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: Preventing Printing.

Preventing Printing

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 15, 2018)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


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An industrious WordTips subscriber asked if it is possible to prevent a user from actually printing a document in Word. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way short of making sure the user doesn't have a printer attached to their system.

Why? The easy answer is because Word is meant to print things. You can, of course, customize Word so that the print-related commands are removed from the toolbars and menus. You can also replace Word's built-in print commands with commands that do nothing. However, that doesn't stop people from actually doing a screen print of what is on the computer screen, thereby ending up with the information on a printout. In addition, people could bypass executing the macros by simply disabling them when the document is loaded. Another way around such customizations is for the user to simply copy text from the print-inhibited document and paste it into a new document that has no such customizations. The document could then easily be printed.

You can also try non-Word solutions, such as using Adobe Acrobat to create a protected PDF file that cannot be printed. However, even then the user could still do a screen print of what they see.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1583) 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: Preventing 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. ...

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What is six less than 9?

2019-03-13 15:12:32

Brian Keith

Forget it!, I found the answer: https://wordribbon.tips.net/T008056_Using_Non-Printing_Notes.html


2019-03-13 14:54:25

Brian Keith

What about preventing accidental printing? I have a 3 page document that gets regularly printed at my workplace. The 3rd page is a revision history and I don't want it printed. But people keep forgetting to change the settings at the printer level to only print pages 1-2. Is there a way to have word at least ask: "are you sure you want to print page 3?"


2019-03-04 15:34:04

Allen

Still doesn't stop people from making a screen shot, John, as mentioned in the tip.

I stand by my assertion that there is no way to stop people from printing what is in the document. (They don't have to use Word to print what is in the document. IRM/DRM won't stop someone who wants a printout of the information.)

-Allen


2019-03-04 15:27:43

John Denneny

Well, this is pretty much useless information: it looks like you are going to talk about how to prevent printing in Word but then you say it is not possible. Not quite.. have you ever heard of IRM/DRM in MS Office? Maybe you should.


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