Many homeschoolers or teachers who try to print digitally (from home or a business) will occasionally encounter the phenomena of black boxes, missing text, a funny frame around the page, squiggly lines, and more.  Any print issues that arise when you go to print PDFs from the internet are a “loss in communication” or a “loss in translation” from your personal PDF viewer/reader to your printer drivers.  

Not to worry!  There is a very quick fix, and we promise it has nothing to do with our PDFs but everything to do with the your PDF viewer and your printer drivers (see HERE for the technological explanation of what’s happening).  The good news– we’re going to help you fix it! *Keep in mind, if you printed through a company, we have no control over the PDF readers they use or if they update their printer drivers and cannot troubleshoot on their behalf*

1: ADOBE ACROBAT READER –

This is the free program you need to be using if you encountered any issues viewing or printing your product (there’s a free Adobe Acrobat Reader online and in the app stores).  Switching to this program and clicking “print as image” in the advanced settings will eliminate 99% of customer printing issues.  If your device asks for a password to print or to open, this also is a malfunction of your PDF reader.  Switching to Adobe will allow the document to be read correctly and will open/print for you.

**If you already have Adobe and encounter issues, follow the steps below**

  1. On your main Adobe Reader screen, click the “help” tab, and then “check for updates“. If Adobe needs updating, then update it and try printing again. If it says “No updates available,” then proceed to step two. 
  2. On the “print preview” screen [this is the screen where you get to pick how many copies you want, if you are printing in black/white or color, etc] you will see a section titled, “Comments and Forms.”  Make sure that the option chosen under that section reads “Documents AND markups.”  If it does not, please change this setting and try printing again.  If it was already at the correct setting, proceed to step 3.  
  3. On the same “print preview” screen, usually near the top, is a button that says, “Advanced.”  Click that.  This will open a new window with different options.  On the new window that pops up, there will be the option to click “Print as Image.”  Click that button, then proceed to the next step.
  4. After clicking “print as image,” return to the main print preview page, and try printing the 1-2 pages with which you were having issues again. 

2: WHAT IF IT LOOKS FUNNY OR DOESN’T SHOW TEXT ON MY SCREEN?

1. Get a different PDF reader (we recommend Adobe).  That should solve most people’s problems.

2. Some people use Adobe and accidentally uncheck “view all documents and markups” within Adobe.  When this is not properly chosen, your Adobe program will only “read” to you a portion of the document on screen, instead of the entire thing.  This is just a simple “viewing” setting.  Making sure you select the right button should undo any screen issues.

3: PRINTER KEEPS PAUSING OR WON’T PRINT?

  • Usually this is an internet issue.  Our files are larger files in order to provide our customers with the highest quality graphics that our families love.  Sometimes smaller files will print fine through a wifi printer, but the connection drops for larger files.  This results in a blank page or nothing but a single line printed.  This is especially a common problem in rural areas but can happen on any internet connection.  In order to eliminate the “wifi” issue, simply plug your printer directly into your device and print.
  • If you would prefer not to plug directly in, customers have great success by printing “X amount of pages at a time.”  For instance, they will first print pages 1-30, then print pages 31-60.  This sends less data to the printer over wifi and allows your wifi not to drop during the processing.  Each wifi setup will require a different limit.  It depends on what your particular wifi speeds are and where you live.

4: WHITE FRAME AROUND THE PAGE?  THAT’S JUST A BORDER SETTING YOU CAN CHANGE

  • When you open the file to print, you will see a tab in Adobe Reader that says, “TOOLS” (it is usually directly above the file image, rather than at the top of the screen)
  • In the search bar that comes up under tools, search for “page boxes
  • The link to “Set Page Boxes” should appear.  Click it. Another window will pop up.
  • On the new window, there will be a box you can check that says “remove white margins.”  Click it.
  • IMPORTANT: Make sure you then go and click “ALL” under “PAGE RANGE
  • IMPORTANT: Now click on any other text box (like “units”) on the page before saving.  We are not actually changing anything here. Adobe simply sometimes has a glitch that you have to “click” somewhere else in the page before it remembers your last entry
  • After clicking “ok” or “save” (whichever your version says) you will return to your original file preview.
  •  Click print
  • Now, under “Page Size” click “CUSTOM SCALE” and change the number to 100%. 
  • IMPORTANT: Again, click on any other box on the page before proceeding (to make sure it doesn’t have that glitch we talked about)
  • Then, click print
  • This should remove the white “frame” that you see around pages.  
  • NOTE: Your printer may not offer borderless printing, so you may still see a thin white line around the page even after the frame is removed.  This thin white line, however, is printer-specific and cannot be changed by a setting.  It is not the same thing as the thick “Adobe Page Frame.”  
  • Nobody ever said Adobe was user-friendly haha!

5: WEB-BASED PDF VIEWERS OR PERSONAL PDF VIEWERS (IE: On a Mac)

We advise not using a web-based PDF viewer.  This means, we do not recommend opening your PDF file in “Firefox” or “Chrome” or “Safari” etc.  The viewers on web-based programs do not have sufficient resources to properly read a PDF file and print appropriately.  We recommend using Adobe.

Other PDF viewers (such as “Previewer” on Mac) are often okay, as long as they are up to date with the proper printer drivers installed.  If, however, they give you black boxes or distort anything, then you need to update your drivers appropriately or switch to Adobe Reader, which is a free download (SEE TOP OF PAGE).

6: SMART PHONE DEVICES

  1. We recommend downloading Adobe from the app store or using a better PDF reader on your phone.
  2. If you opt to print from your handheld device, do not “open file with browser.”
  3. If you encounter a white screen when initially pulling up the document, wait 30-60 seconds for images in the file to appear.  If you try to print when the screen is still white, all of the data will not have been received from your phone nor will it properly communicate to the printer. 
  4. If your screen continues to remain “blank” or only shows you one part of the document (only graphics or only text), you need to download a PDF viewer/reader such as Adobe and open the document again.

FINALLY:  Please remember if you print through another company, we cannot provide support and troubleshooting on their behalf.  Our recommendation is to ask them to print your finished product exactly as it appears on the PDF. 

Needs a print company or print options?  Go here