Troubleshooting page count and color detection issues

“Help! PaperCut is reporting an incorrect number of color or grayscale pages for a print job. How should we go about troubleshooting this?”

Try the following problem resolution actions in this order, testing after each step to see if it has resolved the issue:

Upgrade to the latest version of PaperCut

We strongly recommend upgrading your version of PaperCut to get the latest enhancements. We regularly make printer detection improvements as new printer drivers are released, so chances are that the newer version will have corrected the problem. Check our Release History page to see if the problem has been addressed in a recent release.

Make sure Page-Level Color Detection is Enabled

Ensure that Page-Level Color Detection is enabled for the printer in PaperCut. This should already be ON by default, but if it’s been disabled for any reason PaperCut will rely on the number of pages reported by the spool file instead of fully analyzing the print job.

Confirm the PDL (Page Description Language) is supported

PaperCut supports the majority of printer languages on the market (see Supported Printers for more details). However PCL or PostScript languages are open standards, so we have the easiest time analyzing these print jobs.

To see whether your print job is spooling as PCL, PostScript, or something else look in the “Job Log” tab in the admin interface of PaperCut. This page displays the entire print history of the server, and the printer language of each job is displayed under the “Attributes” column. When printing from a language we don’t support, it would display the language as “Unknown” and the page count may be listed as 0. In the past, we have added support for those proprietary languages based on customer requests.

For the best experience with PaperCut we also recommend you use the latest PCL or PostScript driver available from the printer manufacturer whenever possible.


If you see “EMF” listed in the attributes column…

EMF stands for “Enhanced Metadata Format” and is seen when Advanced Printing Features is enabled the Windows print queue. This print job datatype is not parsable by PaperCut and will prevent page-level color detection from working. Disabling Advanced Print Features will ensure that print jobs spool in a format like PostScript or PCL that PaperCut can analyze directly, rather than relying on the driver’s reported counts or attributes.

Is it a problem with PaperCut’s Hardware Page Count feature?

It’s possible for PaperCut to query a printer after a print job is sent to determine how many pages were really printed. We call this feature Hardware Page Count and it is enabled, we rely on the printer to accurately report the correct number of pages printed over SNMP. If that’s not working as intended, have a look at our article on Debugging Hardware Page Count.


Further Assistance

Don’t hesitate to let us know if you’re having trouble. We love figuring these things out. Feel free to visit our Support Portal to start a support ticket.

While you are at it, you can make our lives a lot easier by sharing this information:

  • A short description of the problem (what you expected versus what happened).
  • The model and make of printer.
  • A download link for the exact to the printer driver in question.
  • If the problem occurs with the current driver and is related to a specific application, a spool file captured when printing a file that demonstrates the issue may be helpful.
  • We may also ask you to enable debug mode in the PaperCut Print Provider on your Print server, and gather logs for us.

Categories: Troubleshooting Articles, Print Jobs


Keywords: unrecognized language, unrecognized printer language, unrecognised language, unrecognised printer language, detection, supported hardware, driver, counting, paper size, paper area, copies, copy count, duplex, page size, color, colour, grayscale, greyscale, colour detection, Zero page count, 0 page count

Comments