Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Controlling the Printer in a Macro.

Controlling the Printer in a Macro

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 20, 2021)

Many of the printers available on the market these days have some amazing capabilities. Most of these capabilities are accessible by displaying the Properties dialog box for the printer. As you are developing your own macros, you may wonder if it is possible to access these capabilities from within the macro.

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that this can be done because the printer drivers don't typically make the features of printers available in a way that can be understood and accessed from the object model used by VBA. (Boy, was that a mouthful!) Instead, you would have to use the actual Windows API, and even then, not all features may be accessible.

There are some workarounds that can be used, however. You can use VBA to select different printers to which you can direct your output. This means that you can create different printer definitions—in Windows—and then use those definitions as the target for your output.

For example, you could use the Printers folder in Windows to set up a printer named HP Regular Paper. That printer definition can be set to print on regular paper, by default. You can then set up another printer definition named HP Glossy Paper and set it to print, by default, to a tray that may contain glossy paper. With the two printers defined, you can then use VBA to switch between the two. For instance, if you wanted to print to the printer definition for the glossy paper, you could use the following in your macro:

Application.ActivePrinter = "HP Glossy Paper"

Note:

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

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9178) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Controlling 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Making All Lines in a Paragraph the Same Height

If the line spacing in a paragraph appears uneven it may result of the combination of a larger character or object pasted ...

Discover More

Inserting a Section Mark

Section marks are used regularly in the writings of some industries, such as in legal documents. If you need a way to ...

Discover More

Understanding Unicode Characters

Unicode is a character-encoding scheme that works with a huge variety of characters. This tip explains what Unicode is ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Massive Printouts

Have you ever wanted to do a simple printout, only to find that Excel spit out dozens of pages, and most of them were ...

Discover More

Showing Print Preview for the Current Page

The Print Preview feature in Excel can be quite helpful. You might think it would be more helpful, though, if it ...

Discover More

Omitting Page Numbers on Some Pages

Excel doesn't allow for as robust of headers and footers as Word does. Even so, there are some things you can do to ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, 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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 two less than 8?

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

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, 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.