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Printing from Firefox is a nightmare

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I never thought I'd say this, but I'm eternally grateful for Internet Explorer, it actually prints correctly every time.

Firefox also did fine for years, but anymore it's a total crap shoot. I run an on-line business from home. I have six printers hooked up to the PC either through USB or the LAN. On laser printer for letter sized paper and a bunch of label printers with different size labels. Firefox seems to want to determine what printer I want to use for printing from web sites and used the same one regardless of what I'm printing and apparently tells the web site so the printout is formatted for that printer. So if Firefox decides I want to print to a 4x6 label printer and I'm trying to print to an 8.5x11 printer the output is the size appropriate for a 4x6 sheet instead of an 8.5x11 when I print to the laser printer. And for some reason Firefox keeps setting the paper size for the 4x6 printer is 11.88x4.88 with .39 margins (when printing shipping labels through PayPal), none of which is correct.

And then there was the time the other day when the header and footer info that I have set to blank started printing with the standard Firefox settings. I checked the about:config file and the fields were all set to blank. Same in the print properties box in Firefox. If I did a print preview first it would print correctly - blank fields. Deleting the prefs.js file fixed this one, but the other issues keep coming back.

Is there anyway to tell Firefox to use the printer settings I've set up in Windows and to ask what printer I want to use before it tells a web site how to format the printout? Like IE seems to do.

And then there's the new feature in Firefox that won't allow Java printing, so I can't print UPS labels from Firefox. I'm so grateful for Internet Explorer.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm eternally grateful for Internet Explorer, it actually prints correctly every time. Firefox also did fine for years, but anymore it's a total crap shoot. I run an on-line business from home. I have six printers hooked up to the PC either through USB or the LAN. On laser printer for letter sized paper and a bunch of label printers with different size labels. Firefox seems to want to determine what printer I want to use for printing from web sites and used the same one regardless of what I'm printing and apparently tells the web site so the printout is formatted for that printer. So if Firefox decides I want to print to a 4x6 label printer and I'm trying to print to an 8.5x11 printer the output is the size appropriate for a 4x6 sheet instead of an 8.5x11 when I print to the laser printer. And for some reason Firefox keeps setting the paper size for the 4x6 printer is 11.88x4.88 with .39 margins (when printing shipping labels through PayPal), none of which is correct. And then there was the time the other day when the header and footer info that I have set to blank started printing with the standard Firefox settings. I checked the about:config file and the fields were all set to blank. Same in the print properties box in Firefox. If I did a print preview first it would print correctly - blank fields. Deleting the prefs.js file fixed this one, but the other issues keep coming back. Is there anyway to tell Firefox to use the printer settings I've set up in Windows and to ask what printer I want to use before it tells a web site how to format the printout? Like IE seems to do. And then there's the new feature in Firefox that won't allow Java printing, so I can't print UPS labels from Firefox. I'm so grateful for Internet Explorer.

Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

  • Foxit Reader Plug-In For Firefox and Netscape
  • Google Update
  • NPRuntime Script Plug-in Library for Java(TM) Deploy
  • Next Generation Java Plug-in 11.91.2 for Mozilla browsers
  • The plug-in allows you to open and edit files using Microsoft Office applications
  • Office Authorization plug-in for NPAPI browsers
  • The plugin allows you to have a better experience with Microsoft Lync
  • NVIDIA 3D Vision Streaming plugin for Mozilla browsers
  • NVIDIA 3D Vision plugin for Mozilla browsers
  • The QuickTime Plugin allows you to view a wide variety of multimedia content in Web pages. For more information, visit the QuickTime Web site.
  • Shockwave Flash 22.0 r0
  • Plug-in compatible with UIS v3.0
  • VLC media player Web Plugin

Application

  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:47.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/47.0

More Information

the-edmeister
  • Top 25 Contributor
  • Moderator
5406 solutions 40228 answers

With all due respect, Firefox printing has never been "fine" - it's been barely acceptable since the first day I used it back in Aug 2002 when it was called Phoenix. The first two or 3 years I would "view in Firefox" and when I wanted to print something (just once) I would copy the URL and paste it into IE and print it from there. And during the next few years it was Opera I used a my "print it correctly jut once" go to application. By then Firefox made it to being "just acceptable"; although I wouldn't ever just "print" - every page got a Print Preview first. And by that time I was still doing one out of ten pages in Opera or Safari. And I never got low enough to even think about using Chrome; "kissing the floor" is bad enough, but "licking it" was lower than I would go - rather use a Mac instead.

In comparison to other browsers that I have used, Firefox doesn't always 'honor' system wide "defaults". For most everything the last used is the "new" default, which IMO can be a real headache with more than one printer, and with 6 printers I can only imagine how hard that is to deal with. And if there is more than one person using any or all 6 printers I would give up and use a different browser. Or have six different Firefox Profiles and use Sync to keep all my data synchronized; one Profile for each printer - so the "default" would never get changed in Firefox. <rant mode off>

And for some reason Firefox keeps setting the paper size for the 4x6 printer is 11.88x4.88 with .39 margins ...

That sounds like a regressive Bug that was just fixed and is now being tested in Firefox 48 beta 7 - available tomorrow?? Sorry I don't run the Beta's any longer so 'm not "up" on the exact date of the beta phases - I become so thoroughly disgusted with Firefox lately that I am using the Firefox 38.8.0 ESR version for a good part of each day. I am damn tired' or losing extensions that I have come to rely upon or spent hours every 6 weeks looking for suitable replacements for gets lost. But like bad sushi, that will eventually pass, I just hope I am still alive when it does "pass".

With all due respect, Firefox printing has never been "fine" - it's been barely acceptable since the first day I used it back in Aug 2002 when it was called Phoenix. The first two or 3 years I would "view in Firefox" and when I wanted to print something (just once) I would copy the URL and paste it into IE and print it from there. And during the next few years it was Opera I used a my "print it correctly jut once" go to application. By then Firefox made it to being "just acceptable"; although I wouldn't ever just "print" - every page got a Print Preview first. And by that time I was still doing one out of ten pages in Opera or Safari. And I never got low enough to even think about using Chrome; "kissing the floor" is bad enough, but "licking it" was lower than I would go - rather use a Mac instead. In comparison to other browsers that I have used, Firefox doesn't always 'honor' system wide "defaults". For most everything the '''last used''' is the "new" default, which IMO can be a real headache with more than one printer, and with 6 printers I can only imagine how hard that is to deal with. And if there is more than one person using any or all 6 printers I would give up and use a different browser. Or have six different Firefox Profiles and use Sync to keep all my data synchronized; one Profile for each printer - so the "default" would never get changed in Firefox. ''<rant mode off>'' <blockquote> And for some reason Firefox keeps setting the paper size for the 4x6 printer is 11.88x4.88 with .39 margins ... </blockquote> That sounds like a regressive Bug that was just fixed and is now being tested in Firefox 48 beta 7 - available tomorrow?? ''Sorry I don't run the Beta's any longer so 'm not "up" on the exact date of the beta phases - I become so thoroughly disgusted with Firefox lately that I am using the Firefox 38.8.0 ESR version for a good part of each day. I am damn tired' or losing extensions that I have come to rely upon or spent hours every 6 weeks looking for suitable replacements for gets lost. But like bad sushi, that will eventually pass, I just hope I am still alive when it does "pass".''

Question owner

I see I'm not alone, I expected that was the case. So why is printing from Firefox such a cluster? Can't the developers make things simple so they work? Pretty basic concept that has been proven over and over to be the best way to go.

Printing is just one of the areas Firefox is on the verge of being removed from all PCs here. It sounds like that's the case for you as well.

Too bad, it's so good in some ways but keeps getting worse in others.

I see I'm not alone, I expected that was the case. So why is printing from Firefox such a cluster? Can't the developers make things simple so they work? Pretty basic concept that has been proven over and over to be the best way to go. Printing is just one of the areas Firefox is on the verge of being removed from all PCs here. It sounds like that's the case for you as well. Too bad, it's so good in some ways but keeps getting worse in others.
jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8758 solutions 71665 answers

Helpful Reply

Firefox always assumes you want to use the printer you used the last time. If you want it to always assume you want to use one specific printer, such as the OS default, there is a preference for that:

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button promising to be careful.

(2) In the search box above the list, type or paste print.s and pause while the list is filtered

(3) Double-click the print.save_print_settings preference to toggle it from true to false

You might need to clear the print_printer preference (right-click > Reset it) if it does not already list your preferred default printer. Or if you want to use a printer other than the OS default, enter its name here.

P.S. I learned of this preference from the-edmeister in another thread.

Firefox always assumes you want to use the printer you used the last time. If you want it to always assume you want to use one specific printer, such as the OS default, there is a preference for that: (1) In a new tab, type or paste '''about:config''' in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button promising to be careful. (2) In the search box above the list, type or paste '''print.s''' and pause while the list is filtered (3) Double-click the '''print.save_print_settings''' preference to toggle it from true to false You might need to clear the '''print_printer''' preference (right-click > Reset it) if it does not already list your preferred default printer. Or if you want to use a printer other than the OS default, enter its name here. ''P.S. I learned of this preference from the-edmeister in another thread.''
ftp1 3 solutions 4 answers

-->about:config- Select Print.printer ....Your printer name....paper_width change number to Reset-Visszaállítás -->about:config- Select Print.printer ….Your printer name..…paper_height change number to Reset-(Visszaállítás)

-->about:config- Select Print.printer ....Your printer name....paper_width change number to Reset-Visszaállítás -->about:config- Select Print.printer ….Your printer name..…paper_height change number to Reset-(Visszaállítás)

Question owner

jscher2000 said

Firefox always assumes you want to use the printer you used the last time. If you want it to always assume you want to use one specific printer, such as the OS default, there is a preference for that: (1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button promising to be careful. (2) In the search box above the list, type or paste print.s and pause while the list is filtered (3) Double-click the print.save_print_settings preference to toggle it from true to false You might need to clear the print_printer preference (right-click > Reset it) if it does not already list your preferred default printer. Or if you want to use a printer other than the OS default, enter its name here. P.S. I learned of this preference from the-edmeister in another thread.

I haven't checked this thread in a while, no emails from it so I forget about it. Anyway, I had already set print.save_print_settings to false. I'd prefer asks me every time which printer I want to use since it is not always the same.

''jscher2000 [[#answer-896797|said]]'' <blockquote> Firefox always assumes you want to use the printer you used the last time. If you want it to always assume you want to use one specific printer, such as the OS default, there is a preference for that: (1) In a new tab, type or paste '''about:config''' in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button promising to be careful. (2) In the search box above the list, type or paste '''print.s''' and pause while the list is filtered (3) Double-click the '''print.save_print_settings''' preference to toggle it from true to false You might need to clear the '''print_printer''' preference (right-click > Reset it) if it does not already list your preferred default printer. Or if you want to use a printer other than the OS default, enter its name here. ''P.S. I learned of this preference from the-edmeister in another thread.'' </blockquote> I haven't checked this thread in a while, no emails from it so I forget about it. Anyway, I had already set print.save_print_settings to false. I'd prefer asks me every time which printer I want to use since it is not always the same.

Question owner

ftp1 said

-->about:config- Select Print.printer ....Your printer name....paper_width change number to Reset-Visszaállítás -->about:config- Select Print.printer ….Your printer name..…paper_height change number to Reset-(Visszaállítás)

I tried resetting the values, I'll let you know if it worked next time I need to print to that printer from Firefox.

Thanks to all for the help.

''ftp1 [[#answer-909070|said]]'' <blockquote> -->about:config- Select Print.printer ....Your printer name....paper_width change number to Reset-Visszaállítás -->about:config- Select Print.printer ….Your printer name..…paper_height change number to Reset-(Visszaállítás) </blockquote> I tried resetting the values, I'll let you know if it worked next time I need to print to that printer from Firefox. Thanks to all for the help.

Question owner

No joy. The paper size on my 4x6 inch label printer are wrong, regardless of how many times I go into about:config and change them.

Isn't there any way to force Firefox to ask what printer I want to use every time?

No joy. The paper size on my 4x6 inch label printer are wrong, regardless of how many times I go into about:config and change them. Isn't there any way to force Firefox to ask what printer I want to use every time?
the-edmeister
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  • Moderator
5406 solutions 40228 answers

Suggestion:

Create a new Profile to use with that label printer and include -no-remote in the desktop shortcut to that Profile to allow that Profile to open while you're using the "default" Profile. That way you won't need to change any preferences when you want to print a label. And opening Firefox with an additional / different Profile will be a lot quicker than fiddling with resetting preferences.

See this for way too much information about dealing with multiple Profiles. http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2821799

'''Suggestion:''' Create a new Profile to use with that label printer and include '''-no-remote''' in the desktop shortcut to that Profile to allow that Profile to open while you're using the "default" Profile. ''That way you won't need to change any preferences when you want to print a label. And opening Firefox with an additional / different Profile will be a lot quicker than fiddling with resetting preferences.'' See this ''for way too much information'' about dealing with multiple Profiles. http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2821799

Question owner

So that would work until I accidentally print something from that profile with a different printer, right?

It seems to me that the easier solution for me is to use Internet Explorer. At least for any of those time when I need to print from the web.

However, in my view, the best solution is for Firefox to be able to print anything from any web site at any time correctly.

It's almost as stupid as Microsoft Word not being able to remember what printer any given document was last printed to instead of the last printer any document was printed to. Have a document to print labels? Better remember not to hit quick print after printing something to a letter sized page.

So that would work until I accidentally print something from that profile with a different printer, right? It seems to me that the easier solution for me is to use Internet Explorer. At least for any of those time when I need to print from the web. However, in my view, the best solution is for Firefox to be able to print anything from any web site at any time correctly. It's almost as stupid as Microsoft Word not being able to remember what printer any given document was last printed to instead of the last printer any document was printed to. Have a document to print labels? Better remember not to hit quick print after printing something to a letter sized page.
jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8758 solutions 71665 answers

tasdave said

So that would work until I accidentally print something from that profile with a different printer, right?

Accidents don't need to happen. You can use a theme to make the "labels only" instance of Firefox look very different. https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/themes/

''tasdave [[#answer-912183|said]]'' <blockquote> So that would work until I accidentally print something from that profile with a different printer, right?</blockquote> Accidents don't need to happen. You can use a theme to make the "labels only" instance of Firefox look very different. https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/themes/
the-edmeister
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5406 solutions 40228 answers

tasdave said

It's almost as stupid as Microsoft Word not being able to remember what printer any given document was last printed to instead of the last printer any document was printed to.

So in your experience Word works similar to Firefox, which defaults to the last used printer as the "new default", until the user changes to a different printer. I didn't realize that, I have been using Open Office & Libre Office (which work similar to Firefox) for so long that I had forgotten about that quirk in Word. Goes to show you that Firefox isn't "wrong", just differs from what many people think is the norm.

As far as using IE for printing via the label printer, that's a good idea; as long as you don't get caught up in the "system defaults" and don't want to change the "default printer" in Windows. Firefox has no issues with other web browsers being open at the same time as Firefox. I have had IE, Chromium, Safari, Opera (the old Presto based version), PaleMoon, and K-Meleon running while using Firefox (and multiple versions of Firefox at that) at the same time with no ill effects.

Overall - as jscher2000 mentioned, a lightweight theme (formerly known as Personas) can be used as a visual identifier of which Firefox Profile you have open. And with most other Add-ons (other than Plugins) the installation of a lightweight theme is per Profile; won;t appear in any other Firefox Profiles that you may have. And other customizations can be made to differentiate a "special use" Profile from the regular Profile. And the desktop shortcut to open the "special use" Profile can be reworded to make unique.

However, in my view, the best solution is for Firefox to be able to print anything from any web site at any time correctly.
The old idiom - "Be careful what you wish for ..."
''tasdave [[#answer-912183|said]]'' <blockquote> It's almost as stupid as Microsoft Word not being able to remember what printer any given document was last printed to instead of the last printer any document was printed to. </blockquote> So in your experience Word works similar to Firefox, which defaults to the '''last used''' printer as the "new default", until the user changes to a different printer. I didn't realize that, I have been using Open Office & Libre Office ''(which work similar to Firefox)'' for so long that I had forgotten about that quirk in Word. ''Goes to show you that Firefox isn't "wrong", just differs from what many people think is the norm.'' As far as using IE for printing via the label printer, that's a good idea; as long as you don't get caught up in the "system defaults" and don't want to change the "default printer" in Windows. Firefox has no issues with other web browsers being open at the same time as Firefox. I have had IE, Chromium, Safari, Opera ''(the old Presto based version)'', PaleMoon, and K-Meleon running while using Firefox ''(and multiple versions of Firefox at that)'' at the same time with no ill effects. Overall - as jscher2000 mentioned, a lightweight theme (formerly known as Personas) can be used as a visual identifier of which Firefox Profile you have open. And with most other Add-ons (other than Plugins) the installation of a lightweight theme is per Profile; won;t appear in any other Firefox Profiles that you may have. And other customizations can be made to differentiate a "special use" Profile from the regular Profile. And the desktop shortcut to open the "special use" Profile can be reworded to make unique. <blockquote> However, in my view, the best solution is for Firefox to be able to print anything from any web site at any time correctly. </blockquote> The old idiom - [https://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/be+careful+what+you+wish+for.html "Be careful what you wish for ..."]

Question owner

The difference between Word printing to the last printer and Firefox wanting to print to the last printer is that when you tell Word which printer to use it prints it based on that printers settings. Firefox either tells the website the paper size it will be printing to or it formats it internally for what it expects the paper size to be so that even when re-directed to the correct printer the printout is formatted for the printer Firefox wants to use.

And Firefox refuses to leave the paper size for the 4x6 label printer at 4x6.

The difference between Word printing to the last printer and Firefox wanting to print to the last printer is that when you tell Word which printer to use it prints it based on that printers settings. Firefox either tells the website the paper size it will be printing to or it formats it internally for what it expects the paper size to be so that even when re-directed to the correct printer the printout is formatted for the printer Firefox wants to use. And Firefox refuses to leave the paper size for the 4x6 label printer at 4x6.
OzWaz 0 solutions 9 answers

I would like to start by saying that I am very appreciative of the opportunity of using software developed by others who obviously devote much of their time and particular their expertise - for FREE. I think it is a privilege to be allowed to use it.

For many years I have been using Firefox as my preferred browser but a month ago (and I suspect it’s probably a consequence of an update) it no longer will allow me to use my PDF software to print in PDF format.

I can still use the PDF software in other browsers.

My paper printers and Microsoft’s XP Document Writer still work fine.

Having read all the material above, could this be an associated problem?

Rest assured that any assistance offered would be gratefully and gracefully accepted

I would like to start by saying that I am very appreciative of the opportunity of using software developed by others who obviously devote much of their time and particular their expertise - for FREE. I think it is a privilege to be allowed to use it. For many years I have been using Firefox as my preferred browser but a month ago (and I suspect it’s probably a consequence of an update) it no longer will allow me to use my PDF software to print in PDF format. I can still use the PDF software in other browsers. My paper printers and Microsoft’s XP Document Writer still work fine. Having read all the material above, could this be an associated problem? Rest assured that any assistance offered would be gratefully and gracefully accepted

Modified by OzWaz

jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8758 solutions 71665 answers

Hi OzWaz, I would encourage you to start a new question. This one is nearing its six month expiration date (threads are locked after six months), and it would be helpful to have a thread focused on your particular PDF printer driver or PDF add-on rather than being at the tail end of a more general discussion.

https://support.mozilla.org/questions/new/desktop/fix-problems

Please scroll down past the suggested articles and posts to continue with the new question form, unless you find something directly on point for your PDF'ing software.

Hi OzWaz, I would encourage you to start a new question. This one is nearing its six month expiration date (threads are locked after six months), and it would be helpful to have a thread focused on your particular PDF printer driver or PDF add-on rather than being at the tail end of a more general discussion. https://support.mozilla.org/questions/new/desktop/fix-problems Please scroll down past the suggested articles and posts to continue with the new question form, unless you find something directly on point for your PDF'ing software.
OzWaz 0 solutions 9 answers

Okay - Thanks

Okay - Thanks