May 16, 2005

NoteTab setup by Haudy K (from 2002)

Notepad, built into Windows, has several limitations that make it unsuitable for use with Aleph for printing call numbers on spine labels. The primary limitations are Notepad's inability to remember Font, Page Setup and Margin settings between Notepad sessions. NoteTab has the ability to remember these settings between sessions. While it is possible to modify Aleph's configuration settings via its INI files, I did not do that because the INI files are regularly updated from a central Aleph server, and any changes I made to local INI's would quickly be overwritten. This procedure does not modify or interact with the Aleph INI files.

Replacing Notepad with NoteTab on Windows 2000 is more challenging than on Win9x because of Windows File Protection (WFP). To successfully replace Notepad with NoteTab while leaving WFP enabled, you must use this or a similar procedure. Totally disabling WFP per Microsoft's instructions is not desirable as you lose the benefits of increased system reliability and self-healing properties that WFP provides, gaining only the ability to more easily replace the Notepad executable (notepad.exe). This procedure does not disable WFP.

I’ve tested my procedures (with appropriate modifications) on the following systems: Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0, and Windows 2000 using the Epson FX-880 drivers. I believe Windows 98 will behave like Windows 95 and indicate this by the term ‘Win9x’. Windows NT 4.0 had label printing issues preventing the use of labels spaced closer than ~3.65 inches, so it was not tested as much as Win95 and Win2k. Other Microsoft operating systems like Windows XP, Whistler, or beyond will probably behave more similarly to what I’ve outlined for Windows 2000 than Windows 9x. Lastly, when following the procedures please take note that some apply to certain operating systems only.

Pre-Installation Notes
The installation must be done in the order listed otherwise WFP will undo the changes you make, as you make them, and prevent you from successfully completing the installation. Be aware that WFP will prompt you during the procedure about replaced and/or missing files. All you need to do is hit 'Cancel' on the prompts for the Windows CD, and ‘Yes’ to “Are you sure you want to ignore changes.” Once you’ve completed the steps below, NoteTab will have completely taken over Notepad’s functions. WFP will not try to replace it again except as explained in some special cases in the Caveats section of this document.

Installation Notes
1.)Windows 2000 only: Make sure you can view hidden files, and all file extensions by taking a peek at Explorer’s Tools | Folder Options | View menu. Check “Show hidden files” and uncheck the two “Hide…” options. Depending on how you configure your systems you may want to re-enable these settings at the end of the procedure. Personally I consider the hiding of file extensions to be a very bad thing as it can help viruses masquerade as other file types, and makes changing a file type difficult should a file be saved with the wrong extension.

2.)Windows 2000 only: In C:\WINDOWS\system32\dllcache, rename Notepad.exe to Notepad.old. This step disables the first place WFP looks for its files. (Whether you rename or delete it is your choice.)

3.)Windows 2000 only: In C:\WINDOWS, rename Notepad.exe to Notepad.old. This step disables the second place WFP looks for its files. At this point there should only be a Notepad.exe file in C:\WINDOWS\system32, and this will be replaced next.

4.)Install NoteTab (I used NoteTab Light v4.86c from using the default settings except deselect the options for Desktop and QuickLaunch Tray shortcuts.

5.)Run NoteTab, deselect “Show tips on Startup”, and use the Help | "Replace MS Notepad" feature. On operating systems without WFP (Win9x, NT4) there should be no messages. On Windows 2000 only, NoteTab will warn you about WFP, just dismiss the dialog as we already have tended to WFP. WFP may prompt you a few times during these next few steps, just hit ‘Cancel’ to the CD prompt, then ‘Yes’ to the “Sure?” prompt.

6.)Windows 2000 only: Now take a look in C:\WINDOWS\system32 using Windows Explorer. You should see a 19kb file named NOTEPAD.EXE, a 1kb file named NOTEPAD.INI, and 50kb file named NOTEPAD.EXE.MS that is the original Microsoft version.

7.)Windows 2000 only: In order to make this work on Win2k with Aleph (and possibly other programs that specify C:\%SystemRoot%\NOTEPAD.EXE) you need to copy NOTEPAD.EXE (19kb) and NOTEPAD.INI (1 kb) from C:\WINDOWS\system32 into C:\WINDOWS. This is necessary because Aleph specifically looks for Notepad.exe in C:\WINDOWS. At this point attempting to print in Aleph should load NoteTab.

8.)Run NoteTab again to make a few minor configuration changes:
a.)Look in View | Options | General tab for this setting "Reload open documents and uncheck it (turn it off).
b.)Look in View | Printing Options and configure the Margins and Fonts. I set the margins as follows with success on our printers and labels. Tweaking may be needed for your system configuration. Make sure to click the "Save" button when you have chosen the settings you want.
Top=0” - if we come up with a better alignment baseline than the top of a
given label aligned with the lowest edge of the plastic guide on the printer head assembly, this might change.
Left=1.25” - adjust this and/or paper's physical positioning as needed
Right=1” - setting to 0" doesn't work, value isn't critical
c.)Under Lumina/NOTIS, labels were printed using the printer's built in font. The same font is selectable in NoteTab under the name “Roman 10CPI”.
Be aware that because this is a printer font (indicated in Windows by a small printer icon next to the font name), it may look different on different printer models using a different print driver. Printer fonts depend on the print driver that is in use. This is in contrast to using Courier New 12pt, a TrueType Font (TTF) that is constant across all printers. I configured NoteTab to use Roman 10CPI (CPI=Characters Per Inch) as the default, so the labels printed will have the same font and look as previously seen with NOTIS-produced labels.
Some good font alternatives besides Roman 10CPI are Roman 12CPI when more, although slightly smaller, text is needed on a label, or Courier New 12pt when you want the benefits of using a TrueType Font. Courier New 12pt looked very similar to Roman 10CPI in my testing. With the Roman 12CPI font default, my testing let me fit up to 10 lines onto a correctly aligned label, corresponding nicely to the 10 available label info lines in Aleph.

9.)Next configure the default paper size and print quality for your label printer. These settings will affect all applications using that copy of the printer driver. The settings I used for the Epson FX-880 printers were:
a.)Windows 9x only: Inside of Start | Settings | Printers | Epson | Properties | Paper: Choose "Custom" paper size. In early testing, I successfully used width=600, and length=294 (units are in .01"). The width is not critical, although the length should be the label-to-label distance on the form fed sheets. I measured our labels to be about 75mm metric (2.9523 in) or 2 15/16 inches (2.9375 in). Click 'OK' to save these as the defaults for this printer. If the printer is used by other applications, please keep in mind we just changed the Windows defaults. Going thru these same steps from within an application's Printer Settings option would not save the default settings we need to use with NoteTab (and Aleph labels), and force you to switch from "Letter" size paper to "Custom" each time NoteTab opened up. These settings will apply to all applications that use this copy of the printer driver.

Windows NT 4.0 only: Inside of Start | Settings | Printers click on the File | Server Properties menu item. You need to create a new form, which is effectively a custom paper size, for our labels. Click “Create a New Form”, and give it a description; I used “Aleph labels”. In the Measurements section, check that the units are set to “English”, and set width to 6 inches and height to 3.65 inches. Thorough testing on WinNT 4.0 showed me that values lower than 3.63, or 3.61 in some cases, lead to this new custom paper size not showing up on the choice of paper sizes on Page Setup dialogs. With larger values, our custom paper size did show up. This problem was only seen on WinNT 4.0, not Win95, or Win2k. The effect is using closely spaced labels is problematic on WinNT 4.0 due to operating system driver limitations. These limitations were observed on Windows 95 or Windows 2000. The “Printer Area Margins” can all remain at 0”; we will set the margin settings inside of NoteTab. Now go into the Epson printer driver and select “Aleph labels” as the default paper size for all applications that use this copy of the printer driver.

Windows 2000 only: Inside of Start | Settings | Printers click on the File | Server Properties menu item. You need to create a new form, which is effectively a custom paper size, for our labels. Click “Create a New Form”, and give it a description; I used “Aleph labels”. In the Measurements section, check that the units are set to “English”, and set width to 6 inches and height to 3 inches. The “Printer Area Margins” can all remain at 0”; we will set the margin settings inside of NoteTab. Click Save and then OK.

Next you need to right-click on the Epson printer driver and select Properties. Click Advanced | Printing Defaults | Advanced | Paper/Quality and select “Aleph labels” for the paper type and 240x144 for the print quality. Click OK. Now click on the Device Settings tab and choose “Aleph labels” for the paper type here too. There are two places in the Epson driver you must select the “Aleph labels” paper type. These steps will select “Aleph labels” as the default paper size for all applications that use this copy of the printer driver.

All operating systems: in later testing I changed the "Custom" paper size from 600 width x 294 height, to 600 width x 300 height. This change of .06 of an inch seemed to help with paper alignment. I am not sure if this change really made a may simply be too small to be noticeable thru the paper slippage and drift involved in the printer's paper handling. I still believe the value of "294" to be 'ideal' although minor tweaking of it by either increasing or decreasing it may help with vertical alignment issues.

b.)Inside of Start | Settings | Printers | Epson | Properties | Graphics (or Advanced):
Default changed from 120x144 to 240x144 resolution. Not sure why the previous lower resolution was selected by default. This should not negatively affect output, and may improve printing results in some cases.

10.)This completes the initial setup. Once you've done this, the Aleph | Items | Label printing function should work fine, although minor tweaks may be needed to the margins and/or paper size settings. I tested NOTIS printing on Win95 successfully with NoteTab installed and configured as described here.

Caveats (other than these NoteTab works fine on Win2k in lieu of Notepad):
1.)Windows 2000 only: If in the future you use NoteTab's Help | "Restore MS Notepad" feature, the NOTEPAD.EXE.MS file will be renamed to NOTEPAD.EXE. Then if you run the restored (original) Notepad.exe, WFP will detect the original Notepad is back in the system, and you'll need to go thru the procedure all over again from the beginning.

2.)Windows 2000 only: Beware of using the System File Checker (SFC) because it will detect that you've replaced Notepad and ask for the Windows CD. Once you give it the CD, SFC will undo the replacement you worked so hard upon.

3.)Paper alignment/slippage issues: adjusting the paper in the printer by manually pushing/pulling it around may confuse the printer and cause it to be out of alignment for the first printed line. It is better to use only the turn knob on the side of the printer to move the paper forward and backward. The best option may be to use the printer's "Micro Adjust forward and backward" buttons. In any of these cases, the first line of the first label printed after aligning the paper in the printer may still be corrupted/misprinted; i.e. no guarantees on the first label printed out once you've moved the paper manually. (Labels printed subsequently, without moving the paper manually, should be okay.)

Why I think this happens: the margin is set to zero (0") because we want to print on the very first line of a label, and because aligning the label in the printer in other ways is hard. Because the label is aligned manually, the printer does not know exactly where the paper is until it line feeds, and that doesn't happen on the first line. So the result is you may see the first line printed incorrectly...too close to the 2nd line, or scrunched up, or other problems.

Workarounds: either make the first line blank on the label so the printer must form feed, or consider the first label printed potentially 'lost' if you have just manually adjusted the paper. Try printing again to the 2nd label.

4.)The exact settings and measurements for the margin options described above, and custom paper/label settings could vary from printer to printer depending on how the printers are already configured and how the forms are already aligned. Adjust them as necessary.

In regards to NoteTab Light (free) vs NoteTab Standard and NoteTab Pro:

Using the evaluation versions of NotePad Standard and NotePad Pro makes no difference to the printing of Aleph call number labels. The main differences from the free version are availability of technical support and the inclusion of a spell checker and thesaurus. A few other advanced features intended for programmers and web page designers are also included. They have a web page that compares the 3 versions side by side; a copy of that has been printed and put in the NoteTab green license folder at Bio-Medical Library. My impression is that it would be unnecessary to purchase these more advanced versions for support reasons, as there is a free support forum for all NoteTab users to help each other. The advanced features available would likely go unused in our situation, as these capabilities are present in Microsoft Word, and are not in use even there. The only good reason I can see to purchase some copies is to provide support and incentive to the programmers who designed this useful product and encourage them to continue developing it. It'd be a shame to see a good product die because people only use the free version, hence paying for some copies we use may be within the spirit of their offering a free version.

Additional Resources:
Copies of all these web pages were stored in the same folder as the document you are reading, on the Biomed servers.

Here is a document about the printer’s controls:

Here are two headers to a search for “Windows 2000 & Tractor Printers”. These are relevant threads that discuss printer and label issues other people have had.
From: Eric Blumer (
Subject: Re: Windows 2000 & Tractor Printers
Newsgroups: microsoft.public.ddk.win2000.general
Date: 2001-03-20 16:20:07 PST

From: Chet Swanson (
Subject: Tractor Feed Labels Question
Date: 2002-05-13 09:21:12 PST

Posted by tapli005 at May 16, 2005 9:11 AM