JACoW PostScript Printer Driver


JACoW uses Adobe Acrobat software to produce PDF (portable document format) files that are suitable for electronic publication. In the case of JACoW, the PDF files are produced from PostScript (PS) files. The choice of printer driver used can make a considerable difference in the quality of the PS file produced. Unusable PS files are usually the result of misconfigured or noncompatible PS printer drivers. Some of the problems that we frequently come across are

  • Fonts not embedded
  • Fonts embedded as a bitmap image, rather than text, which results in poor quality
  • Black and white drivers used for printing colored documents
  • Letter size document printed on with A4 settings and vice versa
  • Dots per inch too low.

Because of this, actions were taken to provide a printer driver that is preconfigured to meet the JACoW requirements.

For systems up to Windows XP we recommend using the Universal PostScript printer driver that is available from Adobe, accompanied by a special setup. At present, there is no new version that supports Windows Vista or Windows 7, so for newer systems, we recommend the JACoW PS printer driver .

Since JACoW switched now to accepting PDFs the work on this driver will be discontinued.



This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful. It is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The entire risk as to the quality and performance of the program is with the user. In no event, unless required by applicable law, will the author be liable for damages, including any general, special, incidental, or consequential damages arising out of the use or inability to use the program (including but not limited to loss of data or data being rendered inaccurate or losses sustained by you or third parties or a failure of the program to operate with any other programs), even if the author has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

Tested on Windows Vista/XP (should work also on NT4/2K/2003 and Windows 7).

MD5: 5c60e5977baa15c6e297602faabb8c65


Download the installer (e.g., to your desktop) and execute it with an account that has administrator privileges.

If Windows warns you that this driver is not signed or has not passed the Windows Logo test, click "Continue AnyWay." On Windows Vista the message may be a bit different, but the meaning is essentially the same.

Check that the installation progressed without problems.

After successful installation the printer should show up in your printer menu.

Printing to one of these printers should show you a small dialog box were you can specify a location and file name for the PS file.


The printer should be configured by the installer, but you can check the configuration yourself by by right-clicking the printer and opening the printer properties you can access the following advanced options.

The options marked in bold must be set to

  • TrueType Font: Download as Softfont
  • PostScript Output Option: Optimize for Portability
  • TrueType Font Download Option: TrueType or Native TrueType
  • PostScript Language Level: 2

If everything checks out the printer is ready to go.


There is an easy way to get rid of the printers and driver files. In the control panel select "Add or Remove Programs." In the list select "JACoW PostScript Printer Driver" and push the uninstall button.

Background on PostScript Drivers

A bit of background information is needed to understand how the JACoW PostScript Printer Driver works.

The Microsoft PostScript Printer Driver (PScript5) is compatible with Windows 2000 and later OS releases and is usually supplied by Microsoft with the operating system. It was co-developed with Adobe and is aimed at hardware vendors that need to provide a PS-based printer driver for Windows.

In fact, Adobe's universal PS printer does only an update of the PScript5 engine when installed on Windows 2000 or XP: http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=1500

To work, PScript5 needs a mini-driver that supplies the configuration information needed to produce PostScript (e.g., the PS level that the printer understands and recognizes whether it is a color or black/white printer). This information is simply passed in form of a PostScript Printer Description (PPD) file.

Adobe provides a series of PPD files on the Adobe homepage, including the one for Acrobat Distiller (ADIST5.PPD) that JACoW has used on Windows 2000 and XP with the universal PS printer. Inside this file the copyright notice states "Permission is granted for redistribution of this file as long as this copyright notice is intact and the contents of the file is not altered in any way from its original form."

At this point it gets obvious that a PostScript printer driver is already present on most Windows systems and that it should be adequate for producing PS files that fit our needs if it is used with ADIST5.PPD file and is configured properly.

The installer that is supplied here creates two printers "JACoW (A4) PostScript" and "JACoW (Letter) PostScript" that are preconfigured for the paper size mentioned in the printer name. In addition, options and advanced options for the printer are configured to fit JACoW needs:

  • TrueType Font: Download as Softfont
  • PostScript Output Option: Optimize for Portability
  • TrueType Font Download Option: TrueType
  • PostScript Language Level: 2
  • No font substitution
  • Both are color printers

The configuration of the printers is done by the installer calling the PrintUI.dll, most of the tasks are explained quite well in the example from Charles Haven that is using NSIS to install network printers on Windows XP.

The driver and application of JACoW configurations was tested on Windows Vista and XP, but in principle it should work also on NT4/2K/2003 with installed service packs and on Windows 7.


Microsoft PostScript Printer Driver Windows Driver Kit: Print Devices


PrintUI.DLL User's Guide and Reference


Adobe PostScript language specifications


Install network printers on Windows XP


URLs last verified on 29th September 2013.