Printer Name on the Status Bar

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 18, 2015)

Word users with access to multiple printers find it difficult to tell which printer is selected at the time they want to print, unless the Print dialog box is first displayed. This precludes the simplicity of using the Print tool on the toolbar. If you find yourself in this situation, you might think it would be nice if the name of the printer could be displayed in the status bar so you can readily tell if you need to change to a different printer, or if you can just click the Print tool.

You can change what is displayed on the status bar—but that it is probably more trouble than it is worth. The information displayed in the status bar can be changed by using a macro. You can easily create a macro that would constantly update the status bar with the name of the printer, but that would overwrite much of the valuable information already displayed in the status bar.

To stop the removal of the important status bar information, you may want the macro to only update the status bar when it is run. You could then assign the macro to a toolbar button. One click on the button and you could tell which printer is selected.

The problem with this approach, of course, is that it doesn't save you anything. Assuming the correct printer is selected, printing would then take two clicks—once on your custom macro tool and then once on the Print tool. This is the same number of clicks it takes to print through using the Print dialog box—a click/drag movement to open the Print dialog box and then a click on the Print button. (If you use the keyboard, you can quickly press Ctrl+P to display the Print dialog box.)

So what is a person to do? Well, there are two potential solutions. The first is just to use the built-in capabilities of Word to determine what printer is selected. If you have ScreenTips turned on in relation to your toolbars, and if you hover the mouse pointer over the Print tool for just a moment, Word displays the name of the currently selected printer. You then know if it is OK to simply click on the tool or if you need to pull up the Print dialog box. (You control the display of ScreenTips in toolbars by choosing Customize from the Tools menu, then displaying the Options tab. Look for the Show ScreenTips on Toolbars option.)

The second solution is to do a little more macro programming and simply create a way to—with one click—print to each of your printers. These macros could be very simple; all they need to do is switch the printer and then print the current document. The basic macro would be as follows:

Sub PrintToP1()
    ActivePrinter = "\\SPA-SERVER\HP OfficeJet Pro L7700 Series"
    ActiveDocument.PrintOut
End Sub

To modify the macro for your needs, change the macro name (PrintToP1) to reflect something descriptive. For instance, you could change the 'P1' part so it was a short name of your printer. Then, in the first line of the body of the macro you need to change the information within the quotes to the full name of the printer, as it appears in the Print dialog box. That's it.

Now, with one of these macros for each of your printers, you can assign them to toolbar buttons and use them to print your documents—to the proper printer—in a single click.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1515) 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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