Blank Check Setup

Greg Hatfield Updated by Greg Hatfield

The Blank Check Setup screen is accessed from the Print Payroll Checks screen or the Employer/Payer Setup (Edit Client) screen and contains the information necessary to print checks on blank check stock. The screen displays a facsimile of a business check to help the user identify the Bank Information area and MICR line. Users should complete the information on this screen using an existing check from the employer's bank account. The actual location of the check parts may vary. As the user enters the information, on-screen check sample information will be replaced. Click the OK button to save the check setup information or the CANCEL button to exit without saving.

Be sure to test the position of the MICR line on checks printed with your printer and adjust as necessary to meet the requirements. See the MICR requirements at the end of this help topic. The MICR line is read by banks using special magnetic and optical scanning machines. Special MICR toner cartridges that have a higher iron content are available for laser printers to print checks on blank check stock. Checks printed using normal laser toner cartridges may or may not be readable by a specific bank or banks. Inkjet printers are not recommended for printing checks. Unreadable checks may result in bank fees to the employer. Users must determine if a MICR toner cartridge is required for their check printing purposes.

Bank Information Area:

This area, typically at the top of the check or below the amount line, includes information about the bank on which the check is drawn, and may include the bank's name, address, and fractional bank number. The fractional number on your check is used to identify your bank.

MICR Line:

This is the encoded area at the bottom of your check which includes the check number, bank routing number, and account number. It is printed using special inks which can be read by encoding machines used by banks. Printing the MICR line requires installation of a MICR printer font. Installation of the MICR font is included with the Live Payroll program.

Check Number:

This sequential number is printed in the upper right of your check and is encoded in your check's MICR line. It is used by the account owner to keep track of the checks that are written and is used by the bank to report checks as they clear the account. Do not enter a check number on this screen. It is provided for information only.

Routing Number:

The routing number is part of the MICR line on your check. It is a 9 digit number that identifies your bank, and always starts with 2 digits in the range 01-12 or 21-31. The routing number has a special MICR symbol at the beginning and end. The user must enter the 9-digit number. The program will add the symbols for you.

Account Number:

Also part of your check's MICR line, the account number identifies the account from which money is drawn. The user must enter the account number, including special symbols, in its entirety. See the codes below the account number line to enter the special symbols.

Signature Line:

The account owner must endorse this line to authorize the use of the check. The user may print checks with one or two signature lines. If only one line is needed, then the user may enter an adjustment number in the Line adj. field to move the line down. This can adjustment can be used to help fit the line under a digital signature. See Digital Signature Files below. An entry of 144 will move the signature line down one-tenth (1/10) of an inch.

Signature Heading or Over Signature Area:

This area is available for the account owner to incorporate a business or personal message to anyone using the check. Popular business uses include printing a company slogan or the text "VOID AFTER 90 DAYS" or "TWO SIGNATURES REQUIRED".

Digital Signatures Files

Digital signature files can optionally be used to print one or two signatures on the checks in lieu of a "wet" signature. The second signature will only print if two signature lines are specified, even if the path and filename are entered. Click the Browse button to locate the digital signature file and click Open to enter the path and filename into the field.

The path and filename of the digital signature file can be no more than 60 characters in length.

A digital signature file is a scanned image of the actual signature. Follow these steps to create a digital signature file:

• Write the signature on white paper using thick black ink (a felt tip pen works well) sized to about 0.66 inches high (can only be up to 0.33 inches high when two signatures are on the check) and no more than 2.7 inches long.

• Scan the signature as a black and white picture.

• Using image editing software, such as Paint, edit the image to only include the signature.

• Size the image to be 0.66 inches high (up to 0.33 inches high with two signatures), keeping the height to width aspect ratio the same. When the file prints it is designed to have 3/4 of the image above the signature line and 1/4 below the line. This allows character descenders to hang below the line. The user may need to adjust the image size to print properly in relation to the signature line.

Digital signature files can be saved in .BMP, .EMF, .GIF, .JPG, or .WMF format. Note: If the image editing software does not display the size of the image in inches, then you will have to determine the size in pixels and divide by the image resolution (pixels per inch). For example, if the image is 48 pixels high and the resolution is 96 pixels/inch, then the height in inches would be 48/96 = 0.5 inches.

If the printed signature does not sit on the signature line properly, then the signature line can be shifted using the Line adj. field. See Signature Line above. The line can only be shifted when using one signature line, not when using two signature lines. If your signature is 0.66 inches high then it is suggested to enter 450 for the Line Adj.

Test MICR Button

Clicking the Test MICR button allows the user to print a check facsimile. The position of the MICR line should be measured to verify that it meets the requirements below. The MICR position adjustments may be used to move the MICR line as necessary to meet the requirements.

MICR Position Adjustments

The user may enter numbers in the Horizontal (left and right) and Vertical (up and down) adjustment field to move the MICR line. A positive number in the Horizontal adjustment will move it to the right and a negative number will move it to the left. A positive number in the Vertical adjustment will move it down and a negative number will move it up. An offset entry of 144 would move the MICR line one-tenth (1/10) of an inch.

MICR Requirements

- The bottom of the MICR line should be 3/16" from the bottom of the check.

- The right edge of the symbol that ends the Routing Number should be 4 5/16" from the right edge of the check. Some check stock provides a small rectangle watermark on it that simplifies the placement of the left-most ON US symbol which surrounds the routing number.

- The MICR characters must be spaced exactly 8 per inch.

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