Can Only Print to Default Printer

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 30, 2017)

On Bob's system, Excel refuses to print to any printer other than the one set as the default for the system. This only happens in Excel, not in Word or any other installed application. So in order to print he has to temporarily change the default printer to the one he wants, print, and then remember to set the printer back afterwards. Bob is wondering why he can't choose other printers.

There could be a number of different causes for this problem. One subscriber reported that they had the same problem but that it only cropped up after migrating their office to Windows 7 64-bit and using Windows PrintServer. In their case, they discovered that their was a hidden attribute on the printer queues which caused the problem and they could only get it taken care of by talking with Microsoft support.

Others reported the problem occurring when particular add-ins were installed on the system. (One in particular, Microsoft Office Labs Search Command, was mentioned a few times.) Disabling the add-in solved the problem.

There is a good discussion about the problem and various fixes here:

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2010-excel/excel-2010-only-prints-to-the-default-printer/5b6beddd-f85d-4fda-ab2b-56c750f2028c

You'll want to ensure that this is entered in your browser as a single URL; it is quite long.

If none of the suggested solutions work in your situation, you can try printing via macros. Why? Because you can easily modify the designated default printer in the macro and then change it back. It's all done through the use of the ActivePrinter property. You can determine the name of the current default printer and assign it to a variable, change the printer, then do your printing, and finally change the printer back:

Dim sDefault As String
sDefault = Application.ActivePrinter  'save current default printer
Application.ActivePrinter = "XYZ SuperPrinter"
' do your printing
Application.ActivePrinter = sDefault  'restore default

The only thing you need to do is to make sure that you replace "XYZ SuperPrinter" with the actual name of the printer you want to use. You can find out the name of the printer by making it the default (in Windows) and then, within the VBE Immediate window, printing the name of the printer:

? Application.ActivePrinter

Mark down the name, paying attention to spacing and capitalization, and that is the name you can use in the printing macro.

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 (12497) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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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