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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 7, 2017)


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. ...


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What is 3 + 9?

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.

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