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: Sending Printer Commands.

Sending Printer Commands

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 2, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Word has an extensive range of field commands that can be used to increase the flexibility of your documents. One such field allows you to send commands directly to your printer, without interference from Word. To insert a Print field code in your document, follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point where you want the Print field to appear.
  2. Choose Field from the Insert menu. You will see the Field dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Field dialog box.

  4. Make sure (All) is selected in the Categories list at the left side of the dialog box. (It should be selected by default when the dialog box is first displayed.)
  5. Select Print from the Field Names list.
  6. In the Field Code box, after the Print statement, enter the information you want sent directly to the printer. This information should be enclosed within quote marks.
  7. Click on OK.

This technique is great if there are some advanced features of your printer that you want to take advantage of. For instance, I have used this technique in several other WordTips issues to show how to send PostScript commands directly a printer.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1107) 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: Sending Printer Commands.

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. ...


Formatting Comments

Need to change the appearance of the text in your comments? It's easy to do using techniques you are already familiar with.

Discover More

Using Different Shapes in WordArt

You can apply different shapes in WordArt to create different effects.

Discover More

Endnotes in a Separate Document

When you add endnotes to a document they are normally positioned (as one would expect) at the end of the document. You ...

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)

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.

Discover More

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 ...

Discover More

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. ...

Discover More

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

View most recent newsletter.


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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 six more than 3?

2017-02-26 12:04:56


If I may add my two cents worth, I too would like to see some examples.

I need to program certain conditions to an old dot matrix printer (but it could equally apply to other, more modern, printers) and have all of the programming details - but they are in BASIC. I tried running these following an LPRINT after opening Windows cmd but this does not work (such DOS commands are not recognised by Windows). How do I translate those DOS statements into a form which Windows will recognise - and possibly into a form which can control the printer before Word does its worst?

I have absolutely no knowledge of Visual BASIC or other languages and am a bit long in the tooth to learn these. However, I'd like to be able to control my printer - and if Word would override my commands - stop it.

Any help will be appreciated.

2017-01-08 10:11:04

You are correct; printer commands are going to be hardware specific. If you want examples of such commands, use the search box at the upper-right of this page and search for "print field". (Make sure you include the quote marks.)


2017-01-08 05:22:54

Steve Wells

I'm curious what the printer commands would look like, though they are very possibly hardware specific.

Why would I want to send printer commands?
My printer has two printing trays (loaded with different kinds of paper) and an auxiliary tray. I'd like to be able to specify the tray to use for certain kinds of documents so that I don't have to set them manually each time I print a series of the same type.
Some are simplex on card stock in the auxiliary tray, others might be duplex from Tray 2, and so on.

2017-01-07 18:49:10


There is no explanation of what sending direct to the printer is about. Why would you want to do that? And what is the difference between direct to the printer and the normal way?

2017-01-07 14:22:37

Allan Poe

Since I doubt that many of us know what a Printer Command looks like, it would be helpful to give an example and where to find the Printer Commands.

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.


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.