What good are vertical tab and form feed for ?

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by Spiros Bousbouras, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. The fact that vertical tab and form feed exist both in the
    basic source character set and the basic execution
    character set suggests to me that there is a class of display
    devices where vertical tab and form feed produce a predictable
    and consistent (among different devices) behaviour. So what
    are these devices and what is the behaviour ?

    For old printers , form feed presumably moves to the next page
    but vertical tab is a mystery to me.
    Spiros Bousbouras, Aug 20, 2007
    #1
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  2. Spiros Bousbouras

    John Bode Guest

    On Aug 20, 11:31 am, Spiros Bousbouras <> wrote:
    > The fact that vertical tab and form feed exist both in the
    > basic source character set and the basic execution
    > character set suggests to me that there is a class of display
    > devices where vertical tab and form feed produce a predictable
    > and consistent (among different devices) behaviour. So what
    > are these devices and what is the behaviour ?
    >


    Hardcopy terminals and line printers.

    > For old printers , form feed presumably moves to the next page
    > but vertical tab is a mystery to me.


    Your interpretation of form feed is correct; it moves to the beginning
    of the next page. Vertical tab advances the page by several lines
    without a carriage return.
    John Bode, Aug 20, 2007
    #2
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  3. Spiros Bousbouras

    Guest

    On Aug 20, 11:31 am, Spiros Bousbouras <> wrote:
    > For old printers , form feed presumably moves to the next page
    > but vertical tab is a mystery to me.



    Mostly OT...

    To expand on what John wrote, some (mostly older, and typically line)
    printers could have vertical tab stops programmed. On some printers
    this was actually done via a punched carriage tape (the tape was a
    loop, with holes punched where the stops were desired). Those could
    be changed for different print jobs. In many cases a skip to the next
    vertical tab could happen much faster than advancing individual lines,
    so for fast printing, you'd carefully set up your carriage tape (or
    electronic equivalent).

    With most current printers, that's all pretty irrelevant.

    Note that some printers (and display terminals) also allowed you to
    set the horizontal tab stops (the now common "every eight" convention,
    was not always the, *ahem*, convention).
    , Aug 20, 2007
    #3
  4. Spiros Bousbouras

    Al Balmer Guest

    On Mon, 20 Aug 2007 11:39:32 -0700, ""
    <> wrote:

    >On Aug 20, 11:31 am, Spiros Bousbouras <> wrote:
    >> For old printers , form feed presumably moves to the next page
    >> but vertical tab is a mystery to me.

    >
    >
    >Mostly OT...
    >
    >To expand on what John wrote, some (mostly older, and typically line)
    >printers could have vertical tab stops programmed. On some printers
    >this was actually done via a punched carriage tape (the tape was a
    >loop, with holes punched where the stops were desired). Those could
    >be changed for different print jobs.


    Some people thought it amusing to substitute an unpunched tape.


    > In many cases a skip to the next
    >vertical tab could happen much faster than advancing individual lines,
    >so for fast printing, you'd carefully set up your carriage tape (or
    >electronic equivalent).
    >
    >With most current printers, that's all pretty irrelevant.
    >
    >Note that some printers (and display terminals) also allowed you to
    >set the horizontal tab stops (the now common "every eight" convention,
    >was not always the, *ahem*, convention).


    --
    Al Balmer
    Sun City, AZ
    Al Balmer, Aug 20, 2007
    #4
  5. Spiros Bousbouras

    Guest

    On Aug 20, 1:54 pm, Al Balmer <> wrote:
    > >To expand on what John wrote, some (mostly older, and typically line)
    > >printers could have vertical tab stops programmed. On some printers
    > >this was actually done via a punched carriage tape (the tape was a
    > >loop, with holes punched where the stops were desired). Those could
    > >be changed for different print jobs.

    >
    > Some people thought it amusing to substitute an unpunched tape.



    Or having the carriage tape break (for all the onlookers, either would
    cause the printer to feed the entire box of paper through to the
    stacker at the maximum rate possible).

    I once worked for an extremely cheap shop. So cheap, that they
    refused to buy the expensive (aka several dollar) mylar carriage
    tapes. Instead, they discovered that if you cut out the paper
    template (which you used to layout the carriage tape before punching
    the "real" one), it would actually work in a 1403 printer. Of course
    it would break regularly too, not to mention that the holes would ear
    out (since the sensor was a brush), and the poor operators kept having
    to restack boxes of "fed" forms...

    They also refused to replace the punch itself after it broke, and for
    months we had to cut the holes in the (paper) carriage tape with an
    exacto knife. So the not exactly square and not exactly aligned holes
    didn't exactly always trip the sensor... And they wondered why their
    customers were always mad at them for messing up mailings.
    , Aug 20, 2007
    #5
  6. On Mon, 20 Aug 2007 16:31:17 -0000, Spiros Bousbouras
    <> wrote:

    >The fact that vertical tab and form feed exist both in the
    >basic source character set and the basic execution
    >character set suggests to me that there is a class of display
    >devices where vertical tab and form feed produce a predictable
    >and consistent (among different devices) behaviour. So what
    >are these devices and what is the behaviour ?
    >
    >For old printers , form feed presumably moves to the next page
    >but vertical tab is a mystery to me.


    Believe it or not, there still are a lot of dot matrix printers in use
    that take pin feed paper. These printers accept "escape sequences"
    which allow the application to define a bunch of properties, including
    vertical tab stops. The application can then cause the paper to feed
    forward to the desired position by including a vertical tab character
    in the data sent to the printer. I see this most often at rental
    agencies, auto dealer service centers, and other places where
    multi-part forms are needed.


    Remove del for email
    Barry Schwarz, Aug 24, 2007
    #6
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