Printer Friendly

No-hassle font control.

The ability to download fonts to a Hewlett-Packard compatible printer makes possible such tasks as desktop publishing with a large number of typefaces and font sizes. For technical work, WordPerfect 5.1 will print a multitude of symbols and characters as graphics (see Apr'90, p.6). While this makes it possible to handle technical text with ease, the time to print the text increases substantially as the number of special characters needed. The real solution is to download a set of technical characters such as those from Bit-stream (see Jan'90, p.8). Remembering to download the fonts is a nuisance and can be severely limited by the available RAM in the printer. If you forget to download the correct fonts, the wordprocessor doesn't know. With the wrong or no fonts downloaded, the printer can produce pages of garbage. Few printers have sufficient RAM to add a full set of text fonts in a variety of sizes and then add a corresponding set of technical fonts. BackLoader 2 is a memory resident program to keep track of your fonts and download them as you need them. You don't have to remember and are no longer limited by RAM as BackLoader ill unload the least frequently used fonts to make space for new ones and reload them later when they are needed.

I tried printing a document without downloading any fonts into my DeskJet. BackLoader went right into action. After a delay of about half a minute, the correct fonts were in and the page was printed. I switched to another document which required a different font set. After a similar delay, it printed correctly. Where fonts changed within the document, no apparent delay was seen as the printer's memory buffer was sufficient to keep the printer RAM a few pages ahead of the print head.

I managed to confuse BackLoader a few times. Once, I managed to have the same font set loaded twice. On another, the correct fonts were downloaded, but the page was not printed properly due to an idiosyncrasy of the DeskJet; it can move paper only in the forward direction. If fonts are added that are bigger than those in use, the paper is already advanced too far to position them correctly. As I usually print a draft before the final copy, this was not too much of an inconvenience. You can get around this feature by having BackLoader download an initial set containing the biggest or most frequently used fonts.

Overall, BackLoader hit it right most of the time. If you plan to use only one set of fonts with your word processor, programs such as WordPerfect 5.1 can download them all with no hassle. On the other hand, if you also want to use downloadable fonts with programs such as Lotus or BASIC, BackLoader makes life easy by quietly working in the background to ensure that the the correct fonts are available when needed.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Chemical Institute of Canada
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:BackLoader 2
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Date:Oct 1, 1990
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