12-13-2013 09:47 AM
We continue to run into problems whenever a site running classic PCL5 printers needs to replace one. We have a number of sites that do "legacy" PCL5 printing that it is not feasible to change; these are older Unix and VMS systems, not windows/mac/linux.
We keep running into printers that claim they have 40 or more fonts, but no pre-sales way to find out that in fact only a few are usable from PCL5, and the majority are only usable via PCL6 (which means if you don't have a driver you're screwed). In some cases these restricted printers also have problems downloading soft fonts (just like the compatibles from Ricoh and Canon used to have).
The old printer user guides used to list the available fonts. The new ones do not. They state we can print a PCL5 and PCL6 font list, but thats useless without having already bought (or found) said printer.
I have pursued this with HPSC (who wants an SAID for the specific printer before talking to me; in other words buy it THEN we'll tell you), and via presales chat and calls, with no useful results. The PCL docs, including the printer comparison guides have not been updated for years and do not cover any recent printers.
About 3 years ago I chased this up to some vice-president's office in the printing division, still could not get answers. Needless to say the website comment emails to the CEO didn't achieve anything either.
Am I missing something? Is there in fact any pre-sales means of getting this info short of posting a plea to the internet for someone who already has one of the possible printers and getting them to print a font list for us?
12-15-2013 04:32 AM - edited 12-15-2013 04:33 AM
I sympathise, but I doubt that you'll get much response from HP on this.
i had a slightly more obscure pre-sales question (see http://h30499.www3.hp.com/t5/Printers-LaserJet/Wha
I did eventually get an answer of sorts, on one of the forum's "Expert Days", but it shouldn't have to be a "getting blood out of a stone" experience for potential customers.
12-16-2013 03:35 PM
That is not what the experience should be, but it is apparently the experience the recent/current HP wants to provide, and has persisted in providing for quite a number of years now.
12-17-2013 03:08 PM
12-24-2013 09:53 AM
I sent a web online support request Friday with a list of 10 or so departmental printers that list PCL5, and specifically requested ONLY the list of PCL5-usable fonts. Got the autoresponse quickly but nothing since. We'll see what happens; certainly giving more leeway than normal due to this being Christmas week.
01-10-2014 10:17 AM
Never got a response from the "HP questions before you buy" page (other than the auto acknowledgement) so on Wednesday I sent a followup with the same list of printers, requesting their PCL5 supported font lists and confirmation that they will use PCL5 bitmap soft fonts. Again, got the auto-acknowledgement. If I don't hear back by Monday I'll start beating on Twitter again.
01-15-2014 10:36 AM
Sorry that you have had so much trouble trying to find which PCL5 fonts are supported on which printers. As you have stated, the documentation on this has not been updated recently - this is in part due to the fact that the internal fonts haven't changed much recently and newer printers support the same font set as older ones do.
As the documentation states, the PCL5 font list is the guide for a specific model and the font list does display the PCL5 escape sequences that are to be used to select a specific font.
Most of the HP LaserJet printers currently support more than 80 PCL5 fonts and these are all listed on the PCl5 font list and are all useable by PCL5.
If you can tell me which LaserJets you are looking at, I will send you the supported font list. Or if you have a specific list of fonts that you want to make sure are supported, I will take a look and let you know if those fonts are supported on certain devices.
01-17-2014 08:32 AM
thanks. I had just posted an equivalent query to the enterprise boards during the ask the expert day and unfortunately didn't get a usable response there... how to print the font list on a printer on-hand is not relevant when you're trying to find out which printers to buy,
If you have any avenue of pushing this as a problem with the powers that be please do. All we need is for the printer specs on the web, or the downloadable user guide, to include a list of fonts available under PCL5, and that standard PCL5 functions like bitmap soft fonts are supported, and there'd be no issue but we have been fighting with HP for _years_ now, even got up to some VPs office three years ago, and still ended up with no information or resolution.
Our customers are replacing printers at numerous levels of capacity and performance, from a terminal invoice printer that may only print 30-40 sheets per day (and so they want cheapest possible that will work) up to the occasional replacement for a LaserJet 8000. Experience shows that the more expensive printers (the ones that come with JetDirects instead of the generic network interface and cost high hundreds to low thousands) have almost always worked, while the cheaper ones are hit or miss. 4 years ago we had three low end "PCL5" printers purchased that got relegated to PC desktop printing because they had the very restricted PCL5 font list (only PCL6 had access to all the fonts) but we could not find that out ahead of time
So... I really need to know font lists and bitmap soft font support for the entire range of printers that claim PCL5 support. But for now the most requested have been the network versions of the following (and this is the list I sent twice to presales support and have received no response):
LaserJet Pro 400
Pro 400 Color MFP M475dn
Pro 400 MFP M425dn
Pro 300 Color MFP M375nw
Pro X476dn MFP
Pro X576dw MFP
Its been a while since I reviewed these on the website but all of them claimed PCL5 support. If you can get me the PCL5 font lists for _any_ of these it would be a help. If you can confirm that they will support PCL5 bitmap soft font downloads too, thats icing on the cake.
In general the forms on our customer systems (across many customers and many forms) use:
Line printer font (fixed)
Line printer with line-draw characters (fixed)
CG Times scalable
CG Times Bold scalable
univers medium scalable
univers bold scalable
univers condensed scalable
Arial Bold scalable
Helvetica Bold scalable
Times Roman scalable
Times Bold scalable
Letter Gothic Bold
there may be some other italic variants of the fonts used also but I think its minimal
Thank you for any info and assistance.
01-17-2014 03:55 PM
Thanks for the reply and the detailed information. I am working with the teams that "own" these products and will try to get the information to you as soon as we can. Also, we are trying to this information documented on the spec sheets for each of these products on the Web as well, but that may take some time to complete. We will keep you updated.
All PCL5 products "should" support downloaded PCL5 bitmap fonts, but it sounds like you have found instances where this did not work. Can you provide more information about the failures that were seen?
01-17-2014 08:25 PM
01-20-2014 03:23 PM
I had done that a few years ago but the local office stores only had the lower end PC printers set up for demos. Nothing with a JetDirect, just the more basic interface, and the USB connected printers.
01-20-2014 03:49 PM
thank you very much. I'm going to have to go back and dig through notes to see what the problem printers were (it was at least 3 years ago, and I expect they're no longer active products).
As much as I'd appreciate getting the info, please make them put it online, in the specs, in the user guides, somewhere. I imagine the number of customers who need this info isn't large, but I'd guess if the number hours I and others here have spent trying to get that info from HP adds up to over 100 by now.
A customer on the Enterprise board responded to my query there during the experts day and sent a PDF of the PCL font list for the Pro 400 Color MFP M475dn and that printer does have adequate font coverage.
The expert who responded told me how to print the font list from a LaserJet 1015... which we don't have.
01-20-2014 09:34 PM
>A customer on the Enterprise board
Actually this same board. It would be helpful to provide a link:
01-21-2014 09:11 AM
thanks! I posted the other via the 'expert day' link to the forums and initially didn't see both in the topic list. So while I regret the duplication I thought a new topic was necessary to get the attention of the Pro(s) during the special event.
01-21-2014 09:14 AM
Thank you for the replies. It sounds like someone else provided you with a few print outs of the font lists. Would you like additional ones? If so, please let me know.
Based upon your comments above, it sounds like what you really want is the information documented on the Spec sheets for the products on the web. We are working on this and hopefully we will be able to get this posted. I will keep you up to date on the progress.
01-21-2014 02:56 PM
yes, Chris H uploaded the PCL font list for the LaserJet Pro 400 Color MFP M475dn in the thread that was linked above, and has indicated he'll try a soft font load to it when he can.
And yes, while I need the info on these printers for current needs, I also hope HP is going to make the info available down the road, and for future printers as they come out. I know from comments elsewhere that I'm not the only person who has run into these problems due to the lack of detailed presales info.
I really appreciate your following up.
01-22-2014 05:17 PM
Attached are the PCL5 font lists for the:
Officejet Pro X476dn MFP
Officejet Pro X576dw MFP
products. I also received an email from an engineer on these products and he stated that they do have limited support for some downloaded permanent soft fonts on these devices. These devices do have very limited flash, and so the number of and size of downloadable soft fonts is limited.
We are working on getting you the PCL5 fontlists for the other products on your list as well. Hopefully those will be posted within the next few days.
We are also continuing to work on getting this information on the web-based spec sheets for the different products. I will keep you up to date as things progress.
01-23-2014 03:58 PM
thanks! Thats three printers down.
SamKnows posted in the other thread that the 85-font set will continue to be supported. If there is a way to know for sure which series of printers (f.ex all Pro printers? All P3xxx but maybe not all P2xxx? etc) that helps. He also posted that the Pro series support the downloadble soft fonts, formats 0, 10, 11,20,15 and 16, with plans to retain the capability.
Although it wasn't stated that _every_ Pro that supports PCL5 will have the full 85 font set, it sure sounds like that is the case and if so then any of the Pro series LaserJets or MFPs (that mention PCL5, I'm still going to be cautious) should meet the customers' needs.
I doubt our remaining customers are going to be in the market for enterprise-class printers (though its not impossible since they used them in the past) but I did get one person at HP to tell me about a year ago that if those specified PCL5 in the docs or specs that they would be fully compliant and compatible with PCL that printed on an HP5Si printer or equivalent
The remaining low end printers are still at issue.
I did find one reference from 2008 that four LaserJet P2015 printers, whose presales info said it was PCL5 compliant, had to be replaced at a customer site (with 2430s). The only reference we could find said that there were 45 scalable fonts. Turns out that was for PCL6. PS got 35 scalable fonts, and PCL5 only got 11 plus 11 lineprinter fonts.
None of the 11 scalable fonts available to PCL5 had proportional spacing. Only fixed pitch. This made it unusable for practically all of our customers except for line report printing (no forms, no invoices, no BOLs). We also had problems getting the bitmap font used for MICR to load, and I believe the font used for logo printing, but I haven't found the details on the errors. These are font files that worked perfectly from a LaserJet 4 up to current P3xxx and P4xxx series, and presumably (though I don't have one to try) a current Pro series.
I know that we had issues with P16xx printers also but have not found the references to what they were.
The result of the two printers being unsuitable despite being described as PCL5 compatible basically made it impossible for us to provide recommendations to customers unless we could get HP to tell us very specifically that the printers were FULL PCL5 printers and not restricted like the P2015, or if the customer was willing to spend the money to get a departmental class printer (P3xxx or better, even for a low volume invoice printer) where we actually never ran into the restricted PCL5 (but again could not know that for a fact until we either got hands on one or took the risk because we never could get HP presales to tell us up front).