PostScript error details (alphabetical by error name)
HP Laserjet Error codes (30 PS ERROR nn)
Since I wrote this, another PostScript error page, from Luminous Corporation, has appeared.
By 'errors' I mean specific errors detected by a PostScript printer, that make it stop printing. This won't help you if the results are complete, but not what you expect.
Good information on errors is hard to come by. The information here may help. It is long and detailed, and best used as a reference.
Still, be prepared for a long struggle. Sometimes a file simply cannot be printed on a particular printer, particularly if it is old or has limited memory. (The amount of memory supplied by default with most new printers is not adequate for complex graphics or using many fonts).
Some people will be dealing with PostScript files sent to them, that they must try to print; others will be generating the PostScript themselves. Not all of the advice in this document can be followed by both groups. Although I refer to 'printers' throughout, you might be using a printer, a printing or previewing package on a PC or workstation, or a high-end typesetter.
This file is definitely not intended to help people writing their own PostScript. The discussion is confined to errors likely to be found when a program writes the PostScript on your behalf. If writing PostScript you will need a good manual, and lots of patience!
A particularly unpleasant source of problems is bugs, either in the programs that write the PostScript, or in a few cases in the PostScript interpreter itself. As bugs can cause anything to happen, this document may not be much use either, but I have included information on some bugs that have been discovered in common software.
Good luck! You may need it.
Error: limitcheck; Offendingcommand: clipMany people skim this information and say that they have received "an offending command error", but this information by itself is worse than useless. Accurate information is the first step in solving any problem.
Sometimes the information appears on a printed sheet, and this often has supplementary information. Keep it, it may be useful. The information might not be presented exactly as above. For instance the Microsoft Windows PostScript driver would present the above error as:
Offending Command = clip Error = nametype : limitcheck
Given the error and offending command, you can proceed straight to looking them up in the error details below, but you may want to return and check the rest of the advice below.
Many applications or PostScript printer drivers include an option 'download error handler' or similar. In Microsoft Windows there is an option 'Print PostScript Error Information' hidden under Advanced printer options. Always use it. Note, however, that the original Microsoft Windows PostScript driver had an error that prevented the error handler from working.
One error handler can be obtained from Adobe, the inventors of PostScript, by downloading the ehandler.ps file.
The correct use of EPS files is to be embedded in other applications, which then take care of printing.
If a problem is not exactly repeatable, you probably have a problem where files are being corrupted. This could be on your disk, as a result of cabling (check cables are tight and undamaged; remove any switch boxes or extensions; use a different cable if possible), or, if the printer is connected by serial rather than parallel cable, the serial port setup could be wrong.
Corruption can occur even before the file is printed - say as it is read from a network. Different types of network, and network software, have different reliabilities. See the next section for how to check for corrupt graphics.
Sometimes switching a printer off and on will make a difference. This probably means that the printer is slowly running out of memory, but if you share the printer, it is not impossible that someone else if affecting its setup (they would have to be pretty conversant with PostScript, though). Beware of using a font downloader - these use up printer memory.
It is often worth splitting printing into two processes. First, print to file (note that some applications allow you to save as EPS - this is not the same as printing to file). Now send the print file to the printer. Do you get the same error consistently? This not only helps to establish whether the problem is getting in before or after printing, it gives you a file to use as evidence if you need to take the problem further.
The fullest description of PostScript errors is in the book PostScript Language Reference Manual, 2nd edition, Addison Wesley, ISBN 0-201-18127-4. This will help only people who want to understand the PostScript.
It is just possible, but not very likely, that the printer or your computer is faulty. More likely, but still not very, is the possibility that your software is damaged, and reinstalling it will help.
There may be a bug in the program you are using, or possibly even in the printer. If you are convinced of this, you will need to take this up with the relevant parties.
Otherwise, you may have to seek expert help, or try to produce the information in a different way.
And don't forget to check Luminous Corporation's PostScript error page. They are a spin off from Adobe so they should know!
We are sorry, but we don't have the time or resources to offer a consultancy service. Please, no unsolicited PostScript files or problems. We do welcome suggestions for improving this page, our other PostScript pages or anything else in our site.
A good place to get help with PostScript on the internet is the comp.lang.postscript usenet group.