Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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 30, 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"

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9178) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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. ...

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What is four minus 0?

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.


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