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Printing a Document's Mirror Image

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 a Document's Mirror Image.

Word does a great job of printing documents. However, for some purposes you might find it useful to print a mirror image of a document—where everything is reversed on the printout, and you can only see it correctly if you look at the document in a mirror. For example, you might need such a mirror image if you are doing silk screening onto tee shirts or coffee mugs with the output you create.

Unfortunately, Word has no intrinsic setting that allows you to create mirrored output. There are ways you can achieve the same results, however. The first thing you should do is to check out the capabilities of your printer driver. Most PostScript printers (and many non-PostScript HP printers) include the capability to mirror the output. The feature is not limited to laser printers, either. Many ink-jet printers include the capability to do mirrored output.

All you need to do is click on the Properties button in the Print dialog box and then do a little exploring in the various tabs and controls. On my printer, the option is contained in a portion of the dialog box entitled PostScript Options. Yours, obviously, may be in a different place. The feature may have a name such as "mirror output" or "flip horizontal."

If you search high and low and cannot find such an option, there is a tricky low-tech solution you can use. All you need to do is print from Word, like normal, on a piece of overhead transparency film. Then, turn the printed film upside down and copy it on a copier. The result—mirrored output, just like you need.

Finally, if you don't want to mess with the transparencies (it can get a bit expensive if you have many pages to do), you can follow these general steps, instead:

  1. Prepare your document as normal.
  2. Press Ctrl+A to select the entire document.
  3. Press Ctrl+C to copy it to the Clipboard.
  4. Switch to a graphics program, such as Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop.
  5. Press Ctrl+V to paste the document's image into the program.
  6. Using the features of the graphics program, flip the image as desired.
  7. Select the entire image and copy it back to the Clipboard.
  8. Switch back to Word and paste the graphics object into the document.
  9. Print as desired.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1475) 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 a Document's Mirror Image.

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Comments for this tip:

ben    18 Jul 2016, 09:25
Sorry - totally missed the print driver portion of your document, and I find you are correct. I was looking at my printer specific settings.
Ben    18 Jul 2016, 09:17
There is a mirror image check box in the print dialog. Click on Preferences - Finishing and at the bottom of the dialog there is a check box for mirror image.
Natalie    02 Jul 2016, 09:29
Mary C - THANK YOU!!!! Your suggestion for Windows 10 worked perfect! I had some sewing labels I needed to create for ironing onto something and (cue the angels singing) it worked!!
Robert Matthias    15 May 2016, 18:28
HAVE PRINTED MIRROR IMAGE BUT WAS SMALLER AND PRINTED TO TOP RIGHT HAND CORNER OF DOCUMENT INSTEAD OF MIRROR IMAGE AS ON DOCUMENT AS SHOWN
Steve Wells    14 May 2016, 16:11
Be careful to turn off the display of non-printing characters for an image capture, unless you intend to include breaking and non-breaking space markers, soft and hard line returns, tabs, section breaks, and the like.

Also remember that screen resolution as a graphic mirror image is likely to be less than most printer resolutions, possibly much less, so the result might not look as smooth as you'd get in a “normal” printout where Word or your printer are rasterizing scalable fonts. For example, my UHD (ultra high definition) computer monitor is at the leading edge of single-screen resolution with a maximum of 3,840 horizontal pixels. A letter size page with 1” left and right margins on a typical 600 dots/inch printer is 6½×600 = 3,900 pixels, so my graphics image would be only a hair less sharp. But that makes the poor assumption that I’d be able to use the entire screen width for a document image. With Word displaying a full page on my screen, I’m using perhaps a third of the horizontal width, so a forwards printout would be approximately three times sharper than a printout made from a captured mirror image. If your display is running the now common HD (high definition) resolution of 1920×1080, your graphics mirror image will be six times as grainy/fuzzy as a standard forward printer image.

I’m not saying the printing tip is bad. Just understand why a mirrored screen image of text might not be as effective as you’d like. If you can reverse the text as WordArt or get your printer to reverse it, the rasterization will happen after the mirror imaging, and the result will be as beautiful as forward printing.

Here’s another workaround if your mirror document contains only text and you can present it in a simple san serif or Times Roman font. You could set the whole thing in a mirror font, where the letters/symbols are all backwards. For example, on my computer, my font collection includes these san serif mirror fonts: Strait Kcab, backwards, and RRMirror, along with the serif RSTimesMirror. If your printer won’t support a horizontal flip, you could compose in a mirror font, spelling everything backwards, and print forwards normally. Search on the internet for such fonts if that might help.

Finally, in the spirit of mirrored content, remember: step on no pets.
Mary C    14 May 2016, 12:16
A Mirror image can be achieved in Word alone. Display what is wanted on screen and use Alt-PrintScreen to put the inage of the open window into the Clipboard. Paste this saved screen to either a new Word doc or into the open one. Double-click on this screen image to open the 'Picture... Format' tab. Use 'Crop' to isolate what you want to mirror, increase its size if needed, and use 'Rotate... Flip Horizontal'. This can now be copied and pasted.

Additionally, in Windows10 there is an app called "Snipping Tool". This app can be used to cut out from any open window only what is needed to be mirrored. This image can be pasted into Word and worked on using the same double-click method as above.
 
 

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