Emailing MainBoss Reports

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Q: How do I e-mail MainBoss reports to other people?

A: The key is to create a printer definition that is associated with a file rather than an actual printer port. You do this in the usual way that you add a printer to your system (for example, through the Printers entry in Windows control panel).

Set up a printer definition for the type of printer that the E-mail recipient will be using. For example, if you want to send the report to someone who will run off the report on an HP LaserJet 4SI MX, set up a printer definition for such a machine but when you are asked to specify a printer port, choose FILE:.

Note: If you do not know what kind of printer will be used, or if you want to create a type of report suitable for many different types of printer, set up a generic text printer (ASCII) associated with FILE:

Once you have set up an appropriate printer definition, you are ready to prepare MainBoss reports for e-mail. When you want to prepare such a report, start MainBoss and choose the report from the MainBoss Reports menu as always. Then, in the dialog box for printing the report, click the Setup button. This opens a dialog where you can choose a printer. Choose the FILE: printer definition that you created, then go through the usual steps to print the report.

When you ask MainBoss to print the report, Windows will prompt you for the name of a file where the report should be printed. Specify an appropriate file; this will be the file you send out by e-mail. Continue on as normal, and Windows will write the report to the specified file rather than printing it.

You can send out the resulting file directly by e-mail. However, you may prefer to shrink the report first by using a utility like WinZip. In this case, the recipient will have to unZIP the report before printing it.

To print a report that is stored in a file, you use the DOS COPY command with the /b option. For example, if you are printing to a printer on port LPT1, you might use

copy /b report.prn LPT1:

If you are printing to a network printer, you have to make sure that you are copying to a shared printer. A typical command line might look like

copy /b report.prn \\JOE\printer

where JOE is the name of a system on the network which has created a shared printer attachment for the printer you want to use.

Note: If you decide that it's too complicated to set up shared printers, you may just decide to create the original report in generic text format (ASCII). This lets you read the print file into Windows NOTEPAD, Microsoft Word, or some other program for reading text files. You can then print the file using the program's normal facilities for printing text.

When you want to print reports on your own system, remember to use the Setup button to change back from the FILE: printer to one of the real printers available to your computer.

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