Default PDF Reader

You can choose your default PDF reader by following these simple steps.

  • Right-click a PDF file on your desktop or in File Explorer to bring up the context menu.
  • Click Open with -> Choose another app
  • In the window where you can select an application, you should remember to set the Always use this app to open .pdf files
Use PDF Studio to open your PDF documents

That is all it takes.

Default Save Location

How do you set up the default save location for your PDF documents? This is a common question we get from the users of the PDF printer.

The answer is simple, and the possibilities are endless if you want to do advanced stuff.

First the simple answer

You simply open the Options dialog from the Start menu. In there you change the File Name setting to your preferred location and file name.

When you specify the output path, you can use Macro Tags to make the file name Macro Tags to make the file name a bit more flexible. These tags are substituted with dynamic values that may depend on the current date and time or settings on your specific machine. It can also get information from the print job or even run a script.

The most used tags include <desktop>, which points to the location of the desktop, or <personal>, which is your personal documents folder on the machine.

This is what it looks like:

Setting a default PDF file name

Now, the advanced answer

The macro tags can tap into information such as environment variables, system time, print job information, counters, unique id generation, and running scripts.

You can learn more about these macros at the BioPDF web site.

Information about the default save location is stored in the Output setting in the configuration files.

What about the name of the source document?

Users ask us why there isn’t a macro for the name and location of the source document. For example, this could be the docx file printed from Microsoft Word or a text file in Notepad.

The problem is that we need to know the source document’s file name. Unfortunately, all the printer see is a print job, which does not contain information about its origin. Instead, it has a limited set of properties set by the printing application. These include the author and the document name, but it is entirely up to the printing application to set those to something meaningful, and again, the source file name and location are not among them.

Add a counter or GUID to the PDF file name

If you want the printer to generate file names automatically and have a counter or unique id as part of your file name, this will show you how.

When you open the printer options from the start menu, you can set a file name to use when a print job is created. This file name can contain tags, which are substituted with other values when printing.

Tags can give you information such as timestamps, user names, machine names, and much more. A couple of these tags have functionality for counters and unique id generators.

Here is an example where a counter is used.

Preset a file name with a counter

Every time the printer is used the <counter> tag will increase by one.

You can see a full list of available tags here:

The list also contains a <random> and a <guid> tag for generating file names with a random part or a GUID (globally unique identifier).

You can add parameters to counter and random tags. It is also possible to have multiple counters and you can preset values for these counters if you like.

Printing to Multiple Virtual Printers Simultaneously

We have been asked by system administrators if it is possible to print to many PDF printers at the same time. It is now. Starting with version 11.14, you can create multiple printer ports during installation. Before this version, the limiting factor was that even if you had multiple virtual printers, they would all use the same virtual printer port. This means that one printer had to wait for the other to finish spooling the print job.

When you install a new PDF printer with a custom name using /PRINTERNAME=”My printer”, you can now add a custom port for this printer. The port is added with /PORT=”MYPORT”. This will give you a printer named My Printer connected to MYPORT. This means that the new printer can spool and print individually from other printers on the same machine.

Example of running the setup to add the new printer:


Spooler Options

Another optimization of the printing speed is to change the spooler options to Start printing after last page is spooled. This helps if one print job is taking a long time to finish printing. Usually, the spooling is faster than the printing for the virtual printer.

Start printing after last page is spooled – Advanced Printer Options

One caveat of this option is that if you use the runonce.ini to control the parameters of the print job, you no longer know the order of the print jobs. This means that unless you have unique names for your print jobs the runonce.ini files may not be used with the print jobs they were meant for.

If you can control the names of the print jobs from the printing application, then you can use the runonce_jobname.ini file names to match the print jobs and the configurations.

Fast PDF Printing

The fastest printing is achieved by creating a configuration for the printers that generate automatic file names and disable the printing dialogs so that printing is unattended. On top of that, you should create multiple instances of the printer with different names and individual port names. Spooler settings should be set to start printing after the last page is spooled.

Two large print jobs printing at the same time


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Google Chrome 80 PostScript Error

There is a problem with Chrome 80 and the PostScript passthrough. The bug is confirmed by Google and they are trying to fix it.

The PDF printer version 11.12 contains a fix/workaround for this problem. This means that if you see the following error when printing to PDF then you just upgrade to the newest version.

%%[ ProductName: GPL Ghostscript ]%%
%%[Page: 1]%%%%[Page: 2]%%
%%[ Error: typecheck; OffendingCommand: setlinecap ]%%

If you are interested then you can check this link to see the actual fix that the next version of Chrome will have.

One of our users also reported having seen this problem with the Firefox browser. However, this is not confirmed.

Using the XPS driver

The PDF printer was originally based on converting the output from Postscript drivers to PDF. This way of doing it has served the purpose well for a long time. However, sometimes the output can convert in ways that do not serve the end purpose well.

Especially font issues have been a reason to look for alternatives to the Postscript driver technology. Postscript has built-in fonts and different strategies for embedding subsets of fonts which may not work well with software that tries to read or copy/paste the content of PDF documents.

To fix some of the Postscript related issues we have added the option to use an XPS based driver. The functionality of the XPS based approach supports fewer features but it solves some of the other issues.

You can tell the installer to add a PDF printer based on an XPS driver by adding the /XPS switch to the command line of the setup program.

The following command line is an example that shows how to add an extra PDF printer named “PDF Printer (XPS)” to your system.

Setup_BullzipPDFPrinter_11_10_0_2761_PRO_EXP.exe /XPS /PRINTERNAME="PDF Printer (XPS)"

The new printer will ask the printing application to print using an XPS based driver and convert the output to PDF.


Upload PDF via (S)FTP or HTTP(S)

The PDF Printer has a feature that will upload the created PDF file to a server. Both FTP and HTTP uploads of the PDF document are supported. This means that you can send the documents to a web server that you have created and do some processing in a cloud application.

Uploading to an FTP or SFTP server is simply a matter of setting up a server to receive the files.

HTTP and HTTPS are supported via the normal file upload protocol. It requires that you create a script on your server that will receive the uploaded file.

You can test your upload script by creating a simple “File Upload” form on a web page. The code could look something like this:

<form action="upload.php" method="post" 
    Select file to upload:<br>
    <input type="file" name="file" id="file"><br>
    <input type="submit" value="Upload File" 

The page that receives the file can be written using any web server language. Here is an example in PHP.

$filename = basename($_FILES["file"]["name"]);
if (move_uploaded_file($_FILES["file"]["tmp_name"], 
    // This file is copied so that IIS 
    does not set itself as owner of the file.
    copy($filename.".tmp", "uploaded-".$filename);
    echo "The file '".$filename."' was uploaded.";
    echo "Error";

Configure the printer for upload

You can tell the printer to upload to your HTTP handler by adding these settings:


Additional parameters are available for setting password and user name if needed.

The upload settings can be set from a program using the API or in the global.ini files that control the global settings for a printer.

This an example of typical settings to set when working with an upload scenario.

Output=my output file name
StatusFile=my status file name

Printing Preferences vs. Printing Defaults

When printing, you will encounter a couple of places where you can change the printer settings. Two of these places are found in the printer’s property dialog.

On the General tab, you can click the Preferences button and change the printer settings for the currently logged in user. This means that you can change your own settings for this specific printer. The changes that you make here will not affect other users.

If you go to the Advanced tab and click the Printing Defaults button, then you will see a similar dialog. However, this time you are looking at the settings on a machine level. This means that when you change the settings here it will affect the users that don’t yet have their own preferences set.

New users will inherit the settings from the Printing Defaults.

Sometimes, the user’s preferences are reset by Windows. This can happen during Windows updates, reinstallation of the printer, or GPO changes. Other events may also reset the settings.

Background PDF Problems

Using a PDF as a background can sometimes cause problems. PDF documents are created in a different way by a variety of applications. It happens that these PDF documents are not compatible for use as a background or watermark PDF. Especially PDF documents created by Adobe products have incompatible color models or other advanced unsupported features.

The problems can result in different types of errors. Sometimes the colors are not correct and other times you will get a blank page followed by a page with cryptic error information.

This is what the error page could look like:



The solution is to print the background PDF to a new PDF using the PDF Printer. You can try to print it using different PDF viewers. They have different ways of printing the PDF and the resulting PDF will have different properties depending on the viewer that printed it. Usually, you can create a working background PDF this way.

I suggest that you try to print it from the following PDF viewers:

Bullzip PDF Studio


Adobe Reader