2023.1 – Banner pages in OL Connect


One of the things that have been missing from OL Connect, is an easy way to add a banner page to a print job. Version 2023.1 introduces a simple way to add a banner page. This article explains where to find it and how to use it.

Banners are similar to slip sheets. There is one big difference: it is not possible to add content to slip sheets, while you can add content to banner pages. Another difference is that banners always go in front, so you can’t add them at the end.

Quick guide

For those who are familiar with OL Connect and its output presets, things are pretty simple. You can find the banner page option on the Separation Options page of the output preset wizard. To enable them, choose if you want them in front of your Job, Job Segment, Document Set, or Document.

To have them as the start of every output file, set Banners to the same level as the Separation Settings.

Add content to your banner page through the Additional Content functionality of the output preset. To make that content appear only on your banner page, you can use the condition page.banner.

If you a prefer a more step-by-step approach, then please continue to the example below. To find more details about these banner pages, please look beyond the example.

Example – add a banner page to the Print Transactional Jobs project

Create the project

This step is simple: on the Welcome page, choose New, select the Project tab, click the tile that says “Transactional Print Jobs”, and traverse the wizard.

If you have never looked at this sample project before, feel free to explore the resources. When you look at the Workflow process, you’ll notice that it creates output in three different ways from the same job. Only one of these outputs the whole job as a single file (PDF in this case). That’s the one that we will modify to have a banner page in front. In Connect Designer’s “Project files” view, it’s called PR_TRAN PDF Full Job.OL-outputpreset.

Adding the banner

Edit PR_TRAN PDF Full Job.OL-outputpreset (just double clicking it in the Project files, will open it).

On the first page of the wizard, check the options Separation and Additional content. Press Next until you are on the Separation options page. Here, you will find a new option named Banners.

Set this option to Every Job Segment.

That’s it, you will now have a banner page as the first page of the print file. However, there is nothing on the banner yet. That’s the next step.

Add text to the banner

In the output preset wizard, press Next until you are on the Additional Content page.

Press the Add button and choose Text.

In the dialog, type some text to add on the page, for instance “OL Connect Print Job”. Adjust the position as desired (e.g., 3cm from the left, and 3cm bottom), and choose a large font size (18pt will work). Set the description at the top to “Fixed banner text”.

If we leave it like this, this text will get added on every page in the output, and we want it only on the banner. So before you close the dialog, add a condition. To make text appear only on banner pages, a very simple condition is sufficient: page.banner.


It’s always a good idea to test immediately and often. To see our new banner, print a job from the Connect Designer. Make sure to use the preset that was just changed. The output PDF should have the banner with the fixed text near the bottom of the page. Make sure to repeat this test after each change you make.

Add a date and time

Banner pages hardly ever contain just fixed text. A banner page usually also contains a date and time. So let’s add a timestamp. Add another text in additional content, and give it these settings:

  • Description: “Banner timestamp”
  • Position: 3cm left, 24cm from the bottom
  • Font size: 20pt
  • Text: Created: ${system.time, "yyyy-MM-dd hh:mm"}
    The formatting string can of course be changed to your preference. For instance, ${system.time, "d MMM yy hh:mm", fr} will give you the date in French (note the 3rd parameter fr).
  • Condition: page.banner

Add a title

To properly identify a print job, it needs a name or title on its banner page. Naturally this needs to be dynamic (unless you intend to copy your output preset for every type job. So we need some dynamic property for this. We will use a parameter for Job Creation, and set it as a metadata property on the Job Segment level so we can use it Output Creation.

Edit the project’s job preset PR_TRAN Group by Customer Num.OL-jobpreset. Check the Runtime Parameters option, and on the Parameters page, add a parameter named “Title” of type String, and give it a default, e.g., “OL Acme Invoices”. Then on the Meta Data page, add a Job Segment Tag through Add runtime parameter meta data. Save the job preset by pressing Finish.

Now edit the output preset again, and add another text in additional content:

  • Description: “Banner title”
  • Position: 3cm left, 25cm from the bottom
  • Font size: 24pt
  • Text: Job: ${segment.metadata.Title}
  • Condition: page.banner

Add a job id

While the title reflects the type of job, usually you also need something that identifies this particular job. For this, we can introduce another job parameter, which may be the best choice, but for now we will keep it simple and use a built-in (possibly not well-known) variable from Output Creation. Add one more text in additional content:

  • Description: “Banner job id”
  • Position: 3cm left, 23cm from the bottom
  • Font size: 20pt
  • Text: Job id: ${job.source.name}
  • Condition: page.banner

This variable holds the job set id.

Use it in Workflow

Now that we seem to have a usable banner, let’s deploy it in Workflow and test it over there as well. From Connect Designer, deploy the changed presets to Workflow through File>Send to Workflow...

In the project’s workflow configuration, you can edit the Job Creation in step 4, and provide an actual value to the Title parameter; simply enter a value or change your process a bit more to assign a value dynamically.

Do a test run to see your banner page with its title being set from Workflow.

Banner page details

Media type and duplex

When banner pages are added, we don’t want to introduce unnecessary switches of paper type or duplex. This avoids issues on printers that are incapable of switching between simplex and duplex, or accidentally exceeding the number of paper types that a printer can handle. The banner page therefore always takes the same paper type and duplex/simplex setting as the page it is added in front of.

Content on duplex banners

In case of duplex banner pages, content can also end up on the back of the banner page. While this may sometimes be desirable, it should usually be prevented. This can easily be achieved by also testing if we are on a front page in the condition of the additional content: using page.banner && page.front will avoid content on the backside of a banner page.

Banners and imposition

When combining banners with impositioning, the banner page is added to the impositioned job. For instance, when impositioning A4 2-up on a landscape A3, the banner page will be landscape A3.

Banners and inserter marks

When combining banner pages with marks to drive an inserter machine, the banner pages are often not fed into the inserter, so they should not get any inserter marks. When adding inserter marks through Additional Content, this requires adding a condition to suppress those marks on the banner.

When using the Add Inserter Marks feature (the one that uses .HCF files), those marks will never get added on a banner.

Use cases where the banner is fed to the inserter can be handled with Additional Content.

Job metadata

You may have noticed that in the example above, we added the banner at the Job Segment level, while logically it could also have been at the Job level. We used Job Segment instead of Job because of a known issue with metadata at the Job level.

Output Creation structure

Not everyone may be aware of the structure that is always present in jobs that are processed by output creation; we aim for this structure to not get in your way unless you need it, so if you are not aware of it, that’s fine, and you can probably skip this section.

For those who are aware of the job structure in output creation: banner pages are added inside the level that you indicate when you enable them. And, since a page cannot exist on its own but has to be wrapped inside a sheet, document, set, segment hierarchy, when you add a banner page to a job, this page gets its own instance of those elements. Those higher level elements also have their banner property set, so it is possible to use the conditions sheet.banner, document.banner, set.banner, and segment.banner if needed.

To illustrate this, adding a banner at the segment level as shown in the image below. On the left, the job before the banner page was added.

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