Many of my customers use Crystal Reports to print checks. This can be a tricky endeavor, especially aligning the report output with the check stock.
One solution is to incorporate all of the check stock information into the report itself and then to print the check on “blank” security check stock paper. Printing the static lines, boxes and text is pretty straightforward but one part of the check keeps most people from ever trying this…the MICR characters, (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition). That is the special line of numbers at the bottom of each check. This requires a special font and a special magnetic toner.
However, one of my readers,Erik Rasmussen, has successfully done this with Crystal Reports and sent me a link for a free MICR Font that you can use to print that line. The font is called GnuMICR and it was created from scratch by Eric Sandeen of Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has released it under an open source (GPL) license which means that it is free for anyone to download and use. It can even be distributed for free as long as you follow the GPL rules, which require that you include the source files and a copy of the license. The readme.txt file describes his special rules for those of you who plan to include this font in a proprietary (non-GPL) application.
According to Erik Rasmussen, who has tested and used this font, you need MICR toner when printing the MICR characters – unless your bank is one that reads the font optically. He added that while Eric Sandeen does not mention test results on his website, Erik Rasmussen has tested the font successfully with a couple different banks. Erik says if you want some reassurance about compatibility, most banks will test a batch of your MICR checks for free, if you ask them. There are quite a number of benefits to printing your own MICR on your checks, and MICR toner doesn’t cost much more than normal toner if you’re careful where you shop.
One added note – when you go to the “Download” link on the site above look for the file called GnuMICR-0.30.zip which is for Windows users.