Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Temporarily Changing the Printer in a Macro.

Temporarily Changing the Printer in a Macro

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 6, 2017)

Shaune has written a macro that prints, to a PDF writer, product information sheets. When he prints to the PDF writer, the macro resets the default printer for the system on which it is running, so that when someone then tries to print regularly (after the macro is finished), Word still assumes the user wants to print to the PDF writer. Shaune is looking for a way for his macro to use the PDF writer temporarily, without resetting the default printer.

The bad news, Shaune, is that you cannot get around resetting the printer. When you reset the ActivePrinter property, then Word assumes that the printer you specify remains the active (default) printer until you specifically reset it.

The good news is that you can also read the ActivePrinter property, which means your macro can save whatever printer the person had selected before the macro was run, and then reset the ActivePrinter property prior to exiting. The result is that the user never notices that the default printer was changed, because your macro sensed the settings and then changed it back. This technique is used in this manner:

Sub PrinterTechnique()
    Dim sCurrentPrinter as String
    Dim sPDFwriter as String

' perform whatever tasks need to be done prior to printing
' make sure you also initialize the sPDFwriter string with
' the name of your PDF writer

    ' save current printer name, then change to PDF writer
    sCurrentPrinter = Application.ActivePrinter
    Application.ActivePrinter = sPDFwriter

    ' print document, then go back to the original printer
    ActiveDocument.PrintOut
    Application.ActivePrinter = sCurrentPrinter

' continue with the rest of your macro

End Sub

Note, in this example, that the active printer is first saved in the sCurrentPrinter variable, and then the active printer is set to whatever is in the sPDFwriter variable. (As noted, you'll need to initialize sPDFwriter so it contains a valid printer name.) After the printing is done, then the active printer is set back to what you previously stored in the sCurrentPrinter variable.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9808) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Temporarily Changing the Printer in a Macro.

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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