International Language Environments Guide

Print Layout prolog Files

The print layout prolog files, mp.*.ps files, contain routines for controlling the page layout for printing. In addition to issuing a header and a footer for a print page with user name, print date, and page number, these prolog files can provide other information. For example, the prolog files can give effective print area dimensions and landscape and portrait mode of printing to be used.

The Print Layout prolog files are:

A set of standard functions needs to be defined in every prolog file. These functions are called when a new print page starts, a print page ends, or a new column ends. The implementations of these functions define the print attributes of the printout.

The following PostScript variables are defined at runtime by the mp binary. All the print layout files can use these variables for printing dynamic information such as user name, subject, print time. This information taken from the variables normally appears in the header or footer of the print page.


The name of the user who is running mp, obtained from the system passwd file.


Variable used to hold the name of the type of article to print. The possible values for this variable are:

  • Listing for – When the input is a text file

  • Mail for – When the input is a mail file

  • Article from – When the input is an article from a news group


The subject taken from the mail and news headers. You can use the -s option to force a subject to the mail and news files as well as to normal text files.


The time of print that appears in the header and footer. This information is taken from the localtime() function.

The following functions are implemented in print layout prolog files. All of these functions can use subfunctions.


Usage: page_number endpage

Called when the bottom of a printed page is reached. This function restores the graphic context of the page and issues a showpage. In some prolog files the header and footer information is displayed in a page-by-page mode rather than in a column-by-column mode. You can implement this function to call subfunctions that display the header and footer gray-scale lozenges.


Usage: page_number newpage

Routines or commands to be executed when a new page begins. Setting landscape print mode, saving the print graphic context, and translating the page coordinates are some of the functions for these routines.


Usage: page_number col_number endcol

Used to display header and footer information, move to the new print position, and so forth.

To add new print layout prolog files, you need to define the following variables explicitly within the print layout prolog file:


Number of columns in a print page. Default is 2.


Width of print area in inches. Default is 6.


Height of print area in inches. Default is 9.