Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Preventing Printing.

Preventing Printing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 25, 2015)

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 program. 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 (10272) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word 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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