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HP Designjet Printers - Landscape Images Printing in Portrait Orientation from AutoCAD 2007 and 2008

An issue has been identified when printing landscape pages that should fit exactly on the roll loaded on the printer. These pages are printed in portrait orientation instead, resulting in more paper used by the printer and the need to trim the right margin.

So far, this issue has been seen in AutoCAD 2007 and 2008, but other applications could be affected, as well. This document describes the symptoms of the issue, its causes and the available workarounds.

Issue description and symptoms

This issue is affecting the following driver versions:

  • Driver 6.19 for Designjet 500/800/4000/4500

  • All available drivers for Designjets T610/T1100/Z2100/Z3100/Z6100

There are two possible ways to see the issue:

  • The ‘Autorotate’ feature does not seem to work as expected: A job that, once rotated, should fit exactly on the loaded roll is not rotated by the driver. For example, a 24 x 36 job is not rotated when the loaded roll is 36 inches wide; the job is printed in the portrait orientation instead.

  • Even after choosing ‘landscape’ orientation in the driver, the job is printed ‘portrait’: A landscape drawing that should fit exactly on the loaded roll is automatically rotated by the driver and printed in ‘portrait’ orientation instead.

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Root cause

The root cause of the issue has been identified as an issue with figures being ‘rounded’ in the interaction between the HP driver, the operating system and AutoCAD. Because of this issue, all landscape pages are considered to be one pixel larger than they actually are. This is no issue as long as the page is smaller than the loaded roll, but when the original page size and the size of the roll match exactly, it has the following effects:

  • When Autorotate is selected, when comparing the size of the page once it’s rotated to the size of the roll, the driver determines that the rotated page would be larger than the roll (by 1 pixel) and does not rotate the job.

  • When a landscape page is exactly as wide as the roll, the driver determines that clipping would occur because of the extra pixel, and automatically rotates the page to print in ‘portrait’.

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Workarounds

We are working on a definitive solution for this issue which should be available in the next driver release for all affected products. Currently available workarounds are:

Designjet 500/800/4000/4500
  • If the page size is smaller than 42 inches:

    Enable the Autorotate option in the driver and select the loaded roll to be 42 inches, even if the roll which is actually loaded is smaller. By doing this, the driver will think that there is enough paper to rotate the drawing and it will then rotate it.

    Figure 1: Printing Preferences

  • If the page size is 42 inches (for example 30x42 inches):

    The only available workaround is to downgrade the driver to version 6.17, which does not show this issue. Downgrading a driver is not an automatic process; instructions on how to do it are found at the end of this document.

Designjet T610/T1100/Z2100/Z3100/Z6100

The driver for the HP Designjet T and Z series obtains information about the loaded paper using bidirectional communication with the printer, so rotation is always done comparing it to the currently loaded paper roll.

With these drivers, there is a workaround that would apply for all pages (including 42 inches wide pages). The workaround consists on disabling the bidirectional communication with the printer and setting the driver’s queue up so that it considers that the loaded paper is 44 inches wide.

To do that:

  1. Go to the Printer’s and Faxes folder in Windows. Right-click on the printing queue and select Properties.

  2. Go to the Device settings tab.

    Figure 2: Device Settings tab

  3. Set the Automatic configuration option to OFF.

  4. Under the branch Paper loaded on roll, set:

    1. Width to Custom

    2. Custom width to 44

After doing that, the driver will stop looking for loaded paper information on the printer and will always consider that the loaded paper is 44 inches wide, hence, rotating or printing in landscape any drawing that would fit on 44 inches paper (including all sizes used normally in CAD).

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Appendix: How to downgrade driver 6.19 to 6.17

The automatic Windows printer installation process (the Add printed wizard) does not work when downgrading drivers. If you attempt to install a printer with a driver version which is older than the one installed on the system, the Wizard will find out that the DLLs of the existing driver are newer than the ones that are being copied and will not overwrite them. No matter which options are selected during the installation process, the result will always be the same: the most current version of the driver will be kept.

The only way to downgrade a driver is to manually remove the current driver and then, to install the older version on a ‘clean’ system.

The steps to do that are the following:

  1. Go to the Printers & Faxes folder in Windows

  2. Delete all printer queues which are associated to a specific driver. For example, if you want to remove driver 6.19 for Designjet 4500, delete all Designjet 4500 HP-GL/2 printing queues (it is not necessary to remove the queues that work with the PS driver).

  3. Once all the printing queues have been deleted, go to File Server properties.

  4. Go to the Drivers tab.

  5. Select the Designjet 4500 HP-GL/2 driver from the list and click on the Remove button. In some versions of Windows (depending on the Service Pack) it may be necessary to reboot the workstation between steps 4 and 5.

  6. After the removal of the driver has been completed, the system is clean from any DLLs of this driver. You can now install the previous version of the driver (6.17) on the system.

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