Overlays and Page Segments

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What Are they?


An overlay is a System i object with a type of *OVL. Overlays contain the static "background" of a form allowing you to print the form and the data together on blank paper rather than printing the data on pre-printed form paper. The electronic form could consist of lines, boxes, graphical elements such as logos, and static text in various fonts and sizes such as column headings.

Other uses of overlays include for example, placing a watermark (a large but faint image of a word or picture) such as the word "Draft" across every page in a printout.

The defined sized of an overlay usually matches the size of the paper it is intended to be printed on. An overlay is an all or nothing feature; printed or not printed in its entirety. You cannot print just portions of an overlay.

Page Segments

A page segment is a System i object with a type of *PAGSEG. Page segments can include the same elements as an overlay can: lines, boxes, graphical elements such as logos, and static text.

The difference between Page segments and overlays is that while an overlay is sized to cover the entire page, a page segment is sized to cover only a portion or segment of the page. The size and position of the page segment on the page is entirely up to you and in fact could vary from page to page. Also whereas an overlay is used for the static background of a form, page segments are used for dynamic content.

Printer Requirements

The spool file must be a *AFPDS spool file.

Either the printer file used must specify DEVTYPE(*AFPDS) or the OVRPRTF command must be used to specify DEVTYPE(*AFPDS).

The printer itself must be capable of printing *AFPDS printer files

Printer device is defined TYPE(*IPDS) AFP(*YES)

Requires that the PSF/400 license program is installed.

The printer must be an ASCII printer (ex. HP LaserJet) using Host Print Transform (HPT)

Creating Overlays and Page Segments

The are various IBM and third party tools that can be used to create overlays and page segments. IBM does provide a one free method to create overlays and page segments: the IBM AFP Printer Driver for Windows. With this printer driver installed, any document you can create from a windows program can be transformed into an overlay or page segment.

see also:


IBM Doc #5184341 - Creating AFP Resources Using the IBM AFP Printer Drivers