Offending command: sethalftone

The sethalftone operator is used for the handling of screen rulings. There are quite a number of things that can cause this kind of PostScript error.


  • An obvious reason for sethalftone related errors is asking for a screen ruling that is not supported by the RIP, not installed or corrupted. Check if your RIP supports the requested screen ruling and (re)install it if it is supported.
  • Sethalftone errors can also be caused by insufficient free space on the harddisk of the RIP. Funnily enough this can be more of a problem when you try to output very coarse screenrulings like 5 lines per inch. This can cause “limitcheck” errors, offending command “sethalftone” because the RIP needs too much memory to calculate all the screentiles for such large dots.
    There are several workarounds for this kind of problem:
  • Lower the resolution of the RIP
  • Allow the RIP to use more memory. This is often easy on software RIPs that run on Macs.
  • Try cleaning up the RIP a bit to solve the error.
  • The following PostScript code may solve the problem on Agfa hardware RIPs. Simply download the code to the RIP. It enlarges internal buffers. I do not know whether this code is still valid for current RIPs. The number 20000000 in the code represents the size of the cache in bytes. You can modify this value.

true 0 startjob
<< /MaxScreenItem 20000000 >> setuserparams
<< /MaxScreenStorage 20000000 >> setsystemparams

  • Shlomit Heymann wrote to me that she got around a PostScript error: typecheck; Offending Command:sethalftone when outputting CMYK PostScript files to a Harlequin Rip version 4.5 by updating Preps from version 4.0 to version 4.04.
  • At one of our sites, a ‘Sethalftone’ error was caused by corrupted screenfilter software on a Star 800 RIP. Simply reinstalling all of the RIP’s bootfiles solved the error.
  • Since sethalftone errors only occur when the Rip has to rasterize a page, it is sometimes possible to use the “Rasterize” filter of PhotoShop to rasterize elements of the page, instead of relying on the RIP to handle all the work.
  • When using several 16-bit Agfa Balanced Screens or several halftone screens from the Agfa Balanced Screening Option Kit (Flexo, Gravure, etc.) on an Agfa Taipan 2.02 or 3.01 a PostScript error limitcheck, offending command sethalftone may occur. This problem can be solved by changing some buffer settings in the Taipan Tuner application.

2 thoughts on “Offending command: sethalftone

  1. If the files are pdfs that you are sending to the RIP, all i do is save the pdf as a postscript file, then repdf that ps file thru your distiller with needed settings input of course.Works like a charm for me every time. This i have seen work on both Prinergy Evo Rip as well as a Panther RIP. Luckily we don’t get the Ps errors all the time other wise it would be a pain to have to do this every time but in a tight spot, bingo bongo bango!
    Good Luck everyone.

  2. I encounter error of insufficent memeory when outputting CMYK PostScript files to AGFA-Avantra44SF print queue. The original file is very large.

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