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: Forcing Printouts to Black and White.

Forcing Printouts to Black and White

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 13, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Kevin has created a performance assessment document (about 12 pages long) that includes many tables separated by sections of text. Many of the tables have rows that have been shaded. He is wondering if there is a way, preferably without using a macro, that he can "force" the document to print the shaded rows in black and white, even when it is being printed on a color-capable printer.

There is no way to do this in Word, and it is not entirely clear if it is possible to do it using a macro. There is a way to configure color graphics so that they print as grayscale, but you want to print colored shading, which doesn't have the same configuration settings available as do graphics.

It is possible, with some printer drivers, to force a document to print in grayscale, but this capability will vary from printer to printer. (You access these individual printer capabilities by displaying the Print dialog box and then clicking the Properties button for the printer you are using.) Since these capabilities are handled by the printer driver, there is no way to access them with a macro, and even if you could, there is no guarantee that they are available for all printers.

The best solution might be to changing the shading used in the tables in the first place. It won't look as colorful on-screen, but it will provide the desired black and white printout.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (452) 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: Forcing Printouts to Black and White.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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