Printing 101

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Here is a review of some basic terminology and print management concepts, to help individuals new to managing some areas of 400 stuff.


A spooled file (sometimes called a spooled output file) is a file that holds output waiting to be printed. At any given time, multiple spooled files can be waiting to print.

    • You see only your own spooled files unless you have job control (*JOBCTL) or spool control (*SPLCTL) special security authority.
    • On the S/36 there was only one spool file with all output for all users.

Printer Writer

  • A printer writer is a system program that writes spooled files to a printer.
    • On S/36 a spool writer prints output that is saved in the spool file.

Output Queue

  • An output queue contains a list of spooled files that are waiting to be printed. There can be multiple output queues.
    • On S/36, a spool file is equivalent to an AS/400 output queue
    • On S/38 only one spool file was available and it contained all output waiting to be printed.

Lose track of reports

Sometimes a report is created, and now we can't find it. Here are some possibilities to consider:

  • Are you sure the report was created? The program to create it may have gone to the JOBQ and either not started executing yet, or not finished.
  • It was printed, laid on your desk, then some other report was laid on your desk on top of the one you looking for.
  • It was printed, along with a bunch of other reports for some other person. On that person desk is now continuous printed lots of their reports, with yours sandwiched in between.
  • Nothing is printing. For some reason known to some co-worker, but not to you, someone has stopped your printer, or all printer writers.
  • It never printed. It ended up in a work area OUTQ that is not attached to a printer writer. You need to move it to the latter.
  • It never printed. Someone else needed to print something else, so they put your report on hold and when they were done they forgot to take it back off of hold.
  • It never printed. It is waiting on someone to respond to some printer error message.
    • Perhaps someone needs to push the start button on the printer, after someone else stopped the printer to make it easy to tear off forms, then forgot to restart it.
    • Perhaps someone needs to check alignment. When forms get changed, the 400 needs to be told that humans know what they are doing, the right forms in there, and they aligned satisfactorily.
    • Perhaps someone saw error message, did not read it carefully, assumed it was a different message, made the right reply to the wrong message.
  • It started printing, then there was some kind of printer problem, that some human needs to deal with.
    • Printer ran out of paper.
    • Printer has a jam.
  • Screen says there is a printer message, but for the life of you, you cannot find the error message.
    • Perhaps someone else took care of the error condition, and you are looking at an obsolete story. Do an F5 to refresh your screen to the latest story.

Useful Printing Commands

S/36 to AS/400

If you are familiar with S/36 printing commands and options, here are AS/400 equivalents

  • ASSIGN ... see option 2 (change) on WRKOUTQ or WRKSPLF screens
  • BALPRINT ... use STRPRTWTR Start Printer Writer to balance printer output by using more than one printer from the same OUTQ
  • CANCEL ... Option 4 Delete an individual report
    • You can also clear 100% of the entries in a particular output queue
  • CHANGE ... Option 2
  • HOLD ... Option 3
  • RELEASE from Hold ... Option 6
  • RESTART ... If you are looking at list of reports in F21-2 mode, then 2 change then F10 and scroll to second screen where you can specify page range to print. You can also use CHGSPLFA to change spooled attributes.
  • START ... option 1 on WRKWTR
  • STATUS PRT (D P) ... same as WRKOUTQ or WRKSPLF
  • STATUS WRT (D WRT) ... same as WRKWTR
    • el typo watch out
    • S/36 = WRT
    • 400 = WTR
  • STOP ... option 4 on WRKWTR
  • TEXTPRTQ ... same as WRKDOCPRTQ work with Documents to be printed command