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: Understanding Background Printing.

Understanding Background Printing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 12, 2017)

1

Word includes a feature called background printing. When you use this feature, Word spools your document to disk, and then feeds it to the Windows printing system as fast as possible. When background printing is turned off, Word stops everything and sends your document to Windows right away.

If you are working with short documents, you will notice little difference in using background printing. If you are printing long documents, however, there can be quite a bit of difference. With background printing turned on, you can continue to work in Word even when the program is sending a long document to the printer. This can be a huge benefit. On the other hand, if you have background printing turned off, your long documents may print faster, but you will not be able to use Word while the printing is being done.

To control background printing, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Print tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Print tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. In the Printing Options area of the dialog box, note the setting of the Background Printing check box. If it is selected, background printing is enabled; if it is cleared, background printing is turned off.
  5. Click on OK when you are finished.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1017) 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: Understanding Background Printing.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Finding a Cell Reference

Want to know what the reference address is for a particular cell in a table? Word won't tell you, but you can use a macro to ...

Discover More

Automatically Creating Charts for Individual Rows in a Data Table

If you have a lot of records in a data table, you may want to create individual charts based on the information in those ...

Discover More

Files Opening Slowly If Many Files Exist

Managing large numbers of documents in Word can lead to some interesting challenges. One potential challenge is that your ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Small Printing with Different Word Versions

A few places to check if the printout differs from the original document.

Discover More

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 ...

Discover More

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 ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 + 6?

2013-11-29 18:49:11

georgia wisbey

hello there. I am desperate! I tried to cancel background printing but my documents are still only printing images. I have windows 7. PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW TO CANCEL A BLANK PAGE FOR ALL MY DOCS THAT NEED PRINTING! PLEASE CALL ME, IF AT ALL POSSIBLE , 0777 994 8676/0208 502 2825 or advise! MANY THANKS esp as I have a university doc to print by sunday and have been trying to do this for two weeks and cannot afford anymore outside printint! xx


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.