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problems plotting patterns

Giusseppe Pedro Pace


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We have the same problem but we use an HP DesignJet 800PS. We've checked and unchecked Quartz imaging, print patters at on-screen res, rasterize, hardware accelerated 2D nav. We downloaded the newest print driver and printer firmware. I spent a day on the phone with no final solution. Anything else we can try?

Some of the solutions above got the patterns to print in the full area but then they wouldn't be the same patterns as what was on the screen, so it's either the wrong pattern or a small portion of the correct pattern.

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I am also using a HP DesignJet 800PS, and have the same problem. Additionally, it will frequently tell me "jobs stopped" on the print monitor. I have spent three hours so far with HP with no luck. The whole problem started a week ago when a Vectorworks tech discovered I was using a Microspot driver (unintentionally) and recommended I download and use the HP driver. Problems ever since. The microspot driver (X-rip) caused print quality problems of its own, but at least it did print. The Vectorworks tech told me they are having problems with the DesignJet 800ps in particular. I know this doesn't help, but you are not alone.

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It's not because of Leopard and also not because of VW2008!

I'm working in the same Company since 6years and we had this problem the first time we switched to OS X with a HP 750C, the second time we upgraded to VW 11, printing on a HP 1055CM, the third time we upgraded to VW 12. Until now, after some system updates the issues ceased, although it was absolutely unpredictable under which circumstances it still occured. Now my big hope was that the issues would be solved with VW 2008 and Leopard. But this was false hope :(

I think this is extremely annoying, especially as HP told us: We can't do anything and there won't be any driver updates (the last is from summer 2006) and VW: We know the problem, but don't know what it causes, and why are you using patterns anyway, they're so much out of date....

Maybe it's time to pester Apple Inc. with this problem? Their answer's surely going to be of muuuuuuch help...

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we have pattern printing problems with our HP designjet 500 and VW 2008:

all kinds of patterns become solids on paper, only the correct color is kept (but at least they are printed...)

everything worked fine in 12.5.3, in 2008 it doesn?t work any more - neither on our macs nor on our PCs.

we use the latest drivers, on macs those delivered with leopard;

we also have the latest service packs (SP2 R3).

as the problem is the same on both platforms i think this must be a vectorworks 2008 bug.

thanks for suggestions.


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i have to correct myself: patterns do not become solids, they are printed in a very small scale and therefore become much too dense (print in on-screen resolution makes no sense because pattern line thickness becomes much too bold then).

it makes no difference if we produce a .PDF first instead of plotting directly out of VW2008, and, as i mentioned above, it is all the same on MACs and on PCs.

so, to my mind, this has neither to do with leopard nor with any printer driver or setup - it seems to be definitely VW.

any comments by nemetschek ?



Edited by helmut
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The problem is Vectorworks.

Having the exact same issues with our HP Designjet 800ps. We are printing from OS 10.5.2 with VW 2008 SP2 using the latest HP driver.

PDFs created from VW also do not print.

This is a Vectorworks 2008 issue. We never had any issues until we upgraded.

There are a number of posts regarding Designjet printing issues. This is a very popular printer so the problem needs to be addressed as soon as possible.


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GA - when you say PDFs created from VW don't work --- how are you creating the PDFs? Through the print dialog or through File > Export PDF?

What software are the PDFs being printed from?

What version of this software?

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Hi Katie,

Pdfs were created from VW 2008 SP2 using the print dialog box. They were then opened in Adobe Acrobat Professional 8 (version 8.1.2). Pdfs created from any other program are printing ok.

I'd also like to add that I have since found out that we also cannot print from VW to our A3 colour laser printer. This is a new Canon 2880i. Printing from all other software works ok.

Printing patterns at on-screen resolution has no effect.

All our machines are on OS 10.5.2 so I can't help with the OS 10.4 experiment unfortunately.

A fix would be appreciated.


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GA -

Have you tried using the Export PDF option to generate the PDFs?

The PDF created through the print dialog box is using the printer technology, not Adobe's technology, not to mention it's an image-based PDF instead of a true PDF file.

When you say you can't print to the Cannon, is nothing coming out of the printer, the pattern problem is cropping up, or something else? Please be very specific.

Also, try turning Quartz Imaging off to see if that has any affect.

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When I say I can't print, I mean nothing comes out of the printer. The print job gets sent from my computer to the printer (HP or Canon) where it will process indefinitely.

Turning OFF Quartz Imaging seems to solve the pattern issue.

For your information, I've done some quick tests while printing directly from VW 2008 with Quartz Imaging turned ON.

1. I started with a new blank document and drew a rectangle (solid line, no fill). This prints instantly.

2. I then gave the rectangle a solid colour fill. This prints instantly.

3. I then gave the rectangle a pattern fill. This will not print at all.

4. I then selected 'print patterns at on-screen resolution'. This does print. The quality of the pattern is terrible and an A4 print with one rectangle can take up to 5 minutes to come out. Printing a solid colour is instant.

Repeating steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 when printing from a Pdf has the same outcome. It doesn't matter if the Pdf is from the print dialog or the export function.

My conclusion. There is an issue with printing patterns in VW 2008 SP2 with OS 10.5.2. with Quartz Imaging turned ON. Looking at the other posts in the forum, it appears a similar issue exists with GDI printing on Windows.

We need to be able to print patterns with Quartz Imaging turned on.

You should be able to reproduce these tests yourself. Can you post your results.


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Workaround Summary - 3 ways to print patterns WYSIWYG:

1. Open and print your pdf with Apple's Preview.

2. Open the pdf in Preview and Save As pdf (it makes a copy, your orig file is intact). Open and print this new pdf from other software of your choice.

3. Open and print your pdf with Adobe Reader, but enable the Print as Image option in the Advanced pane of the AR print dialog. I think Adobe Acrobat has this option as well.


I am not convinced this is a VW problem. Using VW 12.5.2, OS 10.4.11, Adobe Reader 8.1.2 and Apple Preview 8.0.9, Epson 820 inkjet printers (letter size) and local copy services.

1. File info: VW sheet layer with viewports, patterns, colors, etc saved to PDF via print dialog. Sheet layer resolution is set to 300 dpi (or whatever, doesn't seem to make a difference). Document Settings print and export resolutions set to 150 dpi (or whatever, this doesn't seem to matter, either). Print Patterns at On Screen Resolution is selected in the VW print dialog.

2. Open the pdf file in AR. Views with patterns as expected. Print (Epson) with AR default settings - patterns print as dark vertical bands or as solid fill. Print with Advanced/Print as Image enabled, the patterns print as desired. Lines are not jaggy, and scale is correct.

3. Open in Preview. Views properly. Prints properly with default settings.

4. Open file in Preview, Save As copy.pdf. Open copy.pdf with AR and print on default settings. Guess what? The patterns print as desired.

5. Sometimes the print shops get the patterns right, sometimes not. The colors are often darker than desired, but that is another question. They all print direct from file to photocopier (not paper on-the-glass). Different shops have different software and different photo copiers. I will look into this later. I think the Preview Save As trick works for this, too.


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Benson Shaw,

Thanks for your detailed reply. You make some interesting points regarding printing from Pdfs, but the fact remains that we cannot print patterns directly from VW to our own printers and plotters. We can only print patterns if we turn off Quartz Imaging or check 'Print Patterns At On Screen Resolution'.

Turning off Quartz Imaging creates its own problems and 'Print Patterns At On Screen Resolution' does not achieve the quality we were accustomed to with older versions of VW.

I would be interested to know if anyone could replicate the simple tests I carried out in my last post.



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Same issue here. Vectorworks 2008 SP2, VW 10.4.11 and a HP1055cm. All drawings print fine except if there is a pattern. Some dont print at all but just sit there spooling for hours. When print patterns at on-screen resolution is checked the patterns print horribly scaled or something. I have issued and email to all our users to stop using patterns from now on but for our thousands of drawings that exist and are still being worked on its a not really an option to change all the patterns to solids.

We had also tried printing from PDF's out of Acrobat (Professional and Reader) with the same issues. Will test out Bensons work around for the minute but its a bit of a pain having to make pdf's of all files to print....!


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Also having the same problems with a HP Designjet 800ps. However, for us, the problem started with the upgrade to VW12. If we export drawings back to VW11 the patterns will print properly on the plotter.

The only reason we were using patterns was to achieve colours unavailable in the VW9/10/11/12 legacy palette.

Now that VW2008 can create any colour as a solid, we no longer have any use for patterns, so I would advise anyone else to banish them from their workflow.

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