some information printed in various places. Move your mouse over it and click the printer icon. you should see the Adobe print PDF dialog.
  • Make sure to select the Actual Size under Page Sizing and Handling when printing the form.
  • Make sure to select the Portrait under Orientation when printing the form.
  • If you are printing a long form, click on Page Setup and select the long form page size.
  • Place your form in the printer. If you are using Okidata 320, you will need to use the top feed and place the form upside down, back side facing you.
  • Now print the form from the print dialog.

Check the alignment of the fields in the form. If it is acceptable, you are done. If it needs minor adjustments, you can do it yourself by going to Admin -> Forms and clicking on Edit next to your form to go to the form wizard. You can enter overall top margin or scale in various ways. If the fields are very much out of alignment, just scan the output and send it to Carsinia support. We will adjust it for you.

Page Size Setup

If you need to print long retail installment contracts that are longer than standard A4 paper size (8.5 inches x 11 inches) you will need to setup custom paper sizes. If all the forms you need are standard A4 paper size or smaller (or maybe 14 inches long at most - legal paper size), you can skip this step. In order to setup custom page sizes in Windows:

  • Start menu -> Control Panel -> Printers and Faxes (For Windows 8 Devices and Printers)
  • In the explorer window menu, click File -> Server Properties. (For Windows 8 Click on the Okidata printer and then select Printer Server Properties on the menu bar)
  • In the forms tab, check create a new form. Enter any name you want for custom form. For sample's sake we will name it "Long Form".
  • For long forms enter 8.5 inches and 22 inches for the size. That would be about two pages long. If you need 3 pages long, enter 33 inches.
  • You may setup multiple form sizes using the same steps depending on the forms you need to print.

Setting up a custom form

Our form wizard can be setup to print all forms and work with all printers that support printing graphics. The way it works is simple:

  • Scan a sample page from your form.
  • Setup the NCR form in Carsinia form wizard - upload the scanned page as well.
  • Drag and drop the tokens to the form in appropriate locations (Carsinia will keep track of their relative locations).
  • Print the form a few times from the deal wizard and fine tune main page parameters for your printer and token locations.

Contact us for help and more information.

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