Reporting problems

I want to send a sample of my PCL data for you to investigate my problem but it's too large. How should I send it?
Simply extract the first page or two using EscapeE's File/Save subset option. If you start at page 1 this is just a copy of the the first part of the file and will be fine as long as the problem is in that region of the document. If you start elsewhere EscapeE attempts to set the correct state (e.g. include downloaded fonts and macros) but does not attempt to set up some of the more obscure aspects of the environment such as stacked colour palettes. Therefore if saving the middle part of a file it's best to check it still shows the problem before sending it.

Internet trial/registration

I had a problem installing the trial version of EscapeE from the RedTitan web site.
Sometimes company firewalls cause a problem with the automatic installer. Click here to download a zip file version.

The web site does not say which version of Escape is being downloaded?
The web site automatically downloads the most up-to-date version of Escapee.

Which version of PCL is supported by EscapeE?.
Most PCL features up to and including PCL5e, and more besides; for example we handle colour palettes and HP-GL technical extensions which are not standard PCL5. Version 8 supports PCL6 (PCLXL). Version 8.27 supports PCL3GUI including mode 10 compression. If your PCL files require features we do not support then please send us examples.

I have downloaded Escapee from the web site and want to use it for export and data conversions, but this version does not appear to support this.
The version you have downloaded works as a viewer in demonstration mode. The full features are not enabled until the program is registered. Registering entitles you to a one month free trial and can be done via the Internet or by fax or e-mail (see below).

How do I register?
If you start an unregistered version of EscapeE you will be prompted. See the File | Register EscapeE menu. You will need a valid email address.

How do I uninstall the demo version that I downloaded?
You can use the regular Windows uninstall. Choose "Add or Remove Programs" on the Control Panel

After updating EscapeE, why do the PDF files created contain the header "Unlicensed Demo Version of the RedTitan EscapeE Program"?
This may be for one of three reasons:
a) you did not manage to install the licence file on the computer which is running EscapeE. More...
b)The PC ID that you gave us is that of a different computer. EscapeE is licensed to run only on that PC.
c) You have an old version of EscapeE which requires a slightly different licence. If your version dates from before 17th July 2001 then this is likely to be the problem. If you run EscapeE and click on Help and About it tells you the version number. If this is earlier than 5.11 it is best to download a later version from our web site at www.pclviewer.com or you can request an old-style licence file.

Viewing files

I would like to view a .prn file which was created using a HP LaserJet 5000 Series PS driver.
EscapeE doesn't handle Postscript - you need to use the Laserjet PCL driver. You may need to install the driver via 'Start|Settings|Printer|Add Printer'. (You may need the appropriate Windows CD.) Then choose the PCL5 driver when creating the file.

Automatic use

Is it possible to do a batch conversion of files?
Yes. All of EscapeE's functions are available from the command line: e.g:
      ESCAPEE 1234.PCL /PDF
creates a file 1234.PDF by default but you can specify the output file using a /TO option. You can also set it up to run continuously and watch for files appearing in a particular directory. The ESCAPEE.PRN file which comes with EscapeE (and can be viewed by it) gives the most up-to-date list of the command-line options.

Is there a simple way of constructing a command line?
Open the ‘Options|Configuration’ dialogue and set up the required options, then click on Shortcut. This saves the appropriate command line options as a shortcut (or you can copy the parameters from that dialogue and use them on a command line). If you just want to call the program from the Start menu or the desktop you can set up the default directory in the program’s ‘Properties’.

Can I do batch conversion without the viewer displayed?
There is an option, /WINDOW 1, which will cause EscapeE to run minimised e.g.
      ESCAPEE TEST.PCL /PRINT /PAGE 5-9 /WINDOW 1

Is there a way to have EscapeE shut down after launching it from the command line?
Yes, the /X option does this. The command-line options are described in the Help section 'Command line syntax: other options. They are also documented in the EscapeE.PRN file which is dispayed when you first install EscapeE.

What throughput can I expect when converting in batch mode? Also what are the system requirements (within reason) for maximum throughput?
It depends on the PCL file: images slow the conversion down. For typical pages containing normal text it should be possible to achieve many pages per second on any reasonable machine. Users are unlikely to need a more highly specified machine than say 300Mhz with 64Mbyte of RAM.

Is TCP/IP input or output available?
Yes - it supports TCP/IP input from a specified port and can send its PDF output via LPR.

Can I control EscapeE remotely?
Yes. EscapeE can be controlled remotely from a browser using RedTitan's NQ server.

Do you have a version that works under UNIX?
EscapeE works well using the Wine emulator on Linux. See the Linux comes of Agenews arcticle

How to I capture windows print driver output?
RedTitan have a Port Monitor that does the job. Download the CapturedTitan Windows print capture utility

Customising EscapeE

Can I process just selected pages?
Yes. For one-off conversions the 'File | Export' menu has the option to process specified pages. More...

Can I look for and open files up in a specified mapped network drive?
Yes. EscapeE normally looks for files in the directory that the software is installed on, but you can change this in various ways, depending on how you are running the program. More...

Is EscapeE available as a dll or ocx that can be used by custom software?
EscapeE is written in Delphi (Version 5) but no DLL or OCX is available as yet. However it can be given a command line which allows virtually all the features to be exploited. It is possible to save a configuration and invoke it later using the syntax ESCAPEE ^configname.

Can I get a customised version of EscapeE, e.g. without the splash screen or with special options?
RedTitan is happy to help with individual solutions and corporate alliances. Contact us at help@redtitan.com.

Printing from EscapeE

Can I change between different paper sizes, e.g, letter and legal, within the same document when printing from EscapeE?
Yes, EscapeE adjusts for different paper sizes. If your document does not explicitly select a paper size then you you may need to change the default paper. This can be done using the Options|Configure|Printer menu.

Can I print in automatic mode?
Yes. You can do this from the command line e.g:
      ESCAPEE TEST.PCL /PRINT /PAGE 5-9 /WINDOW 1 /X
prints pages 5 to 9 of a document called TEST.PCL
The only limitation is that in this mode there is no way of selecting the printer: EscapeE will use the default one.

I exported an HP document to PDF but when I printed the page on the same HP printer, it was reduced in size?
This does not normally happen. One possible reason is if the document uses a paper size bigger than the default paper for the printer then Acrobat uses the 'Shrink to fit' option, which would give the effect you describe. If EscapeE shows the document correctly on the screen, then try the Print option and check that the result is correct. Then check that Acrobat displays the page correctly (note the paper size displayed on its status bar at the bottom of the screen). If so, select a suitable size paper in the Print dialogue and you should get correct results.

We currently use a COBOL program to produce hard copy and are having problems with page breaks
EscapeE behaves exactly like the printer you have configured it to emulate. Check that you have the correct set-up for your printer. More...

I tried using EscapeE's plain text export, and the file produced seems to be a lot of jibberish
Some printer drivers assign non-standard code to the characters in their download fonts - try selecting a different driver. More...

TIFF export

The file displays correctly in EscapeE but when I create a TIFF and print it the data is too low on the page.
The problem lies in the way the TIFF file is being printed. If you open the TIFF file in EscapeE (it views TIFFs as well as PCL files) then it will print correctly. However for example the Imaging program that comes with Windows allows a top and left margin, so the text prints too low and too far to the right. The solution is to reduce the area of the TIFF to the printable region by exporting only the selected area (see Options/Configuration/Images).

PDF export

Why when I print the PDF is the print-out not in the same size as the print-out of the pcl file?
This is because Acrobat has resized the page to fit on the printable area of the paper. (Acrobat doesn't spot that there is nothing printed in the border.)
In the print menu for Acrobat version 5 you have a check box "Shrink oversized pages to paper size" which in earlier versions of Acrobat was "Shrink to fit". If this box is unchecked then the PDF should print at the original size.

The characters are not rendered very clearly when viewing the PDF at low magnification.
By default, text is represented as characters using PDF bitmapped (type 3) fonts. Acrobat does not render these very well at small sizes, though the file will print correctly. Try turning off 'Smooth text and monochrome images' from the Acrobat 'File|Preferences' menu. More...

Why are some horizontal lines thicker than others when I use Adobe to view a PDF file converted from PCL?
Some PDF viewers display rounding errors at low magnification. Zoom in to the page and you will see that lines of equal thickness in the original and converted files will appear correctly in the viewer too. More...

When files are converted to PDF is the content of the PDF file 'text' or is it 'bit mapped'?
Any text in the input PCL document will be output as text in the PDF document which EscapeE creates. Some drivers, however, output certain types of text as graphics, so if your input PCL file was created by one of these, the "text" may not be quite what it seems! More...
If you prefer to have the text bitmapped, choose ‘Render as a graphic’ in the PDF advanced configuration options

Is it possible to edit or extract text from the PDFs after they are created?
Any text in the original file will be present in the exported PDF file so a PDF editor would allow text editing and searching. It might be necessary to change the code conversion table for output from certain drivers - see "Font display issues". RedTitan can supply Plug-ins ("AddText" and "MoveText") for EscapeE; these enable you to edit the document before it is exported to PDF.

Does EscapeE implement PDF security features?
Yes, version 4.50 allows users to set passwords for access to documents and to control:
a) Printing
b) Selection of text and graphics for copying to the clipboard
c) Changing the document
d) Adding or changing notes and form fields

XML creation

Is it possible to extract to PDF or TIFF and generate the XML extraction file at the same time?
Yes. You can export to an image format or PDF and at the same time extract text fields to XML, Comma-Separated, or Plain Text format. These fields can be defined on a per-document basis or there can be a default set for each directory in which input files appear.

Can I do this in automatic mode from a watched directory?
Yes. To create TIFF and XML simultaneously you need to define a field covering the area of interest. Then in the Options|Configuration dialogue select the input file specification, select TIFF output, and possibly give an output specification if the default is not suitable. Then click 'Image options' and in the Log File section choose 'XML' as the format and 'All fields'. Click on the Automatic tab and enable the timed check for files, e.g. every 5 seconds.

What about logging (page counts, etc.) into a database as well?
The file logging mechanism is not currently available in conjunction with the field extraction.

Can EscapeE create XML style sheets in addition to creating the tagged XML data?
Yes, in version 4.70.

I defined a number of fields through the page view method, but when I ran the XML export I only got the page numbers and no additional data?
It's possible you inadvertently defined the fields as being relative to a tag which did not occur on any of the pages. Another possibility is that you asked to output only the selected fields and failed to select the fields you require.

Data extraction

I have a number of documents that are very similar in layout. Is there a way of simplifying the data extraction?
When you mark up data fields and extract them, EscapeE creates a file (extension *.EE) with the field name definitions. So rather than redefining each whole document you can use the same .EE file and make the few modification manually to create a new .EE file.

There doesn't seem to be a place to define where the .EE file is. Do I need to put DEFAULT.EE in the same folder as the print files?
You can do this - it will apply to all files in that folder unless they have a EE file with the same stem. More...
You can specify virtually all the EscapeE options on its command line if you require (see the User Guide or Help for more information).

I need text extraction for the whole document, not for fields. Is there a way to get the text contents extracted and TIFFs produced in one pass?
Proceed as follows:
1. Define a field comprising the whole page. The easiest way to do this is to view the whole page, sweep it all out and right click. Choose the New Field option and (after perhaps changing its name) click on the New Field button in the resulting dialogue. This will by default create a field definition file called xxxx.EE where xxxx is the stem of the name of the file you are viewing. You can change this name to DEFAULT.EE if you like, and this will avoid having to call up the field definitions explicitly for other documents in the same directory.
2. Request logging of fields in text format via the Options menu or when exporting the file.

When I try to extract text I get an empty file - why is this?
There is no text in your file, merely graphics, and EscapeE doesn't do OCR! If it was produced by a Windows driver there may well be a way of persuading it to produce text. In the Print Setup dialogue click on Properties, then on Fonts. Make sure you choose either Download TrueType fonts as outline soft fonts or as bitmap soft fonts. You can tell if your file is mainly graphics if

  1. The file is huge and displays rather slowly
  2. If you right click on some text it doesn't enable the "Text details" or "Font properties" options, only "Graphic details"

When I tried to extract text I obtained rubbish in my file. Why is this?
You are suffering from the non-standard character codes used by some drivers. Most of the problems come from Windows drivers, since customised software or Unix systems tend to drive printers in a fairly straightforward way, so I assume your output was created via a Windows driver.
When you use fonts which are not resident on the printer and the driver is forced to download the fonts it may not use the standard ASCII or Latin-1 codes. More...

In some of the fields why is there more text included than I marked? The problem is that there are two overlapping pieces of text in your field, so EscapeE concatenates the two. The solution is to be more specific in the searching criteria or perhaps to be more accurate in delimiting the field. For example if the two pieces of text are in different fonts or sizes then you can specify the attributes of the one you want in the Fields/Searching dialogue. You can check for overlapping fields by right-clicking on the text and choosing Text Details. You will see a line for each piece of text found at the point where you clicked.

When I try to extract a number of fields from the detail line of an invoice, additional data is picked up on this line.
A line is considered part of the field if any part of it falls within the field and the characters on such lines are included if at least half the character's width is in the field. If the fields are not well aligned with the data, extra lines may become included. It is therefore crucial that the fonts do not change between defining the fields and extracting the data (e.g. if Courier is substituted for a missing font). You can sometimes avoid this by making the fields relative to an explicit tag: e.g. make the description fields use the 'Description' text as a reference, so that their offsets are measured from wherever that text is printed.
Tip: the View menu has a Fields option which if ticked causes all the fields to be shown in yellow, and any selected contents in red.

How can do I define a field relative to a tag?
To change a field right click on it and choose ‘Field properties’. You can set up fields which only appear for those pages containing a specified textual tag by making them refer to a tag. You define the tag by right-clicking on the tag wherever it appears on the page and choosing ‘Define tag’. The text that you clicked on will be shown in the Tag box and may be edited if required. then click on OK. Then define your field by marking it out (or select an existing field) and in the Field Properties dialogue you click on the Reference Field box, then choose the appropriate tag as a reference.

Can I define the page field tags, names and positions directly in the .EE file without having to use the page viewer?
You can write the .EE file yourself, since it is XML and therefore just a text file.

When extracting fields, do you have a way of handling different page formats in a single PCL file?
The field extraction can be tailored to each different kind of page by choosing a tag string which is unique to that page and basing a different series of fields on each such tag. You can also define multi-page sets which repeat every n pages (see Field Definitions|Advanced). The starting page can be specified separately, so a field could be defined to start at page 3 and then every 2 pages, or to skip the first page you define a field that starts at page 2 and is then on every page.

Double byte fonts

Does EscapeE handle double byte fonts?
Yes. The program will display pages containing double-byte fonts such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean, if these are present in the document as download bitmap fonts.

Colour

I have converted a file with red type, but it prints as a shade of gray. Can your program handle colour?
Yes. EscapeE can handle coloured text and graphics but your example does not contain any. This is probably because you selected a black-and-white printer driver for the output. If you choose an HP colour PCL printer driver then you should see the text in colour.

Font display issues

Accented characters do not view correctly
EscapeE defaults to 10U "symbol set" if the print files does not specify an alternative. Try changing the Configuration-Printer settings. e.g. If your printer defaults to Spanish - replace 10U with 19U. Help with symbol sets

When I open a PCL file the fonts do not display correctly.
When a font is not downloaded as part of the file, EscapeE will attempt to match the requested fonts to those in its ‘resident’ font library (called RESIDENT.FIF). If there is no exact match with any of the library fonts then the nearest one is chosen, which may result in a some variation in the appearance of the text. EscapeE uses the standard Windows fonts Arial, Times New Roman, Courier New, Century Gothic, Symbol and Wingdings. EscapeE is also supplied with equivalents to Letter Gothic, Univers, Courier and LinePrinter fonts (versions 8.15+)

EscapeE will use both bitmapped and TrueType scalable fonts included in the file. Contact us for help on special font requirements or configuration information.

When I extract text it is unreadable.
Some printer drivers assign non-standard code to the characters in their download fonts. Try using a different driver if possible or contact RedTitan for advice. More...

Can EscapeE convert special logo fonts?
EscapeE can automatically decode downloaded bitmapped logos if they occur in the datastream and render them correctly. It is also possible to install logos or other special fonts as ‘resident’ fonts to cater for printers which have font cartridges or a hard disk containing custom fonts. If you have scaleable logos they can also be used but will need to be installed as TrueType fonts: contact RedTitan for help.

My text contains a form drawn using the PC box-drawing characters. Will these characters appear in any fields I extract?
EscapeE uses its own PC box drawing font and such characters are not included in any data extraction process though they will produce the correct effect in any generated images.

My output needs to be fixed pitch text similar to the output of scanners and OCR systems.
Problems arise for text in proportional fonts or in differing sizes. The Advanced tab of the Fields dialogue allows you to specify a notional column width and to request left or right alignment of fields. If you want the whole of the text formatted in a fixed format then simply choose Left Align.

Is it possible to manipulate the fonts (especially soft fonts)?
The EscapeE demonstration system does support the viewing of bitmapped soft fonts embedded in PCL files. However in order to edit the characters or convert the fonts to other formats you might need to purchase the RedTitan font editor which has unrivalled capability to manipulate bitmap fonts: it can handle 30 different printer formats and perform transformations such as emboldening, slanting, outlining etc.

I have soft font files created for us by HP. Could I load these into EscapeE?
For bitmapped fonts you can simply install them using the Install Soft Fonts option on the File menu. For Intellifont format you would need to convert them to TrueType format. Contact RedTitan for help.

Can the file be converted to an image file (TIFF or PCX) that retains the colour?
Coloured PDFs are supported but not images.

I am having problems getting sharp looking fonts after PDF conversion
See PDF export above.

Images

Can bitmaps, etc. be added to the file opened in your program, and if so, is it a fairly easy process to place them on the page?
The PCL image and font mechanisms are fully supported, so files containing images are not a problem. In addition there is a plugin which allows text, logos or images to be added at specified points to all or selected pages.

Finally...

Why is it called EscapeE ?

HP Printer Command Language (PCL)  comprises a sequence of escape codes embedded in the print job before it is sent to the printer. The escape character and a capital E are sent at the start of a PCL output to reset the printer. EscapeE also recognises HP plotter files if they start with escape dot, BP or IN commands (or they have extension .PLT) and starts in HP GL mode.

TechTips

Running the RTUNZIP program manually
When you first run EscapeE it sets up an association between files with the .RTZ extension and the RedTitan RTUNZIP program. This should mean that if you double-click on your 07000398.RTZ file on that computer in Outlook Express or Windows Explorer it will call RTUNZIP which will install the licence. If for some reason this association has not worked e.g. there was already another program associated with the .RTZ extension (unlikely), then you may have to run the RTUNZIP program manually. First ensure that the RTZ file is in a known folder on the target computer e.g. by saving the attachment to the folder in which you installed the EscapeE program. Let us assume you installed in c:\redtitan\software, so it is easiest if you save the 07000398.RTZ file to that folder. Then run the RTUNZIP program either in DOS or by clicking on the 'Start' button and then on 'Run', and browsing to the RedTitan folder or by typing the full path followed by the words UNZIP 07000398.RTZ and pressing Enter. The full command is of the form: c:\redtitan\software\rtunzip unzip 07000398.rtz
N.B. If you saved the RTZ file to another folder you will have to specify the full path of the rtz file.

"Unable to write to ini file RT.ini." message.
This message appears when the RT.INI file is inaccessible. This could be because you have previously installed a RedTitan system in a folder which no longer exists, or the RT.INI file is defined as being on a drive to which you no longer have write access. The default folder for the RT.INI file is the one where you installed the software, and there is a pointer to it from the RedTitan section of the WIN.INI file in the WINNT folder (the Windows folder for Win95/98). You can edit this file with a text editor e.g.Notepad: find the [Redtitan] section - this should contain a symbol
REDTITAN=<file>
where <file> is the full path of the RT.INI file e.g.
REDTITAN=c:\redtitan\software\rt.ini
If this is not pointing to the correct place then you need to change it.

How to process selected pages
For one-off conversions the ‘File | Export’ menu has the option to process specified pages.
For batch conversions you can use the command line options:
      /PAGE n
to process page n
      /PAGE n-m
to process pages n to m inclusive
      /PAGE 2-
to process from page 2 onwards.

How to look for and open files up in a specified mapped network drive
EscapeE normally looks for files in the directory that the software is installed on, but you can change this in various ways, depending on how you are running the program. If you are calling EscapeE from the command line with an explicit filename then you can specify the full path e.g:
ESCAPEE C:\FILES\DATA.PCL /PRINT
If you want it to watch for files appearing in a particular directory then you can configure its input file specification via the ‘Options | configuration’ dialogue, e.g. to look for .PCL files in directory C:\FILES use:
      C:\FILES\*.PCL
or you can give this on the calling line, e.g.:
      ESCAPEE /INSPEC C:\FILES\*.PCL /PRINT /TIME 5

Page break problems
EscapeE is intended to behave exactly like a real printer, however it does need to be configured exactly the same way as your printer. For example it needs to be told the default orientation, paper size and (if non-standard) the number of printable lines per page. The Options|Configuration|Printer dialogue can be used to set up these items. Click on Save to remember the settings. If you do need to force a new page then the Form Feed control code (12 decimal, 0C hex) is the simplest way of doing this. There are also PCL commands to force a front or back page in duplex mode:
      <Escape>&a1G = Front side,
      <Escape>&a2G = Back side.

Drivers and Character codes
The Windows 98 HP driver is systematic in the way it allocates codes - it adds 3 to each one, so in EscapeE if you select Options|Configuration and set 'Type' to 'Windows HP Driver' the correct code conversion will be engaged. Other drivers (notably those of Windows2000) assign character codes arbitrarily, in order of their occurance in the text. This means that for example if the text began with the word 'Hello' the character 'H' would have code1, 'e' code 2 etc. which as far as EscapeE's display is concerned is fine but does cause problems in making use of the text. The default configuration is 'Windows Driver' but you can also try 'Other' which applies no code conversion at all. A workaround is to use only the printer's resident fonts in your document, since the driver is compelled to use standard codes in this case. Some drivers allow you to tell them which fonts are resident.";

How to render characters more clearly when viewing the PDF.
It is possible to set up substitute outline fonts, in particular Times Roman, Helvetica and Courier are always available. These will often produce a better result for PDF viewing purposes. If you supply details of any scaleable fonts to RedTitan we can set up metrics which will allow Acrobat to display a similar substitute font. This is a good way of reducing the size of the PDF by not including fonts in the document but will not work for unusual styles or scaleable logos/signatures.

Why some horizontal lines are displayed thicker than others when viewing a PDF file converted from PCL
PCL describes lines in terms of their position and thickness. EscapeE correctly maintains these parameters. Some PDF viewers, however, convert the lines to (PostScript-style) outlines; thus a horizontal line fills the area between an upper and a lower boundary. Calculating the positions of these boundaries gives rise to rounding errors, which become particularly noticable at low magnification. Vertical lines may display poorly for similar reasons.

When files are converted to PDF, how can I tell whether the content is 'text' or 'bit mapped'?
If you want to check that the text really is in the PDF you can (temporarily) change the PDF advanced options to output 'uncompressed' and to 'combine text strings together' and look at the PDF with a text editor.

.EE files
If you have the following files:
      A.PCL
      A.EE
      B.PCL
      C.PCL
      DEFAULT.EE
then file A uses field defined in A.EE and the others use DEFAULT.EE. If you want to specify a field file explicitly you can either type in the name in the Fields dialogue (the box at the top of the screen) or specify it on the EscapeE command line when calling via a shortcut or from DOS or another program. The syntax for this is:
      ESCAPEE /FIELDS filename.

For further help contact RedTitan on help@redtitan.com.

System requirements