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How to take advantage of online resources for important updates and information.
By Tom Hauenstein
As Canon makes a strong push for its printers in the digital photography and fine art markets, there have been changes taking place. The most obvious one is that people are now considering and purchasing Canon’s line of imagePROGRAF (iPF) printers to perform the bulk of their in-house print work.
This is creating a demand for technical help on these printers as users go through the learning curve of a new piece of equipment. The following article provides some important tips that will guarantee excellent printing results, along with some great resources to help you through the learning curve.
Click here and check out this article for more info about printing through Canon printers and Canon’s plug-in for Photoshop.
Update the Driver, Firmware, and Media Configuration Tool
Depending on your model of printer and the ship date, you may have some updating to do. Your printers may not have shipped with the most recent driver, firmware, and/or media configuration.
Driver: First, I would check what driver you have installed. To do this on a PC, go to Printer and Faxes (found in the control panel). Right click on Canon Driver, and select Printing Preferences. Then select the About button on the main tab (see Figure 1). You can see that I’m running Version 3.60.
On a Mac, go into Photoshop and open an image. Hit Print. Select Canon in the dropdown option for Printer. Then, in the bottom dropdown, go to About. You will find the version here. I’m running 3.60 on this one too (see Figure 2).
Then, go to the Canon Europe website or the Canon Wiki website to download and update your driver if a more recent version exists. (You can find more on how the Canon website works and how best to navigate it later in this article.) To install a new driver, simply delete your old driver first, then run the install on the newly-downloaded driver.
Firmware: Firmware is simply software found in a piece of hardware other than a computer. In this case, it’s the software loaded into your printer. You can find the current firmware of your printer on the LCD of your printer. When the printer is on, hit the Menu button on the printer. Scroll over until you see INFORMATION on the LCD. Hit the down arrow, and you will find an option that says VERSION. Hit the down arrow again, and it will show you the current firmware version of your printer.
I did this on the Canon iPF5100, so the menu might look slightly different depending on which printer model you own, but the menu headings remain the same. I am currently on Firmware version 1.31, which is the most recent version. If your firmware version is 1.02, then it probably needs updating.
Again, go to the Canon Europe or Canon Wiki website to find and download the most recent version. You must be connected via USB to update firmware in most cases. If you are connected via Ethernet, you don’t have to disconnect the Ethernet cable. Simply run another USB cable to your computer to update it. If the printer is located away from your computer, I would recommend using a laptop to update firmware to avoid having to move your printer or computer around. There’s a PDF on how to update firmware located in the download that provides step-by-step instructions.
Media Configuration Tool: The Media Configuration Tool has an updated list of possible media for your printer driver. Most likely you do not have the most recent version. This too can be found on the Canon Europe and Canon Wiki websites. Simply download the newest media configuration tool and it will install for you.
Additional Notes: It is extremely important that you download the correct driver, firmware, and Media Configuration Tool for your computer and operating system. Look for Mac and PC versions, and the different options among them. For example, on a Mac you will most likely find a different version for OSX Tiger and Leopard. On a PC you will find different versions for XP 32 bit, XP 64 bit, and Vista. Getting it right the first time will avoid a lot of headaches down the road.
Online Resources: I have already mentioned on three occasions in this article the Canon Europe site and the Canon Wiki site. There is a Canon Americas site, but it is not updated nearly as frequently as the Canon Europe site. That is why I recommend using that as a resource for your updates. It can be found here – http://software.canon-europe.com/
The Canon Wiki space is an online forum that a Canon user will find very helpful. Not only will you find direct links to downloads, such as firmware and drivers, but you will find a lot more. This is basically an online diary of Canon users going through the learning curve of their new printers. You will find great tips and tricks, shortcuts, and troubleshooting. Save this into your Favorites on your Web browser, as you will most likely refer to this on a regular basis. You can find that here – http://canonipf.wikispaces.com/
By updating drivers, firmware, and the Media Configuration Tool and using these websites, you will get better image quality and a better understanding of the most efficient workflow for these printers.