Versions: Illustrator CS2 to CS5

What's covered

Adobe Illustrator is optimized for PostScript printing. In fact, many of the Illustrator advanced features can only be described using the PostScript page description language. Non PostScript printers (for example, Hewlett-Packard LaserJets, Canon BubbleJets, or Epson Stylus) use printer description languages that are not full programming languages (for example, PCL or QuickDraw) and are unable to describe all of the objects and attributes in Illustrator artwork. Most non PostScript printers rely on display information, host computer resources, and proprietary printer drivers to relay print information to the printer.

When you print from Illustrator to a non PostScript printer, objects may not print, or may print incorrectly. The behavior may vary with different printers and with different versions of the printer software. Non PostScript printing problems can manifest themselves in many different ways, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Text or other objects are partially or completely missing from the page.
  • A system error or freeze occurs.

However, the troubleshooting steps below may help you to print your Illustrator documents to non PostScript printers. In some cases, such as older printers whose drivers are no longer being updated, the troubleshooting steps may not solve the problem, and you may have to use a workaround. There are several workarounds listed at the bottom of this document.

Troubleshooting steps

The tasks in this section will help you isolate the most common causes of printing problems that occur in Illustrator. Before you begin these troubleshooting steps, make sure that a damaged Illustrator file is not the cause of the problem by opening a new file and trying to re-create the problem. If the problem does not occur in a new file, it is likely that you have a damaged Illustrator file. For information on troubleshooting damaged Illustrator files, see document 320318, "Troubleshoot damaged files (Illustrator CS2 and later)."

Always restart your computer after a system error occurs to refresh your computer's memory; continuing to work without restarting may compound the problem.

1. Update or reinstall the printer driver.

Contact your printer manufacturer to obtain the latest version of the printer driver for your printer. If you are using the latest version of your printer's driver and the problem persists, remove the driver, then reinstall it from the original installation disks or CD-ROM.

2. Change the Bitmap printing option in Illustrator.

If you use Illustrator for Windows, then change the Print As Bitmap setting in the Print dialog box. That is, if it's selected, then deselect it; if it's deselected, then select it.

To change the Bitmap Printing option, choose File > Print > Advanced and select or deselect Print As Bitmap.

Note: If you disable Print as Bitmap in the Print dialog box, Illustrator uses Graphic Display Interface (GDI) information and the printer driver to create vector-based print data, which prints more quickly but may result in inconsistent printing to some devices.

3. Use Enhanced PCL.

If you use Windows and your printer supports an Enhanced PCL printer driver, install the Enhanced driver. For instructions on installing an Enhanced driver for your specific printer, see the printer's documentation or contact the manufacturer.

4. Switch to a standard Windows video card driver.

Switch to a standard Windows video card driver by starting Windows in VGA Mode:

  • In Windows Vista and Windows 7: Choose Enable low-resolution video (640 x 480) from the list of startup options and press Enter. If this menu doesn't appear or flashes by too quickly, choose Start > Control Panel, Click System and Maintenance, and then click System, and then choose Advanced System Settings. Select the Advanced tab and then Select Settings in the Startup and Recovery area and increase the value for the Time To Display List Of Operating Systems option.
  • In Windows XP: Restart Windows, press the F8 key when prompted, and choose Enable VGA Mode from the menu. If this menu doesn't appear or flashes by too quickly, choose Start > Settings > Control Panel, double-click System, and then click the Advanced tab. Select Settings in the Startup And Recovery area and increase the value for the Time To Display List Of Operating Systems option.
  • In Windows 2000: Restart Windows, press the F8 key when prompted, and choose VGA Mode from the menu. If this menu doesn't appear or flashes by too quickly, choose Start > Settings > Control Panel, double-click System, and click the Advanced tab. Select Startup And Recovery and increase the value for the Display List Of Operating Systems For Seconds option.

If you can print correctly from Illustrator using the SuperVGA or VGA driver, then the driver for your video card may be damaged, outdated, or incompatible with your printer driver or Illustrator. To obtain an updated video card driver, contact the video card manufacturer.

5. Change the text format.

If text is printing incorrectly or not at all, then save a copy of the Illustrator file, and then do one of the following:

  • Apply a zero-point white stroke to the type.
  • Convert the text to outlines. For small text (that is, 24 points or smaller), apply a zero-point white stroke to prevent the stroke from distorting characters converted to outlines.
  • Rasterize the text in Illustrator by selecting the text with the Selection tool and choosing Object > Rasterize.

6. Add a hidden colored object.

If colored text is printing black and is the only color element on the page, then create a hidden object the same color as the text:

  1. Select the Rectangle tool, and then draw a rectangle and paint it with the same color you painted the text.
  2. Draw a rectangle large enough to completely cover the rectangle you created in step 1. Paint the new rectangle white and position it to cover the original rectangle.

7. Change the print layers option to All Layers.

Choose File > Print, click General, and select All Layers from the Print Layers menu.

8. Set a PostScript printer as the default printer. (Windows only)

Set a PostScript printer as the default printer in Windows. To set a default printer, choose Start > Settings > Printers (Windows XP, Windows 2000) or Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Printers (Windows Vista). Right-click the desired printer and choose Set as Default.

Note: If you do not have a PostScript printer, you can still install and set a PostScript printer driver one as your default printer:

  1. Choose Start > Settings > Printers (Windows XP, Windows 2000) or Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Printers(Windows Vista), and then select Add Printer.
  2. Follow the onscreen instructions, making sure you add a PostScript printer (for example, Apple LaserWriter Pro) rather than a non PostScript printer (for example, HP DeskJet). For instructions on using the Add Printer wizard, see the Windows documentation.

To print to a printer other than the default printer from Illustrator in Windows:

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. Choose your printer from the Printer menu.
  3. Click Done to close the Print dialog box and retain the printer, or click Print to print.

9. Print to a local printer.

If you are connected to a printer over a network, then connect the printer directly to the computer. If the file prints correctly, then network-related issues may be the cause. Contact your network administrator for assistance.

Workarounds

If after performing the troubleshooting steps you still cannot print to your non PostScript printer, the following workarounds may help you to print your Illustrator document.

10. Save the file as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file.

Save the Illustrator file as a PDF file by choosing Acrobat PDF from the pop-up menu in the Save As dialog box, and then open and print the PDF file from Adobe Reader.

11. Print from another application.

Print the Illustrator file from another application (for example, Adobe Photoshop, or Adobe InDesign).

Note: Other applications may have problems printing to non PostScript printers as well. You may need to save or export the Illustrator file in another format (for example, TIFF or EPS) or try different applications until the artwork prints as expected.

12. Print to a different printer.

Print to a PostScript printer or another non PostScript printer.

Note: Some manufacturers of non PostScript printers (for example, Hewlett-Packard or Epson) offer PostScript hardware or software for their printers. To determine the availability of PostScript hardware or software for your printer, contact the manufacturer.

 

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