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 June 23, 2018)

1

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

Self-Adjusting Column Widths

It is important to understand how column widths relate to the margins you may have set in your document. The reason is ...

Discover More

Adding the Set Print Area Tool

Spend a lot of time defining print areas in your workbooks? You might benefit by adding a Set Print Area tool to the ...

Discover More

Deciphering a Coded Date

It is no secret that Excel allows you to work with dates in your worksheets. Getting your information into a format that ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Working with Multiple Printers

If you have multiple printers accessible to your computer, you may need a way to quickly print your worksheet on a ...

Discover More

Fitting Your Printout on a Page

Tired of wasting paper when you print a worksheet? You can scale Excel's output so that it fits only the number of pages ...

Discover More

Setting Up Your Printer

Need your printed output to look its best? You may need to change the settings used by your printer, then. Here's ...

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}] 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 four more than 7?

2018-03-30 11:55:38

David Gray

When I needed to print two or more duplex copies of a contract that was assembled by a macro, I discovered and used this approach about 10 years ago. At the time, I didn't bother to look into the Windows API, because I knew that even if I could use the Windows API, it would be far more work to program than would be required to hand configure the logical printer. I took things a step further by saving and restoring the default printer, so that I didn't accidentally leave the duplex printer set as the default. Since the macro was to run unattended, and would start from the Document_New event of a template, I put the name of the dummy printer into a custom property, from which I could read it when the time came to print. Storing the name in a property afforded me the option of selecting a different name for the printer, should the need arise, without the need to revisit the VBA code.


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.