Creating and Printing Continuous Logs in LogPlot7

The process of banner printing can be confusing.  First, a couple of general concepts:

  • LogPlot typically creates a banner (continuous) print by creating multiple 8.5 x 11 pages which are chained together with no top or base margins.  That’s the key – you still get a multi-page log but the print occupies the full 11″ extent of the letter-sized paper.  This allows these individual pages to print with no breaks on a roll of paper.  Of course, you can choose a legal page size if you prefer (8.5 x 14) or tabloid (11 x 17) if the printer offers these.  But the key is the no-margin setting.
  • Another option is to specify one very long, custom page length in the printer software to accommodate the entire log on the roll output.  While this is possible, it requires futzing with the page size for each log, which is a pain, AND both the printer and Logplot can run out of memory processing the content for such a large “page”.  I don’t recommend this method unless absolutely necessary.
  • The paper size and the printable portion of that paper (all defined by the printer driver) is stored in the log design in LogPlot.  This is how LP knows how to fit the graphic log on the sheets at compile time.

All plotters offer marginless printing, but sometimes it’s tricky to know how to set this in the driver AND to have LogPlot understand it.  I recommend that users first read the help topic about setting the log’s page size in the Help:

LogPlot Help Window

LogPlot's Help Topic on Setting Your Page Size

The goal: to get the Printable Length of the printer’s “page” to equal the Page Length (e.g. no margins).

Example:  I go to the Windows Control Panel, Devices & Printers.  I right-click on my HP Designjet T520 and choose Printing Preferences.  Here is the window, set to Letter “sheets”, roll paper source, portrait orientation:

HP T520 Printing Preferences Window

HP T520 Printing Preferences Window

I then click the Margins/Layout button to tell the driver that I want Oversize printing so that there will be no margins (contents equal to paper size).

HP T520 Margin Settings

HP T520 Margin Settings

I Apply these settings and close the printer driver window.

In LogPlot, when I go to my log design, choose File | Setup, and choose this printer name, my Printable Length matches my Page Length (top of window). This indicates LogPlot now understands the driver’s setting for no top/bottom margin. Yay!  I click the Set Default Size at the bottom so that my LogPlot page now equals the printer page.

LogPlot Page Setup Window

LogPlot Page Setup Window

All printer/plotter drivers have a different setup; if you get stuck contact our tech support group.

Once you have the page setup in your log design, then compiling the continuous log in LogPlot is easy.  In the Compile window, click on the Header + Footer tab and check the Continuous Output option.  This tells the program to put the header at the top of the first page and the footer at the bottom of the last page, with none in between.  (You can actually disable headers/footers entirely if you like.)

LogPlot Compile Window

LogPlot Compile Window - Header + Footer Settings

One other comment:  If you have an existing continuous log that you need to repaginate for a new/different page length for a new device, follow these steps:

1. Open a new LogView window in LogPlot7 (File | New | LogView).
2.  Choose the File | Open with Page Dimensions menu option.
3. Select the LPT file you wish to repaginate and print.
4. You’ll see the Page Setup window shown above. Be sure the printer info in the upper  part of the window is set up correctly, then click on Set Default Size in the lower part.
5. Click OK. LogPlot will repaginate the continuous log for the new page settings.

Creating Batch PDF Output for Your LogPlot Logs

If you want to create PDF output of a bunch of logs created with LogPlot7, you can automate this using the Log | Batch Compile menu command. Here are the steps I’ve taken to set this up. NOTE that this requires that you have a PDF program, such as Adobe Acrobat Pro, or any of the free PDF printers (PDF995, CutePDF, etc. – see RockWare forum postings regarding these) installed as a printer in your Windows system.

1. First, be sure you’re using a build of LogPlot7 that is or newer.

2. Set up your PDF printer as the default printer in LogPlot, using the program’s File |  Setup command. (On some systems you may also need to set up the PDF printer as default in the Windows Control Panel before launching LogPlot.)

3. You can set up the page size for the printer as well.

LogPlot Page Setup window

Setting up the PDF Printer Page Size

4. Set up the PDF printer driver to NOT prompt for PDF file names, and set the output folder to the same folder where the data files reside. I’ve attached an example of what my Acrobat Professional screen looks like, though your version or your PDF printing software may be different. Note that this is an important step so that you won’t be prompted for each PDF output file name.

PDF Print Settings

PDF Print Settings

5. Then, select the Log | Batch Compile menu option in LogPlot.

6. Click the Add button, and in the Batch Editor window define the name of the data file, the log design, scale, and other compile settings. Be sure Print is selected, and be sure the Save as LPT file is also selected and a name defined. (The PDF file name will be based on the LPT name you define here.)

7. Click OK when you’re done, and you’ll see this log’s items listed in the batch window.

LogPlot Batch Window

LogPlot Batch Window

8. Repeat for additional files, though you might start with just a handful to get the hang of it and to be sure the PDF files are actually being created.

9. Save your batch at some point, using the Save button in the Batch Compile window. At a later date, you can use the Load button in this window to load an already-saved batch listing.

! Note: the BTC file that is created is an ASCII XML-type file. If it is easier for you to modify the BTC file directly to add other logs, you certainly may do so, just be careful about the XML syntax.

10. To run the batch, just click the Go button at the bottom of the Batch Compile window. LogPlot should load the selected DAT file, compile it into the selected LDFX file using the indicated settings, save the requested LPT file, and print to PDF, storing the PDF file in the requested folder.  It will repeat this process for each item listed in the batch.

11. If you want to append all of the PDF’s into a single file, you can use Adobe Acrobat’s File | Combine | Merge Files menu option.

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