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PaperCut 13.1 Release (and Behind The Scenes)

This week we unwrap PaperCut version 13.1!  Following on from 13.0’s massive release, including the headline Print Archiving feature, 13.1 delivers dozens of improvements across the entire product.

The release notes (see NG or MF) contain a full list of all the changes, so for this blog we thought we would do a deep-dive on just one 13.1 feature: Page-level Color Detection.

PaperCut looks closer at your documents than even this!

Page-level Color Detection is an important part of PaperCut. Counting the color pages is a simple concept to understand, but you may be surprised by the complexity under the hood faced by the PaperCut engineers who bring you this functionality. To count the color pages, PaperCut must read the print spool files and there are many printer languages that must be supported. Prior to release 13.1, PaperCut supported the PCL, PostScript and XPS printer languages (PDLs) for color detection. With release 13.1 we’ve added the Windows EMF (Enhanced MetaFile) print language.

Why EMF? Even if you already have PostScript or PCL capable printers, a driver-level configuration change was necessary to ensure spool files did not render in EMF, which is the Windows default spool file format. To make this change users were referred to the manual. Our goal is that all mainstream features work “out of the box” without complex configuration or making it necessary to consult the manual. As software developers we also don’t like reading manuals!

We’ve found that this driver configuration step is an often forgotten task. Now that we have EMF support there is less need for driver configuration. We feel we are now one step closer to our ultimate goal of having Page Level Color Detection the default option for new printers.

Adding EMF support was a major challenge for our engineer Peter. EMF is an internal, undocumented Windows format. Many hours have been spent wrestling with the Windows API, GDI and font anti-aliasing to ensure accurate color page counts. We’ve tested with many real-world documents as well as contrived samples to verify the feature. We even held an internal competition to see who could “trick the logic”. None could. A sign of a good development team is that the challenging projects like this one are also the fun ones!

Please refer to the relevant release history for full details of all 13.1 enhancements:

Image: cc-by-ca by Siri Hardeland


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Comments

  • Ross

    Great update guys.
    For me one of the stand out features is the option to assign multiple ID’s to a user within the Admin UI.
    Typically a user will have no idea what number is on the card/fob they use on a daily basis. Even if they did know the number it is often 8+ characters in a hex format and difficult to remember. Most numbers read from a card will mean very little to the end user they simply swipe and go.
    Being able to assign a second shorter/friendly ID will help in cases where a user forgets or loses a card is very handy.

    • Chris

      We agree. This was an often requested feature. It’s nice to roll in these small, but very useful enhancements.

  • Patrick

    Thanks for the EMF Support. This will make life much easier with some of our printers, who’s drivers require advanced print features be enabled!

    • Chris

      The “Advanced Printing Features” options is occasionally hijacked by drivers to turn on/off other features. The option use to be called “Always spool in RAW” (and the registry key backing the setting is still called this), however it was renamed a few Windows versions ago. Since then some drivers have re-purposed it for their own settings – frustrating! Anyway the new color detection for EMF is great plus in those situations.

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  • Josh

    Would be nice to be able to put printers on the main page after log in. And by printers, I mean, printers with in the support area that I support. We use this product campus wide but I would like to be able to populate a box with just the printers in my areas to get a quick glance at them.

    • Chris

      Good idea. Do you mean in the dashboard page, or a “widget” that could could drop on to any page? There are some web widgets that report the printing environmental impact. It would be a good idea to also have one like this for printer status.

      https://www.papercut.com/products/ng/manual/ch-user-services-gadgets.html

      I’ll add it to our list for future consideration.

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