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January 2000

Printing and Scanning
on the OS/2 Platform

by Tony Butka

Last time we left off by using HyperView (available from BMT) to convert an INF or HLP file to a text document, and then edit the document using Pillarsoft's Enhanced Editor. Of course, to be really useful and cool, it would be nice to embed some screen shots and graphics in with the text.

I use Clearlook (from Sundial Systems) for the final touches to my "manual" pages. First import the text into Clearlook from your ASCII text file. Then from within Clearlook point the cursor in the document to where you want your graphic image to go. From here, there are a couple of ways to get the image into your document. Using Clearlook, you can select File -> Import, and then use either Screen Clip or Window Clip to import the image. Of course you need to have that program open and displaying whatever window you want to import .

Another way to get the image in is to create a separate cell in Clearlook and import the graphic image into the cell. If you do the import this way, the text will layout/flow around the cell that has your image in it better. Try both and see what works for you.

Another way to handle screen clips is to use PMView, which also has a nifty delay option that lets you capture the inside of a window. If you use PMView to capture the images, remember that Clearlook only handles .bmp files. So from PMView, you can always capture the image as a tif or jpg, and then size the image and save as a bmp file (bmp files can get very large).

Anyhow, whichever technique you use, now you have a customized manual document of your favorite program, and using Clearlook you can add color, other graphics, headers/footers and such, to print out hard copy. Who knows, if the result is spiffy enough, you might even get that software publisher to use your document as a part of their offerings, especially as a postscript or Adobe PDF file. Remember, you can create a postscript file by choosing a postscript printer, select print to file as an option, and then name the file and save.

Your postscript file can be viewed with Ghostscript (you'll find all the necessary files on Hobbes), the freeware program covered in prior articles here, and converted to an Adobe PDF file. There is also a beta out of a program called PMPDF to convert postscript files to PDF within OS/2.

Of course you don't have to use Clearlook. It should be possible to do the same thing using your trusty old copy of DeScribe, or Lotus Smart Suite, or even a Windows 3.1 program like WordPerfect or Word, or probably even WordPerfect 5.1 or 6 for DOS.

If you use these techniques to create a manual of your own, let me see a copy of your finished project! Mabye we can create a section on the SCOUG site to maintain copies of the files for OS/2. I've always felt that documentation is one of the major problems with OS/2 and its software. Who knows, we could start a trend. Yeah, that's it. A trend.

Shifting gears

I know that after the Xmas holidays, folks have either gotten that scanner as a gift or are contemplating upgrading their printer or scanner as a gift to themselves. Well there are a couple of on-line resources that you should be aware of, even though they are not OS/2 specific.

For printers, check out
There is a fairly comprehensive on-line guide to buying a printer that runs you through a series of questions like multifunction (all in one printing and scanning and faxing) vs.regular, laser v. inkjet, and considerations as to the various manufacturers, review sources, and pricing links. All in all, a real keeper site. I really like having a single source for links to all the printer manufacturers web sites, the on-line shopping sources, auctions, and even newsgroups. The site also sell refill kits, tho' I haven't personally tried to do this. Perhaps the subjcet of an article one of these days.

If you've gotten the scanning bug, or are thinking of it, check out the site:
for a neat on-line manual and a good overview of the basics of scanning like video resolution and printing resolution, line art and Optical Character Recognition, and practical information on DPI, graphics file formats, trying for color calibration, and a number of links and FAQ's. Another keeper site.

Also, remember that with OS/2 you want to check the CFM ( or STI ( sites to make sure that that scanner you want is supported under OS/2. Or if you're adventurous, try the Sane site for Unix freeware ports to OS/2.

See you next month! Write to me at

You might want to read last month's Ink.

By day, Tony Butka is a bureaucrat for Los Angeles County. In his other life he lives in a loft surrounded by computers, printers, and a host of vinyl records.