Why do images, PDF underlays or OLE objects partially printed or as black filled rectangles?


Depending on the chosen printer, some images, PDF underlays or OLE objects print partially or as black filled rectangles while the rest of the drawing prints correctly. Even some other images will print correctly. Other printers or even other versions create correct output for the same drawing.


If the problem depends on printer choice and not on the paper size then it's likely the images, PDF files or OLE objects have transparent areas and with transparent areas a method that works well with one printer does not work with another printer.


First try to update the printer driver.

Otherwise, a switching mechanism has been introduced to allow printing images using a different mechanism.

  • The program is able to choose between several methods for printing transparent images and a new default method has been chosen that works in most cases.
  • It is possible to set an override when a specific printer still cannot handle the images.

The ImagePrinting.xml configuration file is installed in the plotter configuration path. It allows to explicitly set the methods for printing images. Clarifications are given in the file.

The settings in ImagePrinting.xml do not affect how OLE objects with transparencies are printed. In order to get an OLE object to print transparently you should either set the PLOTTRANSPARENCYOVERRIDE system variable to 1 and set the Plot transparencies option in the Print dialog or set the PLOTTRANSPARENCYOVERRIDE system variable to 2.

There are cases where gradient hatches print in black or where they blank out other entities where they should be transparent. This cannot be mended by configuring ImagePrinting.xml either.

Publish to PDF and Print as PDF are non-system printers based on export to PDF. They use a different approach to printing than system printers. They do not make use of ImagePrinting.xml.

Note: A second, less common cause is that sometimes images print as invisible on large prints because not enough memory is available for them. Depending on the operating system the memory limit on 32bit machines is sometimes only 1.5 GB. It is possible to increase the available memory to 3 GB.