Printing rubbish from external documents

Forum Forums General Hardware Printing rubbish from external documents

  • This topic has 3 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated Oct 1-8:16 am by PPC.
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      I have a usb cable-connected HP Laserjet 4100N printer which seems to be in very good working order. The only reason it is not network connected is that my wlan adapter is too far from the printer to be dependably connected.

      The printer prints any kind of document except one – certain pdf documents originating outside my own installation. If I create a pdf using LibreOffice it prints as it should, but if I try to print a couple of pages from my LandRover electrical manual it prints all manner of rubbish, including special characters, generates page throws and generally wastes paper. Yet other documents from outside such as laboratory analysis reports it prints correctly. It seems that in certain documents there are escape and control characters that the printer is interpreting as direct commands to the line feed and carriage return functions, just as was sometimes the case with the old line and page printers of ICL mainframes 50 years ago.

      I sometimes feel that certain documents have been ‘doctored’ by the makers to prevent their being satisfactorily printed, constraining the legitimate user to screen viewing only. Has anyone else come across this difficulty? Or have I done something wrong or failed to do something right in my routine printer setup?

      I am running antiX release 22, fully up to date, and the printer was defined by the hardware/print settings/add printer sequence dialogue, and was connected and switched on, driver discovered automatically, and causes no other trouble.


        I had problems some years ago with a similar pdf file that wouldn’t print correctly. I ended up converting it to an image pdf and then printing it with the printer.
        Experiment with already available options in antiX, like “Print to File” or “PDF” from the printing options, and later only print 1 of the problematic pages from the new pdf to see if it is fixed. Worse case scenario is converting the pdf file to images and then those images to PDF again (that is what I ended up doing in the past).

        If someone has a better solution, please share it as I am interested in case this happens to me again.

        • This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by abc-nix.

          Hi, luckily, I haven’t experienced this but a quick web search (using keywords: PDF printing rubbish) indicates many others have also in Windows and Mac.

          1) How do you print the documents (lpr; from PDF viewer – which one, e.g. xpdf, evince, some of the browsers?)
          You could try different methods and see whether it works.

          2) Is it possible to get a print preview to see whether the print will be messed up (in a reliable way)?

          3) Are there any other drivers available or upgrade to printer’s firmware?

          4) What about the “source” fonts and encoding used?
          Some web pages claim wrong encoding of fonts could be responsible.

          Indeed, print as image seemed to work even in Windows, see e.g.


            Please try this – try to print the .pdf files using firefox-esr, firefox or any other modern web browser – just in case the app you are using has some problems sending the file to the printer… I had I similar problems some time ago and I think I solved them that way…

            Edit: one odd work around would be, like abc-nix suggested, trying to print the .pdf to pdf (instead of using the real printer). If the generated .pdf file looks ok, try to print that…


            • This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by PPC.
            • This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by PPC.
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