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Software Simulations

Printer Utility

Detailed Instructions

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1. INSTALLING THE PRINTER UTILITY

To install the Printer Utility (SSIPRINTER.EXE) for Windows you'll need to save it to your hard drive, either by downloading it from our website or collecting it as an attachment from an email we send to you (in both cases expect the file to take 2-3 minutes to download on a 56k modem, longer for slower modems).

Whether you are saving the file from the website or from an email attachment left-click on SSIPRINTER.EXE. If saving from an email you may need to click the "Save File" option on the "File" menu.

Saving the File

You can save the program file direct to your desktop, though we recommend you save it in your "Programs" or "Program Files" folder and put a shortcut on your desktop instead.

Creating a Shortcut

Once you have saved the program file you need to create a shortcut to the SSIPRINTER.EXE program and place this on your desktop where it will be easy to find. Start Windows Explorer, but don't let it fill the whole screen. Left-click on "Program Files" and then right-click on "SSIPRINTER.EXE". Left-click on the "Create Shortcut" option and a "Shortcut to SSIPRINTER.EXE" should appear in this folder (usually at the bottom of the list of files).

To move the shortcut to your desktop left-click on the "Shortcut to SSIPRINTER.EXE" and drag it to some place on screen where the desktop background shows through (to do this you hold the mouse button down as you move it, and then release it when you've arrived). When you close or minimise Windows Explorer you should find the "Shortcut to SSIPRINTER.EXE" on your desktop.

2. RECEIVING THE EMAIL REPORT

Your game report will normally be sent to you by email from your GM, with a title something like "Software Simulations Game Report". If you've downloaded the sample game report from the sidetracks downloads page then the instructions will be the same, except that you'll be using your browser rather than your email program.

When you receive the email report you'll need to save it to disk before you can print it. It is very important that you do not edit or modify the report. You do not need to strip out the email header at the top of the email, as the printer utility is designed to do this automatically.

The report should be a pure text file. You can probably see how's it's put together, with text you can recognise and a lot of formatting commands that control the layout. What the printer utility does is convert these into commands that your printer can understand.

3. SAVING THE EMAIL REPORT

We recommend you save the game report to a folder specifically created for the purpose. It doesn't need to be in the "My Documents" folder. In Netscape Mail or Microsoft Outlook left-click on "File", left-click on "Save As", select "Plain Text" or "Text Only" (*.txt) in the "Save As Type" option and type a suitable file name in the "File name" option. Note that the file MUST be saved as a plain text file.

4. KEEPING REPORTS ON FILE

The system is simplest if you always use the same file name (maybe call it "REPORT.TXT") and always file it in the same place. This saves having to do the stuff in section 6.

If you want to collect and keep your reports together on disk as well as printing them out then save a second copy with a different file name that tells you what's in the file. For example, the Gameplan Baseball (MLB) game 7, report for the Boston Red Sox (BR) for week 13 might be called "MLB7BR13". Remember whatever name you give the file cannot have a dot in it (if you want to separate the various elements, then use the underscore character, eg. "MLB7_BR_13").

5. RUNNING SSIPRINTER.EXE

To run SSIPRINTER.EXE double left-click on the icon in Windows Explorer (or the shortcut icon on your desktop). This will start the SSIPRINTER program.

6. SELECTING THE FILE

You can either type in the name of the game-report file yourself (including the pathname to find it) or left-click on the search icon (the three dots ...) which opens a browse window. If you always use the same file name for the file you're about to print then this is simpler because the file name will be remembered and you don't have to re-select it every time.

You can left-click in the "Look In" top section or double-click in the section underneath to find and select the right folder and the file where have you saved it. Once you have found the file left-click it to bring it up in the "File Name" box and click on the "Open" button. The browse window should close and the file (including the path to it) should be shown in the SSIPRINTER program.

7. PRINTING THE GAME REPORT

Once you've selected the file just left-click on "Process" and Windows should bring up your default printer.

If you haven't already set up your default printer, or wish to change your settings then you'll need to do so at this point. Page orientation should be "Portrait" and we're expecting your paper size to be A4.

8. WINDOWS PROBLEMS

If you are having problems printing then our first suggestion would be that you check your printer driver is up-to-date (these can usually be obtained via a download from the relevant website) since this is a problem that has affected other users.

Otherwise you should find the SSIPRINTER works fine, provided your printer works normally with other Windows applications.

9. EMAIL PROBLEMS

Some users have reported difficulties with their reports arriving with extra spaces and line breaks inserted in the text. Sometimes this is because their email program has a setting to break up long lines and this is switched on. All you need do is find it and switch it off (it's probably labelled as "Wrapping Lines" or something similar).

If you are using web-based email, where you read your messages on a web page instead of having it delivered properly, then you might not be able to change the setting to wrap lines and it might be difficult to save a true copy of your game report where you can get at it. If you're using a very basic system then you might not be able to use our email reports format.

FEEDBACK WANTED

Please let us know about any difficulties you have with these instructions or with the printer utility itself. If we know more about the problems people encounter then we can make improvements.

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