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Document 317

Ligatures (character pairs ff, fi, fl, ffi and ffl) do not print properly

Version: 3.x - Scientific WorkPlace & Scientific Word


Words containing ligatures do not print; they appear as blanks or as empty boxes.


Ligatures are combinations of letters that are treated as a unit. If a word contains the characters "fi", TeX will typeset the single ligature character "fi" instead of the individual character "f" followed by "i". Some versions of fonts and some print drivers do not have the ligature characters available after a default installation.


As a text, open the document in which the ligatures are a problem. From the Typeset menu, choose Preview. If the problem characters do not appear correctly, then you are probably using Windows 95/98 and do not have Windows Multilanguage support installed. If the characters are appearing correctly in the preview but fail to appear in print, then you are experiencing a problem with your Windows print driver. In this case, here are some things to try:

1. From the Typeset menu, choose Preview, then from the File menu in the previewer, choose Print Setup and choose Properties for the printer being used. The dialog that comes up at this point is different for different print drivers, so specific help can't be given. However, you should look for settings related to the printing of fonts. Often there is an entry such as Print Fonts as Bitmaps or Print as Graphics. Try adjusting these settings to see your results.

2. Change the font substitution table used by the print driver. This change is especially needed if you are using Style Editor styles since they most often use the Times New Roman font which is mapped to a Times font on the printer. The ligatures are not available in the printer font, so the characters do not print. The specific instructions for editing the font table for your print driver may be different than what follows: Go to the Windows Start menu, choose Settings, and then choose Printers. Use the right-hand mouse button to click the icon for your printer and then select Properties. From here on the dialogs will be different for different print drivers. There should be a selection someplace about fonts and perhaps a button labeled Font Substitution. A dialog should then come up that lists all the fonts installed by Windows and the printer font that should be used. Many of the fonts will be marked something like download as type 43 or download as outline. Find the font Times New Roman. If this font is not marked as described (it probably is marked to use the printer font Times), change the font mapping. After saving the dialogs, test printing to see if the ligatures print properly. Use a test document containing the character pairs "ff", "fi", "fl", "ffi", and "ffl"..

3. Go to the web site for your printer manufacturer and see if a newer printer driver is available. If so, download and install the driver. Check the printer settings as above after installing the driver. Here is a customer report concerning this problem:

"I had the exact same problem when I first loaded SWP 3.0. I was advised to download the newest print drivers from Hewlett Packard and install them. This worked fine for both of the printers that I use, HP 660SEc and HP Laser Jet 5N."

4. Install a print driver for a compatible printer. Here is another customer report: "I had similar problems w/ an HP 5Si/Mx. After long conversations w/ HP support. We concluded that the HP LaserJet 4V driver worked. I have been using it w/o problem." You may have to experiment some to find the right print driver for your printer.

Added 03/03/00; revised 06/17/02, 08/21/03

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