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Printing Reversed Images

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Printing Reversed Images.

There may be times when you need to print your document as a "negative." This means that everything is printed the opposite of what it was when created: black is printed as white, and white areas are printed as black. This is particularly helpful if you are doing camera work with your output. Other times you may need to print a mirror image of your output, which is helpful if you are creating output for phototransfer processes or for silkscreening.

There are a couple of ways you can create negative output, and all of them have to do with your printer driver. Finding the right combination of commands to do the trick may take a little digging, and it may vary depending on the type of printer you have. We use an HP LaserJet 4MV, and we use the PostScript driver for the printer. These steps work for us:

  1. Press Ctrl+P. Word displays the Print dialog box.
  2. In the Name field, select the printer you want to use for your output. (This obviously only applies if you have more than one printer driver installed.)
  3. Click on the Properties button. Word displays the Properties dialog box for your selected printer driver.
  4. Scroll through the properties categories and expand the PostScript Options group by double-clicking on it.
  5. To enable mirrored output, click on the Mirrored Output option and then click the On radio button at the bottom of the dialog box.
  6. To enable negative output, click on the Negative Output option and then click the On radio button at the bottom of the dialog box.
  7. Click OK to close the Properties dialog box.
  8. Print your document as normal.

Once these settings are changed, they remain changed until you explicitly change them back.

In reality, the steps you follow don't really matter that much. What matters is the capabilities of yoru printer. You need to display the Properties dialog box for your printer driver (steps 1 through 3, above) and then find the controls in the dialog box that control the negative and mirror imaging. If you can't find any such controls, then chances are good that your printer won't handle doing reversed images and you may need to use a different printer.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (459) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Printing Reversed Images.

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