Changing Focus when Starting to Print

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 6, 2021)
This tip applies to Word Word in Microsoft 365


Frank just migrated from Office 2007 to Office 365. In Word 2007 when he pressed Ctrl+P, the focus would be in the Copies field and he could simply type the number of copies to print. In Office 365 the focus is on the Print button, not the Copies field. This change slows down the way that Frank prints documents, so he wonders if there is any way to change the focus back to the Copies field, by default.

There are times when I'm convinced that Microsoft changes things—small, seemingly simple things—just to see if users are awake. This may be one of those instances. Frank's frustration is understandable, but there is no way to change what has initial focus. Perhaps the easiest way to handle the situation is to simply remember to press Tab immediately after pressing Ctrl+P. The addition of the single keystroke moves the focus to the Copies field, and the number of copies can then be entered as was traditionally done.

If that is still too frustrating, you could create a macro that will pull up the Print options and press Tab for you. The following macro will do a trick:

Sub StartPrint()
    Dim sTemp As String

    sTemp = "^p{TAB}"
    SendKeys (sTemp)
End Sub

To make it work without slowing you down, you can assign the macro to the Quick Access Toolbar or to a keyboard shortcut. If you choose the latter approach, you will want to make sure that you don't assign it to the Ctrl+P shortcut. Doing so will cause you to quickly realize your mistake, as once you press Ctrl+P, the macro will go into an endless loop as it issues a Ctrl+P just as if you had. Instead, assign it to a different keyboard shortcut and you should have no such problem.


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 (13830) applies to Microsoft Word Word in Microsoft 365.

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 seven more than 9?

2021-03-07 10:52:50


The SendKeys statement is tricky to use and may easily cause uncontrolled effects.

2021-03-07 10:38:21


Hi Ken,
Unluckily, Alt+"a letter " or even Alt + "period" do not work as the keys sent become Alt+Ctrl+P followed by Alt+Ctrl + TAB, and that invokes windows switcher. So for this macro you are limited to only combination of keys with Ctrl.

2021-03-07 06:44:30



If you use ALT + "a letter" as the shortcut, there are plenty of combinations available. Use one of the letters near the ALT key so that it can be executed with one hand without stretching the fingers far apart.

2021-03-06 13:59:39

Tomek Dluzniewski

I found that it is not that straightforward to assign a keyboard shortcut to this particular macro. Any Ctrl+letter (Except Ctrl+P) will work but all of them are already assigned to other functionalities. You may chose one that you will not likely need, but I prefer avoiding it.

The problem seems to be that you cannot assign combinations Ctrl+Shift, Ctrl+Alt, or Ctrl+Alt+Shift with a keystroke. At least on my machine it results in some weird effects, like opening an unrelated dialog box or opening the windows switcher. I think it has to do with sending either the Ctrl^P character or Ctrl^TAB while additionally a Shift, Alt, or both Shift and Alt are depressed; this results in actually sending Ctrl+Shift+P, Ctrl+Alt+P followed by Ctrl+Alt+TAB, or Ctrl+Al+Shift+P followed by Ctrl+Al+Shift+TAB.

Anyway, the macro given can only be assigned to a combination of Ctrl+KEY. As all letter keys are already assigned, what is left are keys like (period), (semicolon), 7,8, or 9. You can also try some numeric keyboard keys - they are not the same as number-row keys; this is not a solution for laptops without numeric keyboard though.
PS: Please post a comment to my comment if you found it useful, or send me a note (I un-hid my e-mail address).
Tomek Dluzniewski

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