Often, the entire point of using a word processing program is to create a printed product. Word includes many tools to help make printing whatever you need as easy as possible. Learn how to make Word work for various printing projects and how to resolve issues you may encounter along the way with the following articles.
Tips, Tricks, and Answers
The following articles are available for the 'Printing' topic. Click the article''s title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.
Adding a Diagonal Watermark with a PostScript Printer
If you have a printer that understands PostScript, you can add your own watermark to each printed page. This tip discloses how easy it is to take advantage of this PostScript capability.
Adding a Horizontal Watermark with a PostScript Printer
In Windows, printer drivers translate formatting into a printer control language, like PostScript, that the printer understands. If you know the printer control language and how to present the commands you can issue commands directly to the printer. This tip is an example of creating a watermark using PostScript commands.
Adding One More Line
It always seems to happen—you print a document and then discover that you should have included one more line of text at the end of the document. Here's a way to print just that line, without redoing the entire page or the entire document.
Always Printing Drawing Objects
Add a bunch of drawing objects to your document, and you may wonder how to make sure they all appear on a printout. How you handle it depends on the version of Word you are using.
Automatic Font Color Won't Print Properly
Imagine that you go to print your document, and all the text you can see on the screen just isn't there on the printout—it's as if the text is invisible! If this happens to you, the problem is most likely due to your printer driver, as described in this tip.
Booklet Printing in Word
Need to create a booklet with Word? Depending on your version, it could be as easy as changing how you print your final output.
Need to stop the printing of a long document? Here's how to stop Word, along with why stopping Word may not be the only thing you need to do.
Changing Print Dialog Box Defaults
Some of the built-in defaults in Word can't be changed. Often times, however, you can work around these defaults by using macros. Here's how you can customize the print dialog box defaults.
Changing the Default 'Print What' Setting
By default, Word automatically changes the "Print What" setting in the Print dialog box to reflect what it thinks should be printed. Here's how you can affect the default setting.
Chopped Off Page Borders
Tired of your page borders not printing out as you expect? The problem could be due to any number of settings or conditions. Here's the things you can check out.
If you are printing more than one copy of a multi-page document, it would be great if Word could print them in complete sets saving you the hassle of collating later. Fortunately, there is a quick way to save yourself a lot of time—and paper cuts.
Controlling the Printing of Highlighting
Using Word's built-in highlighter tool can be a great way to add markup to a document and attract a reader's eyes to specific phrases. If you don't want the highlighted phrases in your document to be printed that way, you can turn off the highlighting without removing it.
Controlling Where a Full-page Border is Printed
When you add full-page borders to your document, you may be bothered to find out that one or more sides of the border don't actually appear on the printout. If this happens to you, then you can apply the techniques in this tip to make sure that the border prints as desired.
Correct Line Numbers When Printing Selections
Line numbers can be indispensable on some types of documents. When you print a portion of a document (a selection) Word won't always print the line numbers correctly. Here's why that happens and what you can do to get the line numbers you want.
Dealing with the X of Y Bug
Have you ever printed a document, only to see that the page numbers are incorrect on the printout? If so, it could be due to the "x of y" bug, which has hounded Word for years.
Defining Default Printers on a Document Level
If you use multiple printers, you may wonder how to set each document in Word to remember which printer to use for that document. You'll need to manipulate a few things to make this happen. Here's how.
Disabling Printer Notifications
Do you see a notification balloon pop up from your System Tray whenever you print a document? If this bothers you, then you can put the information in this tip to immediate use to turn off the notification.
Discovering Printer Drift
How accurate is your printer when it comes to placing information on the printed page? The simple technique described in this tip will help you to discover how precisely your printer handles paper and prints your information.
Documents Printing Out of Order
When printing documents under the control of a macro, you may notice that the documents print out of order for some reason. Here's a discussion of why this may happen and what you can do about it.
Double-Spacing Your Document
Need to produce a quick double-spaced printout of your document? You can do it by using the simple steps in this tip.
Duplex by Default
Many printers these days have the capability to print on both sides of a piece of paper. You may want Word to use this capability, by default. It cannot, however. Here's why and here's what you can do about it.
Duplexing Documents, by Default
If you have a printer that will print on both sides of a piece of paper, you may want to use that ability within Word. Unfortunately it's not as straightforward as you might hope.
Easily Changing Print Order
You can change the order in which pages are printed (normal or reversed) using the Print dialog box. What if you want a way to specify the order without using the dialog box? The macros in this tip will make quick work of changing the print order.
Errors while Printing
Printing a document is a common task in Word. What if you get an error message while printing? Tracking down the cause can be an exercise in creative detective work.
Fitting to a Single Page
It can be frustrating when a single-page document actually prints of two pages, depending on the system that is doing the printing. This tip describes some of the reasons for this problem and quickly introduces some of the ways you can try to fix it.
Fonts Unavailable in Word
If you have some fonts that don't show up as available in Word, their exclusion can be confusing. Here's a discussion of why these fonts may go missing.
Forcing Printouts to Black and White
If you want to force Word to print some of its colors in black and white, you may be out of luck. One bright spot, as mentioned in this tip, is that you can rely on the capabilities built into many printers.
Formatting Differences between Word Versions
Create a document in one version of Word on one machine and then open that document in a different version of Word on a different machine and you may be surprised at the results. There can be lots of things that affect how the same document is rendered, displayed, and printed on each system. This tip discusses some of the things you can do to minimize the differences between systems.
Getting a Double-Spaced Printout
When working with printed documents, many people prefer to see the document double-spaced. If you have a single-spaced document, but you need to print a quick copy double-spaced, this is the absolute fastest way I've come across to accomplish the task.
Getting a Warning for Markup
Many people, when collaborating on a document with others, use the Track Changes feature to show the effects of their editing. When printing your document, you may not want Word to include these changes in the printout. You can instruct the program to warn you if you try to print and there are any tracked changes or comments in the document.
Great Gray Tones from a Black and White Printer
Your laser printer probably does a great job in putting black type on the paper. If you want to print gray tones, the results might not be so great. Here is a tip on a way you might be able to get even better looking gray tones from that printer.
Guidelines for Laser Printer Letterhead
Plan on using printed letterhead in your laser printer? Here are some tips and cautions about doing so.
Headings On Your Printout
If you've got a table that spans multiple printed pages, you probably want to repeat a row or two of that table as a heading on each page. Here's the easy way to set up those repeating rows.
Including a Printer's Name in a Footer
If you can produce output on a number of different printers, you may want Word to indicate on your printouts which printer was actually used. Here's a way you can include the printer name in the footer of your documents, as you print them.
Left and Right Aligned on One Line in a Label
If you need to put information on a label that has both left- and right-aligned information on the same line, it can be frustrating to get the formatting just right. Here's the steps you need to follow to get just what you need.
Limiting Document Page Count
Do you need to have your document fit within a certain number of pages? This can be close to impossible to do within Word; you actually may need to consider other software to get the job done.
Making Banners in Word
Word can be used for printing a variety of document types. You may want to use the program to print a festive banner for a special occasion. There are some things you can do to print banners, as described in this tip.
Making Sure a Document Always Has an Even Number of Pages
For some documents, you may want to make sure that a printout always has an even number of pages. Word has no intrinsic way to do this, but you can work around this apparent limitation using the techniques in this tip.
Margins Incorrect when Printing
Endnotes are easy enough to add and accumulate in a document. For this reason, Word makes it easy to jump from one endnote to another using the techniques described in this tip.
Misbehaving Leader Dots
Leader dots can be a great formatting "flourish" to use in your documents. If the leader dots don't print out correctly, however, it can be confusing as to where the problem is originating.
Multiple Pages Per Sheet
You can save on paper on your printouts by instructing Word to print multiple pages on a single sheet of paper. In fact, you can put up to 16 pages on a single piece of paper, as described in this tip.
Karen is having problems getting hyperlinks to print in a document on her home computer. There are only a limited number of reasons why this would be a problem, as described in this tip.
Only Inline Figures Can be Seen and Printed
Insert a graphic into a document and you expect to be able to see it. What do you do if it isn't displayed, however? Here are some things to check out.
Opening and Printing a Document
Want a quick, fast way to print a Word document? Here's a way that can't be beat!
Peculiar Font Differences
Have you noticed page layout differences when you open a document on different systems? There are a number of reasons why this occurs, all discussed in this tip.
Preparing Files for a Commercial Printer
Sometimes you may want to send Word documents to a commercial printer for professional mass production. Doing this requires serious planning before you spend the time to create the document.
When dealing with determined users, it is virtually impossible to prevent information in your document from being printed. This tip explains why this is the case.
Previewing Before You Print
Print Preview is a feature built into Word that allows you to see what your printed output will look like before you commit it to paper. This feature is easy to use and helps to save on printing costs.
Printer Name on the Status Bar
The status bar is a great place to display all sorts of information. It might not be the best place to put the name of the selected printer, however. Here are some ideas on how you can accomplish the task of knowing which printer you are printing to, without really relying on the status bar.
Printing a Bookmark List
Need to know what bookmarks are defined in a document? Here's a macro that creates a list of all your bookmarks so that you can print it at any time.
Printing a Bookmark List with Contents
Bookmarks can be a great tool in Word, allowing you to easily remember the location of desired blocks of text. If you want to print out all of the text you have bookmarked within your document, you'll love the short macro presented in this tip.
Printing a Circle Using PostScript
With a printer (and printer driver) that understand PostScript, you can do some nifty drawings directly to the paper, without the need of them appearing in your document at all. Here's how to create a circle according to your specifications.
Printing a Document's Mirror Image
If you need to print the mirror image (backwards) of a document, you may think you are out of luck in Word. There are workarounds, however, as explored in this tip.
Printing a Draft of a Document
Need to print a copy of a document but you don't care if it looks as "pretty" as you want the final printout to look? You need to print a draft copy, as described in this tip.
Printing a File List
It is often helpful to have a list of all the documents in a given directory or folder. Word doesn't have a built-in way to generate such a list, but there are a couple of ways you can get the desired information.
Printing a Font List
Getting a list of fonts available in a document is not something you can easily do in Word. That is, unless you put the macro in this tip to work.
Printing a Full Style Sheet
Word supports the use of styles (they are very powerful), but it doesn't provide a way to get a full-featured style sheet printed. This tip examines ways you can create your own style sheets for printing.
Printing a Key Assignment List
When you create custom shortcut keys in Word, you may (at some point) want to get a printout of what those key assignments are. Here's how you can get that list.
Printing a List of AutoCorrect Entries
Want a printed record of the AutoCorrect entries you've created in Word? There is no built-in way to do it, but you can use the short macro presented in this tip to get just the printout you need.
Printing a Macro List
Need a list of all the macros you've created? Word doesn't provide a way to create such a list, but you can use the workarounds and ideas presented in this tip to get what you need.
Printing a Short Selection
Want to print just a selection from within your document? It's easy to do when you print using the Print dialog box.
Printing a Style Sheet
Styles are a fantastic way to format your documents easily and consistently. At some point you may want to print out a list of styles available for a particular document. Here's how to do it.
Printing All Open Documents
Have a bunch of documents you need to print? If all the documents are open, you can use a handy little macro to print them all at once.
Printing an Outline
Outlining is a great way to develop the content of your document. If you need to, you can even print the outline and only the outline—without all the content.
Printing and Exiting Word in a Macro
When you print a document, Word remains busy in the background until the printing is done. If you try to end the program before printing is done, you can cause problems for your printout. This tip explains how to bypass the potential problem by making just a small change to how the document is printed.
Printing AutoCorrect Entries
If you want to print a list of all the AutoCorrect entries in your document, Word doesn't provide a method. You can use the macro in this tip to create your own list for printing, however.
Printing AutoText Entries
If you want to print a list of the AutoText entries on your system, you can do so quickly by making one change on the Print dialog box. Just use the Print What drop-down list to indicate what you actually want to print.
Printing Close to the Edge
Word allows you to specify all sorts of paper sizes and margins for your documents. If your margins result in trying to print on an area of the paper that your printer can't handle, then you'll be notified of the problem, as discussed in this tip.
Printing Color Separations with VBA
When printing in color (at a commercial printer) it is necessary to print different colors of your document in different passes. For this purpose, commercial printers often deal with color separations, or separating a document into its component colors. Word can't perform such a complex task, but there is a way you can simulate color separations in simple documents.
After adding comments to a document you may want to print them later. Word provides a variety of ways you can print the comments.
Printing Copy Numbers
Copy 1, Copy 2, Copy 3... Do you want to mark your printouts so that they are numbered? Here's how you can do it.
Printing Custom Properties
Do you use custom document properties? They can be very helpful, but sometimes hard to get at. This tip shows a way you can print out the names and values of your custom properties, using a handy macro.
Printing Document Properties
Word maintains quite a bit of information about a document in a special collection of items called "properties." You can print these properties whenever you print your document, if you so desire. Here's how to do it.
Printing Documents in a Folder
If you want to print a group of documents at the same time there are a couple of ways you can accomplish the task. Here are two easy ones you can use.
Printing Documents without Markup
If you have a document with Track Changes turned on, you can accumulate quite a bit of "markup" in it. Here's how you can print the document without that markup showing up.
Printing Field Codes
Field codes allow dynamic information to be included in documents and can be a great boon. At some point you may want to print a copy of your document with field codes displayed. Here's how to do it.
Printing Hidden Text
One of the formatting attributes you can add to text is to make it "hidden," which means you can control whether it is displayed or printed. This tip explains how you can control the printing of hidden text, independent of whether it is displayed or not.
Printing in White
Word allows you to print in every color of the rainbow, but not in white. (Bad comparison; white is not a color of the rainbow.) Here's why you can print in white and what you can do if you really do need to print in white.
Printing More than One Copy
If you need to print more than one copy of your document, you need to become familiar with the options in the Print dialog box. This tip explains how you can instruct Word to print as many copies of a document as you need.
Printing Multiple Label Copies when Merging
Need to print more than one copy of mail-merge labels? There are a number of different approaches you can take to getting the number of labels you need.
Printing Non-Printing Characters
Serious users of Word often display non-printing characters on-screen so they can see them easier. If you want those characters actually printed, you may be out of luck. Here's the reason why, along with some ideas you can use.
Printing Odd or Even Pages
You can instruct Word, when printing your document, to print only the odd- or even-numbered pages. This tip explains how you do this.
Printing On Both Sides of the Paper
A VBA macro to allow duplex printing.
Printing Only Changed Pages
Turn Track Changes on, and you can easily see where you've made changes throughout a document. If you want to print only those pages on which changes have been made, you are out of luck, however. Here's a way you can get around this limitation, however.
Printing Only Selected Pages
I often need to print only select pages of a document, rather than the whole thing. Word makes it easy to be judicious in what you print. Here's how you can specify just those pages that need to be sent to the printer.
Printing Personalized Copies of a Document
Need to have a series of documents customized for individual users? Mail merge may be overkill, but the macro presented in this tip will help make short work of the individualized printouts.
Printing Reversed Images
Ever need to print the mirror image of your document? This tip explains how to reverse your image so it can be used for phototransfers, silkscreening, and other purposes.
Printing Shortcut Key Assignments
Shortcut keys are great timesavers when you don't want to remove your hands from the keyboard to mess with the mouse. Word even lets you define your own shortcut keys to augment the rich selection provided by the program. You may, for reference purposes, want to print out a list of all the assignments. You can do so by using the steps outlined in this tip.
Printing Shortcut Key Assignments from a Macro
Need to know what shortcut keys are defined? You can use a single macro command line to print out the definitions.
Printing Show/Hide Characters
Non-printing characters are very handy to view when editing a document. But what if you want those characters to no longer be "non-printing?" Here are some ideas on how you can simulate those characters on your printouts.
Printing Style Sheets
Want to see what styles are defined in your document? Let Word print out a simplistic style sheet for you.
Printing Styles in a Macro
There may be times when you want your macro to print out a list of styles in the document. If so, then you can do it with a single command, as illustrated in this tip.
Printing Summary Information
Word automatically maintains a number of properties for each document you create. As part of those properties you can include summary information about the document. If you want to print that information, here's how to do it.
Printing Summary Information from a Macro
Part of the information that Word maintains about each of your documents is a summary statement, which you can define in the properties for the document. If you want to print that summary from within a macro, you can use the .PrintOut method, described in this tip.
Printing the Active Document from a Macro
When you process a document in a macro, you may also want to print that document from within the same macro. Here's how to do it using a single command.
Printing the Current Page
Want to print just the current page? Word can do it, if you know how.
Printing to a File
Word allows you to send your output to a file instead of to a printer.
Printing Very Large Paper Sizes
Need to print on large pieces of paper? Word has a limit on the size of the paper it can use, but that might not be the only limiting factor. You also need to worry about your printer and printer driver.
Printing via Macro without Messages
When you are printing a document, it is not unusual to see messages (dialog boxes) periodically. When you want the printing to be done by a macro, the messages can cause unwanted interruptions. Here's a way to make the messages stop.
Printing without Footnotes
Want to print your document without all those footnotes included? It's not quite as easy as you might think, as this tip discloses.
Printing without Headings
The writer uses headline styles to create a story outline. He does not want to see the headlines when he prints the story. This tip describes a couple of ways to do this.
Printing XML Tags
Word 2003 allows you to use and save your information in XML format. If you want to, you can have Word print a document's XML tags when it prints the document. Here's how.
Printout Doesn't Match Preview
Print Preview is used to see how a printed document will really look. What if what you see on-screen doesn't match what you see on the printout? Here's some things you can check.
Problem Printing Quotation Marks
If you go to print a document and find out that your quotation marks aren't printing properly, there could be a number of causes. This tip explains the possible causes and examines what you can do to fix the problems.
Reducing the Curl in Printed Documents
Have you ever printed out a document, only to have the pages curl very badly as they come out of the printer? There's a reason for that, and some things you can try to reduce that curl.
Remembering Copies to Print
If you routinely need to print more than one copy of a document, you'll love the ideas presented in this tip. There's even a way that you can make individual documents "remember" how many copies should be printed.
Removing Blank Pages at the End of Your Document
You go to print out your document, and all of a sudden notice that there was a blank page that printed at the end. This could be caused by "non-printing characters" at the end of your document. Here's how to find out and fix it.
Removing Comment Brackets for Printing
How to remove the brackets indicating commented text before printing your Word document.
Reversing Print Order
When you print a document, does it come out of the printer in the order you need? Here's how to reverse the print order to correct the situation.
Saving in PostScript Format
Word can save your document in PostScript format so that it can be easily processed by other programs that work with PostScript. To get the PostScript file, you simply print using a PostScript printer driver.
Scaling Your Output
One of the lesser-known features of Word is that it allows you to create a document for one page size and scale the output to fit on a different page size. It's easy to do, using the Print dialog box.
Selecting a Paper Size
Most of the time we print on whatever is a standard paper size for our area, such as letter size or A4 paper. However, Word allows you to select all sorts of paper sizes. Here's how you specify the size you want to use.
Selecting a Paper Source
Some printers allow you to print on paper from different sources. For instance, a printer may have multiple paper trays, each bearing a different type of paper. If your printer driver is up to date, you can instruct Word to print to exactly the paper source you want used.
Selecting Different Trays in a Mail Merge
When you create a mail-merged document, you might want some pages of the document printed on paper from one printer tray and other pages printed from paper in a different tray. This can be easily accomplished when you create your merge document to begin with.
Selecting Printing of Color Pictures
Do you want to control whether color pictures in your document are printed or not? It's not quite as easy as it may sound. This tip describes several approaches you can use to accomplish this task.
Sending Printer Commands
If you need to send a command directly to your printer, then you need to use the PRINT field. It allows you to send output to the printer without Word trying to process it as text.
Setting Up Your Printer
Word allows you to take full advantage of the capabilities of your printer. Accessing those capabilities is done through the Print dialog box, as described in this tip.
Small Printing with Different Word Versions
A few places to check if the printout differs from the original document.
Specifying a Paper Tray in a Macro
You may want to use a macro to process and then print your document. Part of that printing may involve specifying which of your printer's paper trays Word uses. Here are some considerations you need to take in account if you want to select a paper tray in your macro.
Stable Layout on Different Printers
Want your document to print out the same on printers other than your own? This may be an elusive quest, as explained in this tip.
Suppressing ASK Fields When Printing
Do you like using ASK Fields in your documents to get information from the user but don't want Word to update the fields more than once? There are a couple of solutions to this problem. Here's how to use them.
Table Borders Won't Print
Print a table and you may be surprised if it has no borders. That could be because you actually have the borders turned off. Confused? You don't need to be (read this tip).
Temporarily Changing the Printer in a Macro
You can use a macro to print to any printer you have defined in Windows. It is good practice, if you are changing which printer you are printing to, to use the programming technique described in this tip to remember which printer was previously selected on the system.
Text Prints as Bold, but Displays as Regular
What to do when text looks one way on the screen but prints a different way? This tip provides several different approaches you can use to correct the disparity.
Do you want to transfer fonts from one computer system to another? It is relatively easy to do, but there is one important item to which you need to pay attention.
Triple-Spacing Your Document
Print your document with lots of space between each line—triple space it! Here's some quick and easy steps for getting the spacing you want without affecting your document in a lasting manner.
Turning Off Background Repagination
When you use Word, it normally performs several tasks in the background, while you are typing. One of those tasks is to continuously repaginate your document. Depending on the view you are using, you can turn this feature off, if you don't need it.
Turning Off Comment Color when Printing
Comments that you add to your document are most often displayed in a bright color so they aren't easily missed. If you want to turn off those colors when printing the comments, you'll want to note the information in this tip.
Two Page Numbers per Physical Page
If your document has two mini pages on one page, inserting page numbers in Word, so that each mini page has its own number, can be done. There is a relatively simple way to achieve this.
Two Printed Copies to Different Paper Trays
Many modern printers include multiple paper trays that can be used for different types or colors of paper. Word allows you to specify which paper tray should be used when printing, but what if you want to print two copies of a document and have each one come from a different tray? That's where a macro can come in handy, as discussed in this tip.
Understanding Background Printing
We click the button to print our document and seldom think of what is happening behind the scenes. Word prints documents, by default, in the background as we continue to work. You can change this behavior, if you desire; here's how.
Understanding Page Sizes
When you create a document, you need to be concerned about the final size of the page you will be creating. Word supports a wide variety of page sizes, and you can change them—at any time—by using the techniques in this tip.
Unwanted Cover Pages with Print Jobs
When you print a document, do you get more than you bargained for? If you get extra pages printed either before or within your document, it could be due to a number of different configuration settings in Windows and Word.
Unwanted Lines on Printout
Do you have strange lines appearing at the corners of your printout? There are a number of reasons this could be happening, each explained in this tip.
Unwanted Vertical Lines in a Table
When you print a table that includes borders, those borders should be crisp and clear on the printout. If you get some unexpected lines around the borders, there could be a number of different reasons.
Putting words on the printed page is easy in Word. Rotating those words in different manners can be a bit trickier. This tip examines different ways in which you can print some of your text upside-down relative to the other text on the page.
Upside-Down Text with PostScript
Got a printer that understands PostScript? You can use some simple PostScript coding to turn text completely upside down on your page.
Using Crop Marks with a PostScript Printer
Want to add crop marks to a printout? It's easy to do, provided you are using a PostScript printer.
Using Duplex Printing
Want to print on both sides of a piece of paper? Some printers have the capability to do two-sided printing automatically. Here's how you can take advantage of that feature from within Word.
Using Sequential Document Serial Numbers
Need to add a unique serial number to each printed copy of your document? Here's a quick way to print such numbered versions.
Using Unique Document Serial Numbers
If you need to include serial numbers in your printed matter (labels, letters, documents, etc.), the best way is through the use of Word's mail-merge capabilities. This tip outlines how you can use this capability to get just the serial numbers you need.
Working with Multiple Printers
Word does not keep printer information associated with documents. You can define a macro for each printer you use and put buttons for the macros on a toolbar for easy access to all of the printers.