Knowledge Base

10706: Help Me Choose - Printer Setup in Drake (Drake16 and prior)

Printing Setup

How do I set up my printer in Drake?

​The Help Me Choose option is available in Drake12 - Drake16. For printer setup beginning in Drake17, see Related Links below. 

Drake includes a test that should be run for each hard-copy printer that you use with the software. The test will determine whether the printer supports PCL (Printer Control Language) and Arial font.

Some taxing authorities reject paper returns that do not meet stringent criteria. Drake software is designed to print to a PCL (PCL-5e) printer with Arial font to meet these criteria. PCL is the preferred printing method. GDI (Graphical Device Interface) is the alternate print method.

The software initially prompts you to run the test, but you should run it before you begin using any hard-copy printer in Drake. To run the test -

  1. Send a Drake font test page to the printer. Go to Setup > Printing > Printer Setup > F8 - Edit Printer Settings and select the printer to be tested. Click Help Me Choose to open the Drake Printer Test Assistant dialog box and click Print Test Page. Compare your printer output with the checked Arial font, especially in the circled areas of the Arial font:

  2. Pick the best response to the test print output comparison:
    1. Yes, it matches - The printer meets both PCL-5e and Arial font requirements. Choosing this response sets the printer to use the Preferred Printing Method (PCL).
    2. No, it does NOT match – The printer may be PCL-5e compliant but does not have the Arial font needed for the preferred PCL print method. You are prompted to contact the printer manufacturer to determine if you can purchase and add the Arial font. Choosing this response sets the printer to use the Alternate Print Method (GDI).
    3. Nothing printed – The printer is not compatible with PCL-5e. Choosing this response sets the printer to use the Alternate Print Method (GDI).
  3. Click Update to save the print method selection.


  • A PCL printer may not support required fonts, in which case it may substitute a different font. Substitute fonts may produce unacceptable results.
  • Additional fonts may be available from the printer manufacturer. If the results of the Help Me Choose test indicate that your printer supports PCL but does not print the Arial font, check with the printer manufacturer.
  • Printer Locks Up:
    • If the test page results in a locked printer, restart the printer (turn it off and then back on). On the Printer Test Assistant dialog box, select the Nothing printed button, or No, it does NOT match to set the printer to use the Alternate Method (GDI).
    • If the printer remains locked, it may be necessary to clear the print queue.
    • The test page is printed using PCL and the Arial font. Some printers that do not support PCL will lock up when they receive PCL commands because they don’t know what to do with them. This can happen with the test page and is unavoidable. This printer incompatibility is always a possibility and the test page identifies it.
  • GDI (Graphical Device Interface)
    • GDI printing involves creation on the sending computer of what amounts to an image, which is then sent to a GDI printer. GDI printing requires sending more information to the printer than PCL printing, and the printing process is generally slower. Some older GDI printers may lack the memory necessary for a large print job. Because an image is sent, graphic images and multiple fonts are usually not an issue. GDI printing may be able to print fonts that are not available on some PCL printers.
    • If you print returns using GDI, be aware that you may encounter problems with some taxing authorities if you paper-file the return. If your Help Me Choose test print output is a Yes, it matches selection and you print documents for a client using GDI to accommodate graphic or font preferences, consider using PCL to print separately the return and any documents you intend to be paper filed.

If you experience printer issues that you cannot resolve after exhausting printer settings and Drake Software settings, install the latest printer driver available for your operating system. Review your printer manual or visit your vendor website for more information.

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