Offending command: timeout

A PostScript error offending command timeout indicates that a time limit was exceeded. This occurs when there is too great a time gap between receiving two portions of the same job. This error seems to have disappeared now that slower connections such as serial or parallel lines are no longer used.


  • An obvious solution is to try a different type of connection if that is possible. If your printer is hooked up to a router, try connecting it directly to your computer. If it has multiple types of connections, try another one.
  • Check out your driver settings – maybe a higher speed or different communication settings solve the issue. Using binary encoding is a typical example of this. Some systems expect a Control-D or Control-Z character at the end of the print job to terminate it. Some drivers have an option to enable this.
  • On some systems, there are tools that allow you to change the timeout value of the RIP or printer. By making the device wait a little longer while receiving data, the PostScript error can be avoided. On some Lexmark printers for instance, adding the following to the beginning of the job: << /JobTimeout 0 >> setuserparams sets the job timeout value for that job to 0 which means that it should not timeout regardless of how long it takes. Her is another example, taken from a manual for a Xante printer: “The Timeout feature allows you to select the number of seconds the printer waits for additional data before canceling a job and returning to the READY/IDLE state. Set Timeout from the MISC:TIMEOUT configuration menu. The factory default of 40 seconds (40 Sec) is an average setting. Set timeout according to the type of files you send. Use a low setting for small, simple files to prevent an indefinite tie-up on one job. Use the 300 or Never setting for large files, such as graphic intensive or CAD (Computer Aided Design) files, to allow enough processing time. With the NEVER selection, the printer does not timeout; it waits until it receives additional data or until the printer is reset.”
  • If you are using Windows 3.XX and a parallel or serial connection to the RIP you should increase the timeout values for your RIP. Double-click on the Printers icon in the Windows Control Panel and select your RIP from the Installed Printers scroll list. Click Connect. The Connect dialog box is displayed. The Timeouts (seconds) area contains two fields: “Device Not Selected” and “Transmission Retry”. Enter values in these two fields (the value you enter in the “Device Not Selected” field should be double the value you enter in the “Transmission Retry” field), and click OK.

2 thoughts on “Offending command: timeout

  1. It can also be something very simple and silly. We experienced this today when proofing a 120pp magazine (imposed readers pairs)to a Phaser 7760 SRA3 laser.

    The printer ran out of paper before the job completed and it was some minutes before anyone noticed!

    When new paper was loaded the printer printed one spread and then spat out 20 pages of PS timeout errors.

    A colleague suggested that 2 PDF ads on that spread could be the cause. I knew they weren’t, cancelled the job and then re-printed the remaining pages as a new print job. No problems. I then repeated this. No errors.

    So my guess is the PS driver on the host PC and/or the printer firmware through a wobbly because there was too long a delay between imaging pages.

    Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

    Superb site by the way!

  2. it could be an ip adress conflict.
    thats what it was at our shop.

    my laptop stole the printers ip adress. simple fix

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