Printing out files is possible from all programs that can control a printer. To send PDF files to a risograph, you need a program that can display them, like Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader. The printer menu contains the usual settings such as page orientation, paper format, etc. For multi-page PDFs, always make sure the right page number of the page to be printed is specified, otherwise a master foil will be created for each page. Enabling auto-print on the device or the driver will result in two prints being made. To prevent the original from being printed smaller than intended, no page handling should be selected, provided the template has been created accordingly (see margin). For raster graphics, you can select the frequency and the angle of the raster under Settings Image.
Depending on the Windows version, the print dialogue is minimally different, but ever since Windows XP, the main points have not changed fundamentally. Before making any further changes to the settings, the right printer has to be selected first. The other variables are reset if another printer is selected again. This setting should only be changed once and then kept for the rest of the pages to be printed. The “Printing range” dialogue lets you choose between All, Current Page, and the ability to set a range of pages to print. Entering a range of pages is strongly discouraged, as the riso then creates a master for each page, prints one page, and then creates the next master, unless more than one copy is selected in the printer’s main menu. The other settings concerning the size of the page and scaling of the format can be neglected, as these settings can also be made in the Properties menu.
The item “Properties” contains information specific to the printer as well as adjustment options for the risograph, which indicate exactly what the machine is capable of doing. By clicking on the Basic, Layout, Colour, Image, Advanced and Option tabs, you can easily navigate through the menus to adjust the necessary settings.
The Basic tab anticipates some settings that can later be changed in the other tabs. The size of the original, for example, can be specified here as well as the direction of the paper, i.e. portrait or landscape format. The sizes of the original and the paper can also be set in the Layout tab. Setting the printing inks does not take effect here, because the colour tab is still set to the standard black single-colour printing.
The size of the original and paper size should now be set in the Layout submenu, if it has not been done already. The sheets can also be imposed inside the RIP and then rearranged on the sheets. The Imposition feature allows up to four pages of a PDF to be scaled on a master and thus reproduced. If the checkbox Fit to printable area is checked, the layout is reduced in size so it can be displayed within the printable area of the risograph. Activating the Margin-plus function results in a small margin being left to make it easier to reproduce originals and to avoid paper jams and the like. Enabling the “180 degree rotation” option is recommended if a sheet is printed for a second time. If the front or back of the sheet is already printed and there are already spots on the paper with high ink coverage after placing it under the rubber wheel of the paper feeder again, the other edge of the sheet may have to be checked. This option is activated if there is less ink coverage on the position rotated 180 ° from the centre of the paper. The sheets with the page that last came out of the machine on the first pass (to the left / bottom edge of the paper, looking at it from the machine control panel) are fed to the paper feeder first. This decreases the chance of smearing and the sheets rubbing off on the subjacent sheets of the stack of paper is reduced.
In the Colouring menu, you can choose between single-colour printing and two-colour printing. Single-colour printing means that the colour separation of the selected page is converted to colour values between 0 and 100% and then printed using the colour selected from the drop-down menu. It is a bit more time consuming but assigning multi-colour files via the single-colour printing mode is strongly recommended to retain maximum control over the master foils to be exposed. Since the assignment of colours within the machine happens via the dropdown menu, it is a popular source of error. It often happens that after the second colour drum is exposed, when sending the colour separation for the first colour drum, setting the colour in the menu to the one on the first colour drum is often forgotten. So the newly exposed foil is mounted on the second colour drum again. It is unavoidable that in Windows System Manager, after installing the printer, the available inks are assigned and added to the list of colours as well so they can be selected in the driver. If the list of available colours is expanded while programs such as Adobe Acrobat or Reader are open and a document is active, they must be restarted before the updated list becomes visible, as these settings have to be reloaded from the driver. For two-colour printing, these are some factors to consider: not only do the two colours for the print have to be determined in advance, it must also be decided whether masters are produced for both colours and how the riso is supposed to separate these colours.
The Image tab deals with the print image of the print sheet. The risograph’s internal Raster Image Processor recognises which components of the PDF images are texts and can handle them differently during the exposure process. Depending on the settings made, the preview image on the left side changes, which at least schematically attempts to display the changes in the preview graphic.
The settings of the raster type can either be rasterised (amplitude modulated, i.e. with screen angles and screen frequency) or grained (frequency modulated, i.e. stochastic, equally large halftone dots depending on the colour to be reproduced). The screen angle is explained on page 116, the grain on page 124.
The photo type choices are standard, portrait and group. Using the Standard setting results in the image being output normally, the Portrait setting is particularly suitable for reproducing images in which the centre of the image is darker, and the Group setting for when the centre of the image is too bright, which is then adjusted. Further settings can be made via the Details button.
Over the Details menu, brightness, contrast, background correction, anti-aliasing, and tone refinement are adjustable. While brightness and contrast are almost self-explanatory (seven degrees from dark to bright or low to high), the results are quite different when details such as background correction, anti-aliasing, and tonal refinement are selected. The background correction option attempts to enhance the contrast in the shadows and midtones of an image and can be used to make images more crisp and sharper. This option also attempts to regulate the amount of ink coverage by reducing the likelihood of parts of the image becoming too dark. The anti-aliasing option can be used to soften edges that appear jagged and choppy. Edges are highlighted visually, giving them a clearer shape. If the tone refinement checkbox is activated, the risograph will try to use smoother tone transitions for scanning. These settings should be tested extensively before printing an edition.
Line originals can be interpreted and output in three different modes: grainy, screened and areal. With the grainy setting, line originals in halftones are displayed with halftones are generated by grain, and not by screen angles in different frequencies. The screened setting rasterises line originals based on the frequency and angle settings specified in the raster type menu. The area setting completely leaves out colour line originals and tries to print the entire file in the respective spot colour.
Similar to line originals, text can be interpreted and output separately. For this purpose, text must be available as text content of a file, i.e. be recognisable as text by the RIP. Bold makes the exposed text and ultimately the expression in its contour thickness a little thicker (prevents uneven lines) and is particularly suitable for texts in serif fonts that are to be printed very small. In this case, the RIP tries to match the unequal line widths and traps it in the curves of the text.Fine makes the text and print thinner (prevents contorted lines), which is particularly useful when you want to print fonts that are too bold in sizes that are too small and thus fill up counters, for example. The Off setting does not adjust the text volume and leaves the curves of the text as they appear in the document.
The settings found in Advanced can be used to change parameters for printing in advance and thus partially overwrite the device settings. This applies to the printing speed, the intensity of the inks, the interval printing and also the saving of ink. These settings can be left unchanged, leaving plenty of room for adjustments when using the risograph. Programmed printing can also be done in this window, resulting in the output of a set of copies of the present pages. However, new masters are created after each set. If handled in the wrong manner, this can lead to a large number of master foils being wasted while ultimately printing very few pages.