Printing Cheapie TMG Visual Chart Forms at Kinko's

First of all, I want to emphasize that the charts Wholly Genes produces are much superior to the ones you can print at Kinko's. They are on heavier paper and are in color. However, there are times when I only need quick, black & white proof copies, and don't mind the thinner paper. This tutorial is how I've made the charts so that it is NOT a graphic that sometimes is distorted.

Here is the abbreviated version of what I did to be able to have Kinko's print the charts. The DesignJet 1050c is what WhollyGenes uses to print charts, so I knew that the custom sizes could be set. So first, I went to Hewlett Packard's driver download area where I downloaded the driver for the DesignJet 1055cm

Since I use Win2000, I chose that operating system and then downloaded/installed the one at the bottom of the page - the HP DesignJet Printer Driver (HP-GL/2 and HP RTL). By the way, the limitation is 200 inches - WhollyGenes can do longer ones. (Update, I now use XP Pro, and choosing that gives you the same driver).

Next, you go to the Kinkos site and download/install the Print FedEx Kinko’s software. You will also need to visit your local Kinko's and get a relationship going with the person who received and takes care of printing jobs from the interernet. There is an option on the website to do Online Custom Services, but it's harder to explain to an "entity" what needs doing, and the personal touch is much more satisfactory. The person at my local Kinko's is named James. Anyway, find out the name of your "James" and get the email address so that you can send directly to him/her. Note: make sure they understand you are talking about the cheaper b/w printouts, not the more expensive ones that are also available. One person I know of got quoted $8/sq.ft. and that is NOT the right one - it's more like about 50 cents/sq.ft. (price as of about 2004)

From TMG, I do what needs doing to create my chart, which then opens Visual ChartForm. In that, I choose page setup and that is when I choose the DesignJet 1050c and set up the page size. The reason one has to use this is because choosing a regular printer, the chart gets saved with page breaks. With the 1050c, you can choose a custom size longer than the PrepTool's 200". One that I did was 240". Now, the .vcf is all set up with no page breaks. Save the chart but you don't need to close it before the next step.

Next, I choose to "print" using the FedEx Kinkos's software. This time, I chose the custom size again, and chose the 200" length, but since my chart is 240", I also had to choose to scale it 80%. This makes a file with a .kdf extension. It is similar to a .pdf file but Kinkos has special software that makes a much cleaner file than the traditional .pdf file. Next I sent the .kdf to James who did his magic and printed it out, being ready by the time I got to Kinkos (though I realize it isn't *always* quite *that* fast). Since it was 80%, James brings it into another program to enlarge it back up to 100%. Depending on the percentage, that may or may not be needed. James also usually centers it as well. The price is 50 cents a square foot, so a chart that is 2 feet by 10 feet is $10.

I have a regular client who did a descendant chart for a reunion. She needed 200 copies, and they were 13 feet long. Since she was giving them away at the reunion, it would have been cost prohibitive to have the sturdier, color charts done, so this made a nice alternative at 1/4 of the price.

Well, here's hoping I didn't leave out one of the steps. Let me know if a link breaks, or if a step needs clarifying.