Create a macro to open the legacy Print dialog in Word 2010

December 12, 2012 at 10:49 am 1 comment

Revision as of 8/21/2013: A reader wrote this week to let me know that the original coding — which did work at the time I uploaded this post — was producing a run-time error. I did some research and found alternate coding that seems to work just fine. (We both tested, with good results.) I have edited this post accordingly, stripping out the coding I used initially and replacing it with coding that works. Thanks very much to Andrew Lockton for posting the correct coding on the venerable Windows Secrets site! — JB

Many people who upgrade to Word 2010 find the new full-screen “Preview & Print” (which Microsoft calls “Print Place”) confusing and awkward to use.  In fact, people often ask me whether it’s possible to use the old-fashioned Print dialog in Word 2010.  Until recently, my reply was “No.”

At some point in the last few months, I discovered a way to invoke the old Print dialog.  Basically, it involves copying and pasting some code into an “empty” macro, then adding the macro to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).  After putting the macro on the QAT, you can open the legacy Print dialog simply by clicking the icon for the macro.  Very cool!

You don’t need to know anything about creating Word macros in order to use this workaround. Step by step instructions follow. (TIP: You might want to print these instructions before starting.)

  1. First, open Word.
  2. Select and copy the following text string:


    This language is a Visual Basic for Applications (“VBA”) code – a command that instructs Word to open the old-style Print dialog.  Later on, you will paste the command into an “empty” macro.  (No need to paste it anywhere now.)

  3. Click the View tab.
  4. Navigate to the right side of the tab, click the Macros drop-down, and click “Record Macro.”
  5. When the Record Macro dialog opens, type a name for the macro.
    1. Note:  The name can’t include spaces.
    2. Suggested name:  LegacyPrintDialog (or OldPrintDialog).
  1. Ignore “Assign macro to” (button or keyboard).  We will assign the macro a button later, after we have created the macro.
  2. Make sure the “Store macro in:” drop-down displays Normal.dotm (or some other global template).  Normal.dotm typically is the default, and that’s fine.
  3. Click OK.The Record Macro dialog should close, returning you to the main Word screen.
      (NOTE:  It doesn’t matter whether you have a document open or just a blank screen.)
  4. The mouse pointer turns into a small white cassette to show that the macro is being recorded.  We are going to stop the recording without actually doing anything so that we have an “empty” macro to paste our VBA command into.
  5. To stop recording the macro, navigate to and click the Macros drop-down again, then click “Stop Recording.”
  6. Now that the macro recording has stopped, click the Macros drop-down once more and click “View Macros.”

      The Macros dialog should open, showing a list of your existing macros.
  7. Locate and click the LegacyPrintDialog macro (or whatever you called it), then click the “Edit” button.
      Clicking the “Edit” button will open the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) Editor, a somewhat odd-looking screen with several parts to it.  The “empty” macro we created earlier should appear in the main portion of the screen, a fairly large window labeled “Normal – NewMacros (Code).”
  8. In the main window, you should see some green text with the name of the macro.  Do the following:
    1. Position your cursor just to the right of the green macro name.
    2. Press the “Enter” key to move the cursor to the next line.There should not be any character(s) to the left of the cursor.  If there are any characters to the left of the cursor, delete them.
    3. Finally, use any method you prefer (Ctrl V, right-click and Paste, etc.) to paste the text you copied in step 2 at the cursor position.
    4. NOTE:  You do not have to do anything special to save the macro.  It will be saved automatically.
  1. The next step is to close the VBA Editor and go back to the regular Word screen.  To do so, click the File menu, then click “Close and Return to Microsoft Word.”
  2. Now that we have created the macro, let’s add it to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).  First, right-click the QAT, then click “Customize Quick Access Toolbar.”
      The Word Options dialog will open, showing the options for customizing the Quick Access Toolbar.
  3. Navigate to the upper left side of the dialog, click the “Choose commands fromdrop-down, and choose Macros.  You should see a name for the new macro that looks something like this:
  4. Click to select the long macro name, then navigate toward the center of the screen and click the “Addbutton.
      Doing so puts the long macro name in the large box at the right side of the dialog, which is a list of all of the icons that are on your Quick Access Toolbar.  In effect, you have just added the macro to the QAT.
  5. We’re not done, so don’t click OK just yet.  We will rename the macro to make the name more user-friendly (Normal.NewMacros.LegacyPrintDialog is kind of a clunky name!).  Also, we are going to assign an icon (image/button) to the macro.
  6. The macro name should be highlighted.  If it isn’t, click the macro name to highlight/select it.
  7. Next, navigate to the bottom left side of the box that displays the list of items on your QAT and click the “Modifybutton.
  8. When the Modify Button dialog opens, do two things:
    1. First, navigate to the lower left of the dialog.  You should see the long, awkward name for the macro highlighted in gray.  Click within that area and delete the long name, then type a new, more user-friendly name — such as Old Print Dialog.
        NOTE:  This time, you can have spaces in the macro name.  But it’s a good idea to keep the new name fairly short.  This name will appear when you hold the mouse pointer over the icon for the macro on the QAT.
    2. Next, navigate to the main part of the dialog and locate an icon you’d like to use to represent the macro on the QAT.  (Unfortunately, Microsoft has provided only one icon that resembles a printer, as far as I can tell.  But you can use anything that strikes your fancy.)  When you find one you like, click it.
    3. To save your changes, click “OK.”The Modify Button dialog will close, returning you to the Word Options dialog.
  1. Before closing the Word Options dialog, consider whether you want the icon for the macro to appear at the right side of the QAT, which is where it will appear if you do nothing more.  If you prefer to have it appear farther to the left on the QAT, click the Up arrow to the right side of the box displaying the items on your QAT.  Each time you click the arrow, the icon for the macro will move up one row, which is equivalent to moving one notch to the left on the QAT.
  2. When you have finished, navigate to the lower right side of the Word Options dialog and click “OK” to save your changes.The Word Options dialog will close, putting you back at the main Word screen.
  3. To test the new macro, click the icon on the QAT.The legacy print dialog box should appear.
  4. Assuming everything worked as expected, click “Cancel” to close the dialog.
  5. Enjoy!

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Still hoping to add substantive posts soon… Set up a keyboard shortcut to open the legacy Print dialog in Word 2010

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