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Q: Printer density setting ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Printer density setting
Category: Computers > Hardware
Asked by: linda12345-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 10 Mar 2003 15:41 PST
Expires: 09 Apr 2003 16:41 PDT
Question ID: 174367
How do I adjust the print density on a laserjet 1100 under winxp?
Subject: Re: Printer density setting
Answered By: clouseau-ga on 10 Mar 2003 16:19 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello linda12345,

Thank you for your question. 

I visited the HP web site and viewed the manual for your printer:

There is no setting called "density" but several interrelated settings
make adjustments that effect the darkness of print on the page.

If you go to your printer driver settings, for example finding your
printer under "printers" at the bottom of the folder listings in
Windows Explorer and right clicking the printer and selecting
properties, you will find a tab for "Finishing" for your driver.

HP says:

"Changing print quality settings

Print quality settings affect such things as how light or dark the
print on the page is and the style in which you would like graphics

You can change the settings in printer properties to accommodate the
types of jobs you are printing. The possible settings are as follows:

 Best Quality
 Faster Printing
 LaserJet III Compatibility
 EconoMode (Save Toner)

These settings can be accessed on the Finishing tab under Print
Quality settings in the printer properties.

Note To change the print quality settings for all future print jobs,
access the properties through the Start menu in your system tray. To
change the print quality settings only for the current software
application use, access the properties through the Print Setup menu in
the application from which you are printing. See “Printer properties

Print using EconoMode (save toner)

An excellent way to extend the life of your toner cartridge is by
using EconoMode. EconoMode uses substantially less toner than normal
printing. The printed image is much lighter, but is adequate for
printing drafts or proofs.

To enable EconoMode, access the printer Properties. On the
Finishing tab under Print Quality, click EconoMode.
Note To enable EconoMode for all future jobs, see “Printer properties

The combination of these two settings should control what I believe
you mean by "density". Should these settings not provide an adequately
black image, it is possible that your toner cartridge is nearing the
end of its life.

The HP manual notes:

"When toner is low, faded or light areas may appear on a printed page.
You may be able to temporarily improve print quality by redistributing
the toner. The following procedure may allow you to finish the current
print job before replacing the toner cartridge.


If the scanner is attached, it may be necessary to move the printer to
the edge of the work space before opening the printer door in order to
get the full range of motion.

1 Open the printer door and remove the toner cartridge from the


To prevent damage, do not expose the toner cartridge to light for more
than a few minutes. Cover it with a sheet of paper.

2 Gently shake the toner cartridge from side-to-side to redistribute
the toner.


If toner gets on your clothing, wipe it off with a dry cloth and wash
clothing in cold water. Hot water sets toner into fabric.

3 Reinsert the toner cartridge into the printer and close the printer

If the print remains light, install a new toner cartridge. See
“Changing the toner cartridge.” "

The above settings appear to be the only options for image darkness or
lightness in this driver.

However, when printing from an application such as Microsoft Word, the
driver may have additional options. For example, you should have a DPI
(dots per inch) setting and raising this to the maximum available
choice may well increase your print quality and achieve the result
desired. There also may be additional choices under print quality. So
do check the settings from the application print dialog the prompted
you to ask this question.

You may also wish to visit this HP page on HP LaserJet 1100 Product
Family - Print Quality Problems:

This document provides troubleshooting steps for solving print quality
problems with the HP LaserJet 1100 series printer.

Search Strategy:

HP Laserjet 1100 manual

I trust my research has provided you with your answer. If a link above
should fail to work or anything require further explanation or
research, please do post a Request for Clarification prior to rating
the answer and closing the question and I will be pleased to assist



Request for Answer Clarification by linda12345-ga on 12 Mar 2003 05:34 PST
I'm sorry that I was not more clear in my question to begin with. As a
result, your answer just gave me the standard HP documentation, which
I had already read. The problem is this: the laserjet 1100 printer has
a "print density" setting which you can see when you run the
self-test. It is currently set to 3 on a scale of 1 - 5, and I want to
set it to 4. Every other operating system, from DOS through Windows
98, has the right driver to do this; winxp does not. For example,
under "Finishing" in the options under the Win98 driver, you can set
the print to "custom" and then change the print density setting to 1,
2, 3, 4, or 5. My question is, how do I change the print density
setting, given the fact that I am running winxp?

Clarification of Answer by clouseau-ga on 12 Mar 2003 09:50 PST
Hello again,

This is now much more clear.

I spent over a half hour with a baffled HP Tech Support person and
found the answer.

First, be sure you have the Laserjet 100/1100A PCL5E driver. You can
download it from HP here:

Then, go to the finishing tab
Go to the print quality box
Choose "Custom"
Press the details button and denisity settings should be able to be
changed from here.

Since I do not have this printer or driver, I can not check this, but
the support tech felt confident this is where the density can be



Request for Answer Clarification by linda12345-ga on 12 Mar 2003 10:47 PST
Thanks -- I understand that you are working hard on this problem, and
I appreciate that. Unfortunately, the solution that was given to you
by HP tech support is not accurate. It *is* absolutely accurate for
Win 98 -- in fact I used to do this very thing all the time when I was
running Win 98. But it does not work for winxp -- there is no such
setting indicator in the "Print Quality" box, nor in any other box
that is available under Properties.

There is a possible hint to this that I am not able to track all the
way down, but perhaps you can. If you were using this printer under
DOS, you could change the print density setting through something
called a Remote Configuration Utility, but if you didn't have that,
you could actually go in and edit a file called "DEFAULTS.PJL" and
then load a line into your autoexec.bat file to copy the new defaults
file into LPT1. Obviously, since I don't have an autoexec.bat file
under winxp, I can't do this. But there has to be some way to change
this setting!

The next thing I'm going to try, if you can't come up with the answer,
is to move the printer to a win98 machine, change the print density
setting to the number I want, then move it back to my winxp machine
and see if the setting sticks. I'm skeptical that this will work,
because I think the driver will just move it back to the default the
next time I restart the computer.

Let me know if you have any other ideas.

Clarification of Answer by clouseau-ga on 12 Mar 2003 11:17 PST
Hi again Linda,

The tech I spoke to installed the driver and tested this as I waited
on the phone and was confident this setting existed as mentioned
above. He did this on an XP box.

Are you sure you are using the correct driver? One reason I ask is
that I checked my own 6P and this setting was not there. HP says it IS
there on the driver packaged with the Windows disc, but not the
downloaded driver. Curious.

Would you be so kind as to download the driver from the HP page
mentioned above. Delete your current printer. Reboot and reinstall the
driver and check again?

I do have a case number at HP and will call again if this is not


Request for Answer Clarification by linda12345-ga on 12 Mar 2003 13:18 PST
Ok -- I did exactly what you said. 

I downloaded the driver file:
release date: 2002-5-23

When I ran this file, it produced the driver:

I deleted the printer, rebooted, and installed the new driver. I
printed a test page that shows the following:
Driver name: HPBF201G.DLL
Data file: HPBF201I.PMD
Config file: HPBF201E.DLL
Driver version: 0.24

I still have exactly the same problem.

Clarification of Answer by clouseau-ga on 12 Mar 2003 13:46 PST
Hi Linda,

I called HP once again and this tech walked over to his XP box and
found the following:

Go to Print Preferences
Select the Finishing Tab
Now click the DETAILS button in the lower right
On the upper right you should be able to select the density from 1-5

He also notes that this will change the density in Windows, but the
configuration page will still shows density=3 as that is reporting the
setting for DOS. But the change will be effective for Windows

Odd that two techs would have such different answers.

Do let me know!


Request for Answer Clarification by linda12345-ga on 12 Mar 2003 14:20 PST
This is what I get when I click PRINT PREFERENCES - FINISHING -

On the left:

Current setting
This is the "Best Quality" setting

Graphics Settings

Complex Graphics
Use HP MEt
Use More Memory

Rendering Mode:
Send Graphics as Vector
Send Graphics as Raster
Send Page as Raster

On the right:

600 dpi

Resolution Enhancement Technology (REt):

Scale Patterns (WYSIWYG)
Print All Text as Black

Font Settings
Send TrueType as Bitmaps

Nowhere, nowhere, nowhere is there a setting for print density. It's
not on this settings page, nor on any of the other ones available --
EFFECTS, PAPER, etc. etc. And I know what it looks like, because I
used it under win98 -- same printer!!

Perhaps this is the key to the problem. In one of your messages, you

"Are you sure you are using the correct driver? One reason I ask is
that I checked my own 6P and this setting was not there. HP says it IS
there on the driver packaged with the Windows disc, but not the
downloaded driver. Curious."

I don't have a winxp driver on disk from HP, since I bought the
printer when I was still running win98. I have been working with only
the downloaded driver. Maybe it's the same problem -- the setting is
there on the driver that's on the disk you get when you get a new
printer, but not on the downloaded one. That would explain why the
techs can see the setting on their xp boxes and I can't.

Clarification of Answer by clouseau-ga on 12 Mar 2003 15:06 PST
Hi once again,

I downloaded the HP driver and installed it on a friend's XP box. The
setting is not there! Makes one wonder about tech support departments!

I called HP once again and now a third tech tells me it can not be
done through the driver in XP!

Here is his proposed solution:



  ISSUE:       Editing DEFAULTS.PJL to change printer settings on
               the HP LaserJet 5P, 5MP, 5L, 5L-FS, 5L Xtra, 6P,
               6L, 1100, 1200, 2100, 2200, and 3200 family

  SOLUTION:    When operating in a DOS environment and the Remote
               Control Panel is not functional or accessible, you
               may set printer defaults by editing the
               DEFAULTS.PJL file that is located on the DOS-
               Utilities disk.  This file can be copied to the
               hard drive and accessed using the DOS Editor.  If
               it has already been copied to the hard drive, this
               file may exist under the root directory or in the
               HPLJUTIL directory.
               To copy the DEFAULTS.PJL file from the DOS-
               Utilities disk to the hard drive, use the
               following command:
               C:\> COPY A:\DEFAULTS.PJL C:\

          NOTE:     For the HP LaserJet 1100 and HP
                    LaserJet 2100 the DEFAULTS.PJL file
                    is located on the CD in the
                    DOS/ENGLISH directory for the HP
                    LaserJet 1100 and the ENGLISH/DOS
                    directory for the HP LaserJet 2100.
                    After copying the file to the hard
                    drive uncheck "Read - only" in the
                    file properties.

               This allows the original file to remain on your
               disk for backup purposes, and places a copy on the
               root directory, so it may be accessed from the
               C:\> prompt.

               To edit the DEFAULTS.PJL file, use the following
               command to retrieve the file.  If it has been
               copied into a directory, you will have to change
               to that directory first:
               C:\> EDIT DEFAULTS.PJL

               In DOS edit, modify the desired field, as
               necessary.  Save the changes by pressing <ALT>
               File <F> Save <S>.  Send the changes to the
               printer by pressing <ALT> File <F> Print <P> and
               print the complete document.  Print a Self-Test
               page to verify changes.  Exit DOS editor by
               pressing <ALT> File <F> Exit <X>.

               To make the new defaults automatically download to
               the printer, include it in the AUTOEXEC file with
               the following command:
               C:\> EDIT AUTOEXEC.BAT

               In DOS edit, add a line below the "PATH" line by
               moving to the end of the "PATH" line with the
               cursor and press ENTER.  Add the following
               COPY DEFAULTS.PJL LPT1

          NOTE:     For DOS printing in Windows NT 4.0,
                    set the default printer driver
                    Print Processor to RAW.

               Save the file: <ALT> File <F> Save <S>, then exit
               DOS editor: <ALT> File <F> Exit  <X>.

          NOTE:     Restarting the PC at this point
                    will download the defaults to the

               The DEFAULTS.PJL file includes the variables in
               Table 1, which may be modified to alter the
               printer defaults:

     Table 1: DEFAULTS.PJL file variables
|COPIES=1            |(variables of 1 to 999)                   |
|ORIENTATION=PORTRAIT|(variables of portrait or landscape)      |
|PAPER=LETTER        |(variables of letter, legal, executive,   |
|                    |Com10, B5, A4, A5, C5, DL, and Monarch),  |
|                    |JISEXEC ( 8.5 X 13 )                      |
|MPTRAY=FIRST        |(variables of cassette, manual, or first) |
|MANUALFEED=OFF      |(variables of on or off)                  |
|FORMLINES=60        |(variables of 5 to 128)                   |
|LPARM:PCL           |(variables of ROMAN8, ISOL1, ISOL2,       |
|SYMSET=PC8          |ISOL5, PC8, PC8DN PC850, PC852, PC8TK,    |
|                    |WINL1, WINL2, WINL5, DESKTOP, PSTEXT,     |
|                    |VNINTL, VNUS, MSPUBL, MATH8, PSMATH,      |
|                    |VNMATH, PIFONT, LEGAL, ISO4, ISO6, ISO11, |
|                    |ISO15, ISO17, ISO21, ISO60, ISO69, WIN30) |
|LPARM:  PCL PITCH = |(variables of .44 to 99.99) Set to 16.67  |
|10.00               |for condensed printing.                   |
|LPARM:  PCL         |(variables depend on font sources         |
|FONTSOURCE=I        |available)  I=internal font               |
|LPARM:  PCL         |(variables depend on fonts available--may |
|FONTNUMBER=0        |be determined from typeface list)         |
|ECONOMODE=OFF       |(variables of off or on)                  |
|DENSITY=5           |(variables of 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5)           |
|RET=MEDIUM          |(variables of off, light, medium, or dark)|
|RESOLUTION=600      |(variables of 600 or 300)                 |
|PAGEPROTECT=AUTO    |(variables of auto, A4, letter, legal, or |
|                    |off)                                      |
|AUTOCONT=OFF        |(variables of on or off)                  |
|TIMEOUT=15          |(variables of 5 to 300)                   |

          NOTE:     The following commands are not
                    included in the DEFAULTS.PJL file
                    for the HP LaserJet 6P (they can be
                    added if needed):

                    Ec%-12345X@PJL DEFAULT DENSITY=3

                    Ec%-12345X@PJL DEFAULT MPTRAY=FIRST

                    Ec%-12345X@PJL DEFAULT
                    COURIER=REGULAR (variables of
                    REGULAR or DARK)

                    Ec represents the escape character.
                    In DOS Edit, the escape character
                    can be entered by pressing CTRL and
                    tapping the letter P, release both
                    keys and press the ESC key.  An
                    arrow pointing to the left should

     The DEFAULTS.PJL file for the HP LaserJet 1200, 1220, and
     2100 contains additional variables not listed above. Table 2
     lists the additional variables available for these printers.

     Table 2: Additional DEFAULTS.PJL file variables for the HP
     LaserJet 1200, 1220 and 2100 printers.
|PERSONALITY=AUTO  |Variables of AUTO, PS, or PCL.              |
|DUPLEX=OFF        |Variables of OFF or ON                      |
|POWERSAVE=ON      |This command is not active, yet is listed   |
|                  |in the DEFAULTS.PJL file.                   |
|POWERSAVETIME=30  |This command is not active, yet is listed   |
|                  |in the DEFAULTS.PJL file.                   |
|COURIER=REGULAR   |Variables of REGULAR or DARK                |
|INTRAY1=UNLOCKED  |Variables of UNLOCKED or LOCKED             |
|INTRAY2=UNLOCKED  |Variables of UNLOCKED or LOCKED             |
|INTRAY3=UNLOCKED  |Variables of UNLOCKED or LOCKED (HP         |
|                  |LaserJet 1200/1220 only)                    |
|IOBUFFER=AUTO     |This command is not active, yet is listed   |
|                  |in the DEFAULTS.PJL file.                   |
|WIDEA4=NO         |Variables of NO or YES                      |
|REPRINT=AUTO      |Variables of AUTO, NO or YES                |
|TRAY1TEMP=MEDIUM  |Variables of LOW, MEDIUM, and HIGH          |
|TRAY2TEMP=MEDIUM  |Variables of LOW, MEDIUM, and HIGH          |
|INTRAY3TEMP=MEDIUM|Variables of LOW, MEDIUM, and HIGH (HP      |
|                  |LaserJet 1200/1220 only)                    |
|LANG=ENGLISH      |This command is not active, yet is listed   |
|                  |in the DEFAULTS.PJL file. (HP LaserJet      |
|                  |1200/1220 only)                             |
|BINDING=LONGEDGE  |This command is not active, yet is listed   |
|                  |in the DEFAULTS.PJL file. (HP LaserJet      |
|                  |1200/1220 only)                             |

          NOTE:     The .PJL files for the HP LaserJet
                    1200 and 1220 products are Read
                    Only and will need to be renamed on
                    the desktop before editing.

                    These settings may be modified by
                    editing the DEFAULTS.PJL file in
                    DOS edit and saving the changes
                    made. If the DEFAULTS.PJL file is
                    already referenced in the
                    AUTOEXEC.BAT file, there is no need
                    to make any other changes within
                    the system. Remember that you will
                    need to restart the system after
                    making these changes for them to
                    download to the printer.


He says this setting will be lost when the printer power is turned
off. To remedy this, you can create an autoexec.bat and include the
command mentioned above. This, of course, must be in the root of c:.

Awaiting your reply-

The tenacious -=clouseau=-

Request for Answer Clarification by linda12345-ga on 14 Mar 2003 04:24 PST
Dear tenacious,

Thanks for this -- but you'll see from one of our previous exchanges
that I had already come across this solution but am unable to use it
since winxp does not make use of an autoexec.bat file anywhere. In any
case, the problem has been solved. I used the HP e-mail tech support
and they came back with this answer, which I tried and it worked:

Thank you for contacting HP's Commercial Solutions Center.

The printer's default print density is controlled by a PJL command.

For example: Create a file in DOS edit.

1. At the c: prompt type: edit density
2. Press the Enter key.
3. Hold down the control key press the "P" key, release both.
4. Press the Esc key on the keyboard. You should get an arrow pointing
to the left.
5. Type the following line after the arrow:  

%-12345X@PJL DEFAULT DENSITY=1,2,3,4, or 5

NOTE: Choose either 1,2,3,4, or 5.  The Density can be adjusted from 1
to 5, 1 being the lightest and 5 being the darkest.

6. Hold down the control key press the "P" key, release both.
7. Press the Esc key on the keyboard. You should get an arrow pointing
to the left.
8. Type the following line after the arrow:  


9. Choose File and Exit.
10. Choose Yes to save changes.
11. At the c: prompt type: copy density lpt1. (Or whichever port the
printer is attached to)
12. Print a self-test to see what the density is now set to.  

To print a self-test page, press and release the Go button on the
LaserJet 1100. Print Density is listed under the configuration
settings at the bottom of the test page.

NOTE:  If the power is cycled on the HP LaserJet 1100\1100A the
density setting will revert back to the default setting of 3.

I want to thank you very much for your help. This was really a
ridiculous waste of time for both of us, at the fault of HP for such a
poorly engineered design and for too much poorly trained tech support.

In any case, I will go ahead and rate this now. Thanks again for all
your help.


Clarification of Answer by clouseau-ga on 14 Mar 2003 09:13 PST
Hello Linda,

Thanks for the kind rating and sharing my ire with HP. I am amazed
that each support tech has such a different idea of how to solve this

You might check that this setting remains set at your choice if you
happen to power down your printer. My understanding is that it will
not. I also understand that even though you have no autoexec.bat,
there is no reason you can not make use of one in XP. Therefore, if
you insert the line "copy density lpt1" in a text file named
autoexec.bat in the root of c:, you will always have the setting the
way you desire upon booting the computer if your printer is already
truned on and connected.

Best regards,

linda12345-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Extremely helpful and tenacious researcher. Great service.

Subject: Re: Printer density setting
From: perfx-ga on 18 Aug 2004 09:35 PDT

Just a side note.  You do not need to have an autoexec.bat.  Edit the
defaults.pjl then simple type the command "copy defaults.pjl lpt1"
from the same directory as the file is in.  The settings will stick
because you are changing the printers defaults.

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