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Precautions for OMR Sheet Printing

Whatever method adopted for printing of OMR sheet or whatever type of OMR to be printed, there are some common guidelines and some specific to the method guidelines which should be strictly followed. OMR sheet is the first component or the first step in the OMR process. If this step is not correct, there will be troubles at all the further steps. For example, if a site is not cut in proper size it will trouble during scanning or if a sheet is not printed with proper dimensions the it will trouble during the reading in the sheet checker software.

Precautions for OMR Printing using home or office printers

Check for Paper Size set in the Printer: Generally maximum Computer peripheral and laser/inkjet printer of scanner brands keeps their default settings according to the US system where the standard size of paper used in offices is "Letter" (size 8.5" X 11"). This is different from the most commonly used "A4" (size 8.27" X 11.69") in other countries. In India we purchase a laser printer with default printer page setting as "Letter" size and insert our standard available "A4" size page into it and print up to 10.75 inches on a paper about 11.7 inches and keep on doing this whole life. Most people do not know the difference between "Letter" & "A4" size. In case of OMR size matters. If an OMR design has been made according to "A4" size, and it is printed in "Letter" size, then may be indexed points or some other important stuff is not printed at the bottom of the design. Do remember to set your default printing page to "A4" or whatever size of paper you are physically inserting into the printer.

Check for Image Scaling while Printing: While taking printouts from PDF, the whole PDF canvas is treated as an image and almost all printer interfaces set the Page Scaling option themselves automatically to "Fit to Page". So the print that comes out is not of the original size. However Addmens OMR Reading Software has the flexibility to accommodate printing and scanning size variations. But this flexibility should be better used in SOS cases or when the printing mistake has happened. Otherwise, we should be meticulous while printing such that there is no variation in printed sheets.

Check for Quality of Printing: Also, it is taken for granted if it is a laser printer it will have the best quality of print. This is not essentially true. Many of us use refilled or overused cartridges. The only and final check of quality is that if the index points are solid black the print is good for us anyway otherwise it should not be accepted.

Also, when a sheet designed for software is printed on such a poor cartridge, printer, it is quite probable that the outlines of the circle are not coming out sharp and clear. Do not worry the thickness of the outlines of the bubbles in the design created from the software is standard and sufficient. The thickness is technically maintained according to what result it will produce when the sheet design is offset printed. You need not alter them. DO NOT ALTER for the sake of beauty. Whatever has been designed, is technically absolutely correct. If the printer cartridge is good the results will come out good. Moreover the thickness of the bubble outline is not of much importance. It has nothing to do with accuracy. If it is clearly visible that does not mean the sheet will be read accurately. The thinner the line the better the sheet. If the thickness of the printed line is such that even if the impressions of the circle are visible to the candidates then it is OK. It is just to give an idea to the candidate were to fill and darken.

Precautions for Offset Printing of OMR

Never alter the size of the design to fit into your paper. If you have decided to offset print your sheets, finalize the size of paper in consultation with your offset printer and design accordingly from the beginning. Many times offset printers take their own judgements to alter the design by moving some components up or down at the last minute to fit the design into the size of paper used. This is wrong as they do not realize the importance of size and dimensions. Components of an OMR sheet should never be relatively moved.

Precautions for Colored OMR Printing

Despite alerting, we see many people who want to print color or sheets print everything, including the bubbles and index points in single color. This is a major mistake. Remember index points should always be printed in black color. You have a choice whether to print circles or bubbles in color or black. But there is no choice regarding the color of index points. Index point will always be in black color. The user prefers to provide colored sheets to candidates in the institution to make it look like proper OMR sheets, but at the same time gesture of saving cost and printing everything in same color proves to be a major blunder. If you want to save on cost print everything in 1 colors that is black. If you want proper presentation and provide colored sheets, then use 2 colors that is black & pink or black & orange.

Whenever there is colored printing, the index point is printed black and the circles are printed in the second color. Now, as the components of and OMR sheet should never be displaced relative to each other, so to ensure this the index point is printed in both colors. Both colors should exactly overlap. This printing of index point in two colors is used as an identifier of relative displacement because if the black color index point is not falling exactly and totally covering the pink index point that means there is the relative displacement in the two color components of this OMR sheet. Such a sheet will not be read accurately. So if any sheet has index points visible in both colors it should be rejected right at the beginning before distributing to the candidates.

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