Setting up Non-PostScript Printers

One way to print from WordPerfect for Linux is to use WordPerfect's driver for your specific printer, or for a compatible model. This technique avoids the use of Ghostscript, which is the usual way of printing to non-PostScript printers from Linux. Because Ghostscript rasterizes an entire page and prints it as a large graphic, whereas WordPerfect's drivers can use the printer's built-in fonts or will (when possible) download a font to the printer, printing using the WordPerfect driver may be faster than printing via a PostScript driver through Ghostscript. Printing via a WordPerfect driver may or may not produce results that are as good as printing via Ghostscript, however. You'll have to try both ways with your specific printer to be sure.

The Linux Printer queue

Setting up a Linux printer queue for printing via a WordPerfect driver means that you must have some way to pass "raw" data through to the printer. Depending upon your distribution and how you've configured your printer, you may or may not currently be able to do this. If not, adding an /etc/printcap entry for the task isn't too difficult. Here's what I use on my system:


This sets up a printer queue called "pcl" that sends the data through unchanged. It's also necessary to create the spool directory (/var/spool/lpd/pcl in the above). I actually created this entry by using the Red Hat 5.0 printtool utility and creating a printer without specifying the printer type. I then modified the /etc/printcap entry by adding the ":sf:\" line, since on my Brother HL-660, WordPerfect was spewing an extra sheet of paper after every print job, and the ":sf:\" line prevents that. (This line also keeps the system from ejecting the last page of print jobs that originate from most programs except WordPerfect, but this isn't a big deal to me since I seldom use this queue except from WordPerfect.) Adding the ":sf:\" line may or may not be necessary, depending upon your printer and how your print queue is configured.

Some "magic filters" may automatically detect PCL (or whatever) code and send it through unchanged, so setting up a separate print queue may or may not be necessary. In addition to utilities like Red Hat's printtool that come with specific Linux distributions, WordPerfect itself has a tool for configuring print queues. It's called xwpdest, and is in the shbin10 directory in the WordPerfect distribution. I've never tried using this, though, and so can't comment on how well it works.

Much more information on setting up and configuring a Linux print queue can be found in the Linux Printing HOWTO.

Setting up the WordPerfect Printer Driver

WordPerfect allows printers to be set up in either of two ways: As a "shared" printer that's accessible to all users of the system; or as a "personal" printer that's created and used by only one user. The former type is set up by invoking WordPerfect as root with the -adm flag, thus:

   xwp -adm

You would then configure a printer in the usual way. Printer driver files (with .all extensions) must reside in the shlib10 directory of the WordPerfect distribution, and the .prs files created by the installation process will also reside in this directory.

Personal printers are set up by launching WordPerfect as an ordinary user and configuring the printer as described below. The .all printer driver files must reside in the shlib10 directory, while .prs files will be created in the ~/.wprc directory.

You can search for the latest WordPerfect printer drivers at Depending on the printer(s) you selected when you installed WordPerfect, you may or may not need to locate the appropriate .all files. If you do, the above site will have them as self-extracting (in DOS) zip files (they have .EXE extensions, but can be decompressed with InfoZip on Linux, as in unzip WP60DM01.EXE). The files you want are the WordPerfect 6 driver files. When you extract the files, they'll have uppercase filenames that aren't of quite the correct format for Linux WordPerfect; they must be converted to lowercase and have a ".us" added before the ".all" extension. For instance, the file WP60DM01.ALL must be renamed to in order to work in WordPerfect for Linux. Some printer manufacturers, including HP and Lexmark, maintain WordPerfect printer drivers for at least some of their printers, usually under a DOS section on their web site. These files typically come as self-extracting zip files with .exe extensions, which InfoZip can handle.

Once you've installed the appropriate .all file, select File-> Select Printer from the WordPerfect menu, then click on the "Printer Create/Edit" button, and select the "Add" button. This will bring up a list of printers. Select the one you want to install and click on "OK." You must then configure the printer by clicking the "Setup" button in the "Printer Create/Edit" dialog. You can, if you like, change the initial font of the printer, as well as the driver name. The most important thing to configure is the destination of the printer. When you click on the "Destination" button, you'll get a list of existing print queues; select whichever one is appropriate. You can also select "Disk" to have the driver "print" to a disk file. If you select this option, you can also click on the button to have it prompt you for a filename, and you can change the filename template if you like. Clicking "OK" on the dialogs remaining on screen will finish the process.

If you try using a WordPerfect driver for a compatible printer (say, if you've got a PCL printer that's not in WordPerfect's list, and so want to use an HP LaserJet PCL driver), try to select a printer that's as similar in capabilities as possible to the one you're using. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done unless you're a walking encyclopedia of printer specifications. Aside from issues such as whether your printer will respond correctly to commands intended for another model, there's the issue of resolution. If you select a 300 dpi printer driver but have a 600 dpi model, for instance, WordPerfect will likely print at 300 dpi. I don't know what will happen if you select a higher resolution than your printer supports.

Go on to the PostScript printer setup section.
Go back to the WordPerfect fonts and printing main page.

Copyright © 1998, 1999 by Rod Smith,