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: Printing Color Separations with VBA.

Printing Color Separations with VBA

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 17, 2018)

Word does not have the inherent capability to print color separations. Instead, you typically must use a full-featured desktop publishing program such as InDesign to accomplish this task. That being said, you can perform a rudimentary form of color separation by simply changing the text color you don't want to print to white, and then printing the document. Reversing the process will then print the other color.

For instance, the following VBA macro will allow you to print color-separated text for a document that contains both red and black text:

Sub PrintSeps()
    ActiveDocument.Save
    Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdStory

    Selection.Find.ClearFormatting
    Selection.Find.Replacement.ClearFormatting

    'Change Red to White
    Selection.Find.Font.ColorIndex = wdRed
    Selection.Find.Replacement.Font.ColorIndex = wdWhite
    With Selection.Find
        .Text = ""
        .Replacement.Text = ""
        .Forward = True
        .Wrap = wdFindContinue
        .Format = True
        .MatchCase = False
        .MatchWholeWord = False
        .MatchWildcards = False
        .MatchSoundsLike = False
        .MatchAllWordForms = False
    End With
    Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
    ActiveDocument.PrintOut

    'Change White back to Red
    Selection.Find.Font.ColorIndex = wdWhite
    Selection.Find.Replacement.Font.ColorIndex = wdRed
    Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll

    'Change Auto to White
    Selection.Find.Font.ColorIndex = wdAuto
    Selection.Find.Replacement.Font.ColorIndex = wdWhite
    Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll

    'Change Black to White
    Selection.Find.Font.ColorIndex = wdBlack
    Selection.Find.Replacement.Font.ColorIndex = wdWhite
    Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll

    'Change Red to Black
    'This is done so that Red will print as Black
    'On some printers, non-black colors always
    'print as a shade of gray. You want them only
    'as black
    Selection.Find.Font.ColorIndex = wdRed
    Selection.Find.Replacement.Font.ColorIndex = wdBlack
    Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll

    ActiveDocument.PrintOut

    ActiveWindow.Close SaveChanges:=wdDoNotSaveChanges
End Sub

Note a couple of things about the PrintSeps macro. First, it saves your document. This is done because when the macro is done running, it throws out the document. Saving allows you to load the document from disk at a later time. The other thing to note is that this works only for documents that contain only red and black text. If you have other colors, those colors will print on both passes. If you have white text, it will print with the red pass. If you have graphics, no separation is done on them. (If you have graphics and want them separated, you definitely should be using a desktop publishing program.)

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11243) 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: Printing Color Separations with VBA.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing Excel's Background Color

Excel doesn't provide a built-in means to change the standard background color of a worksheet. There are a few different ...

Discover More

Sorting while Ignoring Leading Characters

Want to ignore some characters at the beginning of each cell when sorting? The easiest way is to simply create other ...

Discover More

ExcelTips Menu 2013 Archive (Table of Contents)

ExcelTips is a weekly newsletter that provides tips on how to effectively use Microsoft's best-selling spreadsheet ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Chopped Off Page Borders

Tired of your page borders not printing out as you expect? The problem could be due to any number of settings or ...

Discover More

Printing Document Properties

Word maintains quite a bit of information about a document in a special collection of items called "properties." You can ...

Discover More

Preparing Files for a Commercial Printer

Sometimes you may want to send Word documents to a commercial printer for professional mass production. Doing this ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.