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Print in Black and White, NOT GRAYSCALE!

2418 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: May 10, 2012 4:39 PM by Kurt Lang RSS
Laurence5905 Calculating status...
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May 3, 2012 12:48 PM



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)
  • Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,535 points)
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    May 3, 2012 1:49 PM (in response to Laurence5905)

    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?

  • Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,535 points)
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    May 3, 2012 2:35 PM (in response to Laurence5905)

    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.

  • Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)
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    May 3, 2012 3:04 PM (in response to Laurence5905)

    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.

  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,305 points)
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    May 3, 2012 3:30 PM (in response to Laurence5905)

    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.

  • Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,535 points)
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    May 4, 2012 7:03 AM (in response to Laurence5905)

    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.

  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,305 points)
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    May 4, 2012 7:48 AM (in response to Laurence5905)

    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.

  • Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)
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    May 10, 2012 1:35 AM (in response to Laurence5905)

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

  • Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,535 points)
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    May 10, 2012 4:39 PM (in response to Laurence5905)

    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.


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