Documents Printing Out of Order

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 23, 2013)

Mark asked for help with a problem printing documents. Seems he has a macro that he uses to print his documents in the order desired. If there are 10 or fewer documents, then they print fine. If there are 11 or more, the first 10 are background printed and the remaining documents are foreground printed.

At first blush, this problem could seem to be a sorting problem. That is quickly dispelled, however, by realizing that if it were a sorting problem, document 10 would always print after document 1.

Which leads to the most likely scenario: The documents are simply filling up the space allocated and/or available for the background printing queue used by Word. (This is completely a supposition; I could find no hard documentation on whether there even is a space limitation on the queue.) In either case, the solution to the problem would be to simply turn off the background printing feature in the macro before beginning the print run.

What does that mean? Simply that the printing will take a while, as you wait for each document to print. Of course, the macro could be made "smart" by only turning off the background printing feature if it detects, before printing the first document, that there are more than 10 documents in the entire job.

To turn off background printing in a VBA macro, simply include this line at the beginning of the macro:

Options.PrintBackground = False

When you later want to turn background printing on again, use the following line:

Options.PrintBackground = True

If turning off background printing is not satisfactory (meaning, you don't want to wait for the printer any longer than absolutely necessary), there are a couple of other options. The first, of course, is to use the master document feature of Word. This feature has been "featured" in other WordTips, and I can safely state that not that many Word users are satisfied with the feature.

Which brings us to the final potential solution: You can use the INCLUDETEXT field to build a document that includes all your "subdocuments," and then just print the single document. This could be done under macro control, as well. Simply use your macro to open a new document, calculate the name of each document you want to print, and then insert an INCLUDETEXT field that uses that name. The macro could finish out by printing the document it created and then throwing it away. The minimal syntax for the INCLUDETEXT field, as required for this macro, is as follows:

{INCLUDETEXT "MyFile1.doc"}

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (842) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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