Troubleshooting MICR Font & Components

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Troubleshooting MICR Font & Components

The solutions provided below may solve MICR E-13B read errors and check processing problems reported by banking institutions. The solutions listed below have solved print problems in MICR based products, which include Check Design and Printing SoftwareMICR E-13B Fonts.NET Windows Forms Controls, and ASP.NET Server Controls.


Verify the correct horizontal and vertical placement of the MICR E13B font symbols and their fields:

Compare the MICR font output to IDAutomation MICR font placement guidelines document (which is only available if the MICR font is purchased from IDAutomation), and obtain the MICR Printed Image Specifications from the American Bankers Association or a check printing gauge from a banking institution. The alignment process is simplified if the check stock contains a transit alignment symbol as a watermark near the bottom; align the first bank routing or transit symbol in the box. Not all check stock contains the transit alignment symbol. Most of the check stock available from IDAutomation affiliates contains this symbol.

Verify the quality of MICR toner:

Some banks now use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to read the MICR font line on checks and regular laser toner is somewhat magnetic. However, MICR toner must be used to conform to ISO, ANSI, and ABA standards. Be sure the toner is from a reputable source, such as IDAutomation MICR Toner Affiliates.

Character spacing issues:

MICR images may print wider or narrower on some printers, paper, and under certain humidity conditions. MICR should be printed as close to 8 characters per inch (CPI) as possible. Use the following procedure to test the spacing:

  • Print the following string in MICR:
  • Measure the distance between the middle of the “1” characters. The distance should be as close to 4 inches (10.16 CM) as possible. Using this calibration method, the allowable tolerance is +/- 1/8 of an inch (.32 CM); which is between 3 7/8″ and 4 1/8″ (9.84 CM and 10.48 CM).
  • If the character spacing is outside of the tolerances, do one of the following:
    • When using IDAutomation MICR components, adjust the character spacing or width property.
    • When using IDAutomation MICR fonts, try the narrow or wide version fonts or adjust the point size (for example 12.25 points for wider printing).
    • When using PCL MICR fonts, character spacing can be adjusted by setting the HMI for the printer whenever the MICR font is selected.
    • Has the printer’s horizontal and vertical size been calibrated?
    • Design the printing software so the MICR fields, such as the transit number and account number, print independently instead of one long string of characters.
Irregular character, stroke width, or other read errors:

Try increasing or decreasing the print intensity, which is a property in IDAutomation MICR components. When using fonts, try using the bold or light versions of the MICR font instead of the normal version. When reported, this type of issue was the result of strict MICR test equipment reports, although this did not cause a MICR read error with bank reading equipment. Adjusting the print intensity on the printer or in the print driver may also resolve the problem.

Printer, paper, toner, and drum quality:

Slight defects in the printer, paper, toner, or drum may also cause irregular character, stroke width, or other read errors. Use only check stock made from virgin pulp and new high-quality MICR toner cartridges instead of recycled cartridges. Do not use recycled paper, because certain particles embedded in the paper can cause rejects.

When creating custom check forms with Peachtree Complete Accounting, the MICR font cannot be selected

Peachtree Complete Accounting version 8 or greater is required to use the TrueType MICR font in reports and custom forms. Please contact Peachtree tech support or refer to the application’s documentation for problems with custom forms.

Print Driver Issues:

Ensure the printer driver is up to date and test changing the print settings for the highest dpi allowed. Additionally, changing the print method to print TrueType as graphics and various raster options has been known to solve MICR print issues.

If the recommendations above do not solve the problem, use a process of elimination to find the issue. For example:
  • Try another printer model or brand to isolate the problem to the printer.
  • Try printing to the same printer from another PC that is a different architecture. For example, if you are using a 32-bit PC, try printing from a 64-bit PC. Differences may indicate a printer driver problem.