Bulk printing under windows xp/2000?
June 8, 2005 8:15 AM   Subscribe

How the heck can I bulk print thousands of mixed documents under Windows 2000?

Ok... so here's my situation: as part of our production workflow, I've got to print about 1,000 documents every day. They're all word or html, sitting in a single directory.

I wrote a ghetto-ass php script that opens the docs using com objects within Word, but that seems to working worse and worse as the load increases.

Anyway, anyone have any tips of printing this type of stuff? Ideally, we'd just use Word, but it seems to get stuck open sometimes -- particularly when I'm printing html docs from word -- and that just backs up the entire queue.

I can't use the standard "select all," right click, then "print" feature either... it just can't handle the rock.
posted by ph00dz to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Listen, I have no idea if this would work well enough given your particularly unusual circumstance, but Word does offer a macro for "print, save, and close all open documents" --

Dim aDoc As Document
For Each aDoc In Documents
aDoc.Close SaveChanges:=wdSaveChanges
End Sub

I take absolutely no responsibility if this goes bonkers on you, and it doesn't always function incredibly well, but it may be of use to you. It's worked well for me for a number of years, although nowhere near similar numbers as those you're speaking of.
posted by WCityMike at 9:22 AM on June 8, 2005

Good grief, man. A thousand documents a day? I hope you have a good print server and network printer capaple of decent PPMs. I think your solution to queue up the jobs without overloading the server is pretty wise . You can also enable print pooling if you have several printers of the same type.
posted by boo_radley at 9:28 AM on June 8, 2005

posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:48 AM on June 8, 2005

Yeah... we've printed something like 81,000 pages in the last 2 months on our HP. Printer pooling sounds interesting, but we need to keep all this stuff in order to make it match with the shipping labels.

Maybe you're right, in regards to the print server... maybe that's where we should be looking.

Anyway, since I can't cut 'n' paste code into the forum, here's my sample code. Which kinda works...

Still... I like the WCityMike suggestion... it seems like that could work well if I brush up a bit on my VB.
posted by ph00dz at 10:02 AM on June 8, 2005

wcitymike's code will work just for documents that are already open within word. You could polish it up and produce something that will open the document, print it, and close it, but then you're duplicating what you've already got in PHP. I'm not knocking it, but you'll have to have enough resources to keep open your hojillion documents in word. Do you think you've got enough memory to keep them all open at once?

For 80 euros, monju_bosatsu's program looks dead sexy. Far better than the "Get one of these" suggestions the copy/print center guy gave me when I asked him about your question -- slapping his high-volume printer on the side.
posted by boo_radley at 10:46 AM on June 8, 2005

It sounds like AutoPrint has the same problem:
Batch print doc files using your copy of MS Word. Please note that this facility is provided as a courtesy only and we do not provide technical support for its use..

You may want to try:
(1) upgrading to WinXP
(1b) upgrade to latest word/office version
(2) adding more memory. Add as much as you can, but try to have at least 1 GB.

Printing 81k pages a month on the typical consumer HP might be pushing it. Check and see how many pages per month the printer is rated for, and expect to replace parts if you are exceeding its monthly duty cycle by much.

You may also want to look into things like the cost-per-page of the various printers. The cheaper printers generally take much smaller toner cartridges (higher cost per page), and the more expensive printers generally take larger cartridges (lower cost per page), but there are some exceptions.

Depending on how your modular your workflow is, you may want to outsource this task to a 3rd party that is set up for printing word documents at high volume.
posted by b1tr0t at 12:02 AM on June 9, 2005

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