12 Replies Latest reply: May 10, 2012 4:39 PM by Kurt Lang
Laurence5905 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

Hello,

 

I'm trying to print on my Mac in Black and White -- NOT grayscale.  The printer I'm using is a thermal printer that prints on heat-sensitive card-stock (a DataMax E-4203 printer) and when I print bar-codes on there the edges of the bar-codes are "fuzzy" as the Mac tries to convert it into a grayscale image instead of a pure black-and-white image.  With the edges being fuzzy instead of crisp, the bar-code scanner device I have simply cannot read the bar-codes.  If I use the software on a Windows machine, it prints the bar-codes perfectly, because in Windows I can set the printer to be Black and White, instead of Grayscale..

 

So, on a Mac (Mac Pro, OS X 10.7.3) how do I set it to print in pure Black and White, not Grayscale?

 

Thanks for any help you can give me,

Laurence MacNeill

Mableton, Georgia, USA


Mac Pro (Mid 2010), Mac OS X (10.7.3)
  • 1. Re: Print in Black and White, NOT GRAYSCALE!
    Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,990 points)

    Black and white is grayscale. What the problem sounds like is the software on the Mac side is trying to apply anti-aliasing to the bar code.

     

    Or do you more specifically mean the bar code is bitmap, which can literally only be black or white?

  • 2. Re: Print in Black and White, NOT GRAYSCALE!
    Laurence5905 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    The bar-code *is* a bit-map in the software.  It's getting "translated" on the Mac to be a gray-scale graphic of some sort as it's sent to the printer.  This makes the bars and dots in the bar-code get "fuzzy" which makes them unreadable when there is a lot of info in the bar-code.  (I'm talking 2-D bar-codes here, PDF417 and QR-Code).

     

    On the Windows PCs, there is a setting in the printer-setup to make it pure Black and White (1-bit grayscale, not 256-bit grayscale).  On the Mac there is no such setting.  I contacted the company who wrote the Mac printer-driver for this printer, and they tell me it's an OS problem; they have no control of the printer being treated like a grayscale device instead of a pure black-and-white device.

     

    So there must be a way (I hope) in the OS to tell it that I want this printer to be treated like a 1-bit grayscale device, not a 256-bit (or any other -bit) grayscale...

     

    Thanks,

    L.

  • 3. Re: Print in Black and White, NOT GRAYSCALE!
    Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,990 points)

    I contacted the company who wrote the Mac printer-driver for this printer, and they tell me it's an OS problem;

    Talk about passing the buck! They wrote the driver for OS X, didn't include the same options the Windows driver has, but it's OS X's fault. Sheesh!

     

    Not sure how to get around it in the print driver. It doesn't sound like there's a way to do it.

  • 4. Re: Print in Black and White, NOT GRAYSCALE!
    Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)

    You need to check all the option in the Printer dialog area, Driver, for an option to print in B&W. It really isn't an OS X problem. It is the Printer driver options problem.

     

    Next thing to do is stop using the Mac for this operation and use a Windows computer. Sounds fairly simple to me.

  • 5. Re: Print in Black and White, NOT GRAYSCALE!
    Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,340 points)

    This is a driver problem, and not an OS problem. The Brother MFC-9840CDW driver has a "Color" and "Mono" option, so if such an option is missing then it is the specific driver that is not built to use the printer as a 1-bit printing platform. Apple used to have a way to pipe images through quartz filters, one of which was a Black & White filter, so you could essentially force the printer to do the same thing; however, this has been removed from the prints system.

     

    You can do the same thing with the Colorsync utility. To do this, open the ColorSync utility, then use this to open your document (saving it as an image or PDF beforehand will ensure compatibility). Then at the bottom of the window choose "Apply Profile" followed by selecting the "Black & White" filter from the "Abstract" submenu, and then click "Apply."

     

    When the filter has been applied, the image will now be a 1-bit image, which should force the printer to handle it as a 1-bit device.

  • 6. Re: Print in Black and White, NOT GRAYSCALE!
    Laurence5905 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Next thing to do is stop using the Mac for this operation and use a Windows computer. Sounds fairly simple to me.

    That's the plan...  Just ordered a nice one from Dell...  Really thought the Mac would be easier to use, but it really hasn't been...  Perhaps I've just been using Windows PCs for too long, and am used to how they operate...

     

    Anyone want to buy a gently used, 3-month-old Mac Pro?  It's got a 27" Apple LED Cinema Display, 12GB of RAM, a Xeon 3.33GHz 6-core CPU, an ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card, an Apple DVD-RW SuperDrive, an aftermarket BD-RE drive made by MCE, a 2-TB HDD, and about 2.75 years left on a 3-year Apple Care plan.  $4,100 plus shipping.  I can accept a credit card through PayPal, or if you pay cash I'll discount the price to $4,000 plus shipping.  I'm located just outside Atlanta, GA, and you're welcome to come pick it up if you bring cash.

     

    I'm done with Macs...

  • 7. Re: Print in Black and White, NOT GRAYSCALE!
    Laurence5905 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    You can do the same thing with the Colorsync utility. To do this, open the ColorSync utility, then use this to open your document (saving it as an image or PDF beforehand will ensure compatibility). Then at the bottom of the window choose "Apply Profile" followed by selecting the "Black & White" filter from the "Abstract" submenu, and then click "Apply."

     

    When the filter has been applied, the image will now be a 1-bit image, which should force the printer to handle it as a 1-bit device.

    Tried this...  I save the print-out from the program as a PDF file, but it changes the size of the pages from 4"x3" to letter-size...  So even if ColorSync would do what you're saying it will do, I can't print a letter-sized document onto the 4"x3" card-stock that's in my thermal printer...

     

    The whole experience I've had with Mac printing is just awful...  I'm going back to a PC...

  • 8. Re: Print in Black and White, NOT GRAYSCALE!
    Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,990 points)

    The whole experience I've had with Mac printing is just awful...  I'm going back to a PC...

    You're taking a rather large loss on a new computer and spending the money on another one to fix one issue on an obscure piece of hardware? Do this instead.

     

    1) Cancel the order on the Dell.

     

    2) Use Boot Camp to install Windows on your Mac Pro. WAY less expensive to buy a copy of Win 7 to run on your Mac than the money you're planning to flush down the drain.

     

    3) Get on the lazy butts of the company that make your thermal printer to write a Mac driver that has all of the same settings and features of the Windows driver. Which may not be easy as their site marks the printer you have as discontinued, though still supported.

     

    DataMax has one heck of a crappy site. I've looked around a dozen pages and can't find something as simple as print drivers to download.

  • 9. Re: Print in Black and White, NOT GRAYSCALE!
    Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,340 points)

    Try this:

     

    1. In the original document, press Command-P to print.

    2. Select the paper size from the drop-down menu (you can specify custom sizes here).

    3. When the size is appropriate for your printer, click the PDF menu and choose "Open PDF in Preview"

    4. In the new document, choose "Save" from the File menu

    5. In the Save dialogue box, choose "Black and White" from the "Quartz Filter" menu.

     

    After you do this, the saved file should be a 1-bit file with the specified dimensions, which you can then print to your printer.

  • 10. Re: Print in Black and White, NOT GRAYSCALE!
    Laurence5905 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    You're taking a rather large loss on a new computer and spending the money on another one to fix one issue on an obscure piece of hardware? Do this instead.

     

    1) Cancel the order on the Dell.

     

    2) Use Boot Camp to install Windows on your Mac Pro. WAY less expensive to buy a copy of Win 7 to run on your Mac than the money you're planning to flush down the drain.

     

    3) Get on the lazy butts of the company that make your thermal printer to write a Mac driver that has all of the same settings and features of the Windows driver. Which may not be easy as their site marks the printer you have as discontinued, though still supported.

     

    DataMax has one heck of a crappy site. I've looked around a dozen pages and can't find something as simple as print drivers to download.

     

    Yes, DataMax's web-site is awful... But they don't support the Mac at all, so even if their web-site was great, you'd never find Mac drivers to download...  The Mac driver for this printer comes from a company called the Peninsula Group, and they write drivers for dozens of different thermal printers...  They claim that they cannot write a driver that has all the features of the DataMax Windows driver, because of limitations of the CUPS printing system on the Mac...  I claim that's B.S., but how am I going to prove otherwise?

     

    I considered running the Mac in Windows BootCamp mode all the time -- but then what's the point in owning a Mac?  Originally I was happy to be making the switch from PC to Mac...  But everything (not just printing, but nearly everything I do) is more difficult on a Mac...  Owning this machine has been the worst computing experience I've ever had...  No joke..  I've never had such trouble doing what I want to do...  Nothing works the way it should work.  Nothing.

     

    If I had been using Macs all along, then perhaps I'd feel differently...  But everything is so different on a Mac, that I just can't seem to get used to it...  For crying out loud, the Home and End keys don't even work right!!  I hit End and I expect the cursor to go to the end of the LINE, not the end of the DOCUMENT!  (End of the document is what Ctrl+End is for, dammit!)  What the **** is up with that?!  And scrolling is wrong, too...  It scrolls up when I pull down on the mouse-scroll.  Everything is backwards on the Mac...  I've truly grown to hate it the more I use it...  I'll not be buying another Mac, if I can help it...  Wish I'd never bought this one...  Call it a very expensive lesson learned...

     

    L.

  • 11. Re: Print in Black and White, NOT GRAYSCALE!
    Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)

    Good Luck and I hope you get a good proce for it.

  • 12. Re: Print in Black and White, NOT GRAYSCALE!
    Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,990 points)

    I claim that's B.S., but how am I going to prove otherwise?

    I would have to agree. Especially if they have fully functional drivers for UNIX or Linux. OS X is BSD UNIX underneath, so it should work the same way.

    I considered running the Mac in Windows BootCamp mode all the time -- but then what's the point in owning a Mac?

    It would seem silly, but there are quite a few folks who buy them to run Windows only. Apple's reputation for quality hardware is what draws such buyers. There was someone here a while back who bought one to run straight, command line UNIX.

    But everything (not just printing, but nearly everything I do) is more difficult on a Mac

    That is a matter of learning the OS. You know Windows up and down, not OS X. Some things are basically the same, other things are very different. Trying to use Linux with the Gnome GUI wouldn't be any easier. You already know the basic concepts, but it would still drive you crazy for a while.

    I hit End and I expect the cursor to go to the end of the LINE, not the end of the DOCUMENT!  (End of the document is what Ctrl+End is for, dammit!)  What the **** is up with that?!

    What's up with that is it's not Windows. After years of using DOS and Windows before switching to the Mac, it still kind of drives me nuts, too.

    And scrolling is wrong, too...  It scrolls up when I pull down on the mouse-scroll.

    A very simple change in the System Preferences will put scrolling back to the "normal" direction.