(:title All About Page-Level Color Detection:)
Color detection in PaperCut refereed to a process where a different cost is charged based on the use color in the print job. Most organizations charge/account more for color jobs because of:
- Lease agreements - most leased devices have different “click costs” for color print jobs
- Color jobs use more expensive toner
- Color enabled devices are more expensive to purchase than a plain black & white printer
PaperCut allows administrators to set a different cost on color vs grayscale (b&w) jobs and will apply these costs based on one of two different methods:
Standard Color Detection:
The color or grayscale charge is applied at the document level. It’s based on the user’s selection/use of the “grayscale” or “black and white only” option in the print preferences panel. If the user has selected Grayscale, the job will be charged at the discounted rate for black and white, otherwise the document is assumed to be color.
Page Level Color Detection:
Page-level color detection is a more advanced mode and it works by applying the different grayscale and color costs on a page by page basis. If the page contains any use of color, the color rate is applied for this page, otherwise the black and white rate is applied.
PaperCut accomplishes page level color detection by carefully analyzing each individual pixel on the printed page. It looks for use of color in all areas of a page such as:
- images (in all formats, bit depths and compression forms)
- text (including text using embedded True Type fonts)
- and other graphics.
This analysis is done while the document is spooling to the print server before the print job is passed to the printer. This allows accurate costs to be calculated prior to print allowing appropriate actions to be taken as defined by the administrator.
Page-level color detection is usually also run in conjunction with hardware page count validation. The validation works by querying the printer’s hardware after the job to ensure the analysis done on the software layer on the server prior to printing is the same as observed by the hardware.
Q What printers support page-level color detection?
PaperCut supports page-level color detection for any printer that provides a Postscript, PCL or HP/GL driver. These terms referse to the print language (PDL) used by the printer/driver. The task of analyzing the stream of data sent to the printer looking for use of color is very complex and for this reason PaperCut only supports well documented printer languages. Postscript and PCL are standard languages which are publicly documented. The notable exception are GDI based printers. Printers using GDI drivers use non-documented and proprietary languages, which are often evolving, and it’s not viable to support page-level analysis for these drivers. (Document-level color detection is support in most cases, and some GDI printers can support hardware-level validation (applied after print).
Q Will page-level color detection slow printing?
Page-level color detection does add overhead to job analysis. It’s a lot work to search through a document looking at every pixel rather than just page ends/starts. However in the real world we find that the slowdown in analysis is minimal and not noted by end-users. The reasons for this is that as soon as color is found on a page, the analysis is skipped for the remainer of the page. In real-world documents, the increase in analysis time in around 10% to 20%. For example the analysis time of the PaperCut PDF manual (508 pages) in PCL6
Standard Detection: 315 ms
Page-Level Color Detection: 364 ms
Difference: < 1ms per page
Q Page-level color detection sounds good. Why would I not use it?
If your printer support page-level color detection we recommend enabling it as it provides the most fair and accurate policy for charging print usage. There are however a few reasons why sites often choose not to enable it:
- If some printers can’t support page-level color detection, it may make scene to leave it off all printers to ensure there is a standard and consistent charging policy across all devices in the organization.
- Page-level color detection can make it harder for a user to understand/predict a job cost.
For more information about how to use and enable page-level color detection, see:
Categories: Tips & Tricks, Printers
Keywords: colour detection, printer configuration, charging, color page quotas