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Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
© Copyright 1996-2015 by Barry MacDonnell. All Rights Reserved.

Page updated Mar 29, 2015

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Printer and fax formatting problems - some reasons why WordPerfect might

  • not print
  • be slow to print
  • be slow to open (i.e., "load" or "launch")
  • print text incorrectly
  • print to the wrong tray
  • print multiple copies
  • or have other printer issues
Other pages on this site that relate to other WordPerfect problems -

Blue bullet Repairing WordPerfect documents and templates

Blue bullet Repairing 'bad' or damaged WordPerfect program files

Other pages on this site that relate to printing issues -

Blue bullet Why some documents seem to "spontaneously" or automatically reformat themselves when they are opened, printed, faxed, or shared between users

Blue bullet How to quickly change printers (WP8+) back to the default after printing to a different printer or faxing the document

Blue bullet Print your letterhead page from one printer tray, and second and subsequent pages (or envelopes) from another tray or slot [includes "How WordPerfect 'talks' to your printer"]

Blue bullet Print envelopes to another printer, then reset WordPerfect 10 to your default printer

Blue bullet Do you want to remove blue underlines in e-mail addresses and web site URLs from your printouts? Get rid of the hypertext links.

Blue bullet How to create new, customized copies of your favorite printer choices - Controlling the tray source (in other software programs), ink color, and other features of your printer from File, Print - (Includes macros to help change to your new printer selections)

Other WordPerfect "repair" pages on this site -

Blue bullet Repairing WordPerfect documents and templates - How to find and fix common problems


This is not a comprehensive list of printing problems and printer formatting issues. However, it is intended to grow as more "interesting" printer output problems are resolved.

Some things to consider -

1.  Is it a printer problem -- or something else?

If a document prints as you expect but appears different on screen from the printed copy, it might not be the printer.

•  Could it be a damaged ("corrupt") document or template?

- This is often more likely than a printer problem. See Repairing WordPerfect documents and templates - How to find and fix common problems.

•  Could it be an incorrect display setting for your screen? 

- Sometimes the current zoom is not set (View, Zoom) to what you expected. This can happen accidentally if you hold down the <Ctrl> key while rotating the mouse wheel in Page or Draft mode.

- The display of some fonts on screen can benefit by changing the value of the display metrics your WordPerfect is using. (This is a WordPerfect method where line endings are determined by screen resolution and the appearance of the text on screen.) This value can be changed with the startup switch, /DM. Some users find that setting this switch to a value between 90 and 95 cures some display problems such as normal text appearing bolded or words appearing as if they run together. [Ed.: This switch was not included in some early versions of WordPerfect.]

•  Could some text simply be hidden from view (but still print)? For example: View, Hidden Text might be disabled.

2. Is the printer turned on? Is it available to your computer?

Please understand that WordPerfect makes much heavier use of the printer (actually the printer driver; see below) than most other programs to provide true WYSIWYG ("What You See is What You Get") on your screen.

Check to make sure the printer is turned on and it is available to your computer.

[Hint: Windows allows setting up User Profiles (see here for more). Each User Account can have one or more Profiles. Some use this feature to set up a separate user profile for when printers are not available, such as when they are disconnected from a network.]

3. Could it be a font problem?

Some "printer" problems might be due to a missing or corrupt font, even if the printer is still available.

Fonts can be hardware fonts (i.e., built into the printer and often called "printer fonts," and which display an icon next to their name in WordPerfect's Fonts dialog that looks like a tiny printer -- such as you might see with some versions of the Courier font).  Or they can be software fonts, installed in Windows. [Tip: To reinstall standard Windows fonts see the Microsoft support site here.]

•  If a font is missing, WordPerfect will substitute what it thinks is a close match; this might not be obvious until something appears "strange" -- such as

- text "pushed together," or
- text that extends beyond the margin, or
- text that appears faint or faded in some (or all) areas, or
- text justification that is not what you expect.

•  Try printing with a different Windows font. (Tip: If you need a software version of Courier that is darker than the typical Courier, try downloading and installing the free Dark Courier font from the http://www.hp.com/ site.)

•  Note that fonts can be specified in the body text of the document as well as "upstream" in the default template. (WordPerfect is a "stream oriented" program, where codes take effect until discontinued, replaced, or removed by another code.) If you can't find a font problem in the document, try editing the default (or custom) template, as discussed in WordPerfect Templates.

•  For other formatting issues see Why some documents seem to "spontaneously" or automatically reformat themselves when they are opened, printed, faxed, or shared between users. There are settings in WordPerfect that can cause reformatting, which can be mistaken for a problem with the printer.

4. Is your WordPerfect program up to date ("patched")?

•  Updating to the latest version and "build" of WordPerfect Office may solve some printer issues. Information on updating may be found here.

5. Could it be a custom print setting in WordPerfect?

•  Most versions of WordPerfect have an option to save various printer settings via an option on the Print dialog (File, Print, Settings (and Edit Settings)). Sometimes these are set by users and then forgotten until something seems to go wrong in printing, or until another user tries to print without knowing what custom settings are in effect.

Search your WordPerfect Help (F1 key) for "saving print settings." (WordPerfect X5 and later versions have an updated Reference Center that contains a PDF User Guide with more information.)

For example, to restore the program's default print settings: Click File, Print, and click the Main tab. In the Settings list box, choose Application Default. Click the Edit settings button, and click on Restore.

•  Printing from the wrong tray? See "How WordPerfect 'talks' to your printer's trays and manual feed slot" here.

6. Could it be an automatic reformatting issue in WordPerfect?

•  See: "Why some documents seem to 'spontaneously' or automatically reformat themselves when they are opened, printed, faxed, or shared between users" here.

7. Could it be the printer or a printer driver? [See below for "What is a printer driver?"]

A quick and easy test of the current printer driver.

•  This method, recommended in 2013 on Corel's OfficeCommunity.com, is to change the default printer temporarily to the Microsoft XPS Document Writer (present on Windows since Windows XP/sp2) via the Windows Control Panel (Devices and Printers).

Just right-click on its icon and choose "Set as default printer," then reboot your system (just to be safe) and see if the problem still exists. If so, it could be a problem with your previous printer driver. [A similar technique, recommended for years on WordPerfect Universe, uses the Apple Laserwriter printer driver, present on all Windows systems. This is a "known-good" driver, so you could temporarily install it and set it as the default while testing for the problem. For more, see this thread on WordPerfect Universe.]

For problems that might involve the printer such as -

•  slow opening (loading) of the program or documents;
•  failure to load ("failure to launch");
•  low (or insufficient) memory error messages when starting WordPerfect [see article 3521 in the Corel Knowledgebase]; or
•  strange video (or video-vs-printout) problems;
... see the Corel Knowledgebase at http://corel.force.com/index.

For example:

•  WordPerfect is slow to open ("slow launching").

Corel Knowledgebase article 3510: "This can happen when there is at least one printer in the Windows Control Panel listed as Offline or Not Ready. This is due to WordPerfect trying to aquire page definitions from a printer that it cannot connect to but [is] listed on your Control Panel as installed. To resolve this issue, remove the reference to the offline printer(s) from your Windows Control Panel." [Again, since WordPerfect makes greater use of printer drivers than many other programs to produce true WYSIWYG ("What You See is What You Get") output to your screen, it can be affected by printer driver issues that other programs might not notice.

•  WordPerfect will not open. Again it might be a printer driver issue, especially if the printer driver's file on your disk is damaged. Or it might be another problem, such as those listed below.

•  The Print button is greyed (grayed) out. [See also the next section below, which has been reported to fix this problem]

If you try to select (or set options for) a printer with no document on screen, WordPerfect will automatically enable the checkbox, "Document on disk," in File, Print, Advanced tab.

As 'CyndyZ' stated (here) on WordPerfect Universe: "[This] is exactly what should happen when you bring up the Print dialog when there is a new blank document on screen - WP knows there is nothing there to print, so it will (or should) offer to print a document on disk" instead - it checks that box and waits for you to pick a document to print (use the browse button to the right of that field); when you do that, the Print button would become available. This should not happen, of course, if there is a document on-screen when you bring up the Print dialog."

[Update 6/21/11: The problem with the "Document on Disk" checkbox retaining its enabled state has been resolved in WPX5, Service Pack 2 (i.e., version]

What else can you do?
Here are some things that are often suggested:

•  Troubleshooting printing problems with WordPerfect.

See the information in the Corel article "Troubleshooting Printing problems with WordPerfect®". The article (written for WordPerfect 9 and later) contains various troubleshooting steps and solutions such as:

•  clear the print queue because "a jammed print queue will prevent WordPerfect from opening or will cause the application to stall while attempting to print";
•  remove any offline printers [see previous item above about "slow launching"];
•  restore WordPerfect stored printer information;
•  add an emulation (printer) driver;
•  (for WP10+) add a shortcut to the WordPerfect print engine in the Windows startup folder; and
•  remove and reinstall your printer's printer driver. [See the article for details.]


¤  What is a printer driver? A printer driver is a small software module supplied by the printer manufacturer and is installed when you install your printer. Printer drivers function to "talk" to a specific printer and are also heavily used by WordPerfect to match the screen display with the printer's output to produce true WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get") on your monitor. Printer driver information, along with a lot of other information, is stored with the document.

Note: Most printer manufacturers give instructions on their sites about deleting old drivers and installing new ones. Generally, installing a new or updated printer driver is as easy as downloading a file from the manufacturer and double-clicking on it. Typically it then will set up some files in a separate (temporary) folder and install the printer driver from there. Usually this takes only a minute or two.

[Caveat: Sometimes reverting to an earlier version of the driver is better. For example, Many users find that the HP PCL 5e driver works better than the HP PCL 6 driver (but this author has found at least one case where the opposite was true). Both versions usually can be installed at the same time; they will show up in the File, Print dialog as separate entries.]

More precisely, here is a way to do delete and reinstall a printer driver in Windows XP (note that the procedure may differ slightly in other operating systems -- see Footnote 1 below for methods reported to work in removing old printer drivers in Windows 7 -- so if you are unsure of how to proceed you should check the printer manufacturer's website and/or the Microsoft support site for instructions):

First, obtain the latest printer driver for your model of printer and for your operating system from the printer manufacturer's web site. (The installation CD that came with the printer might be out of date -- especially for Windows 7 systems.)

Then, in Windows XP (for Windows 7 see footnote below):

1. Open the Windows Control Panel with Start, Settings, Control Panel.
In the Printers and Faxes module, click on the printer icon or name. [In Windows XP you can also click Start, Settings, Printers and Faxes.]

2. Press <Delete> to delete the printer name (or icon).

3. Still in the Printers and Faxes dialog, click File, Server Properties, Drivers tab, and delete the printer driver. (This second step deletes the actual printer driver.)

4. Exit from the Control Panel, back to the Windows desktop.
5. Re-install the printer using the updated printer driver.

•  Does WordPerfect seem unable to "talk" to your printer? That is, when you try to print something, nothing happens or (worse) the program crashes?

The following is from the Corel article "How to re-establish the communication between WordPerfect and your printer" [Corel Knowledgebase article here and duplicated as a "How To" page here].

Some of it is included in the "Troubleshooting printing problems..." article above, but this method appears to be more comprehensive with respect to your installed printer drivers. [Ed.: Apparently, this method simply causes WordPerfect Office to create a new WordPerfect "print engine," but you may need to re-install some other printer drivers later if Windows does not automatically re-install them (see steps 13 1nd 20).]

"To re-establish the communications between the printer and WordPerfect:

Reset the PrintEngine:

1. Close all applications, including WordPerfect.
2. Click Start, Run. In the Open text box, type: Regedit and click OK.
3. This will bring you into the Windows Registry. Click File, Export (or Registry, Export).
4. In the text box, Save in: select Desktop or My Documents.
5. Towards the bottom where it says File Name, type in the word: Backup.
6. Below to the left, under Export Range, select All and click Save.
The cursor will change to an hour glass and will return to a pointed arrow.
7. Double click the folder HKey_Current_User to expand it.
8. Double click the folder Software to expand it.
9. Double click the folder Corel to expand it.
10. Right-click the folder PrintEngine and select Rename. Rename it to PrintEngine1.

11. Press the X at the top right corner to close the Windows registry. [Ed.: Apparently, this simply causes WordPerfect Office to create a new print engine.]

Delete the printer drivers:

12. Click Start, Printers & Faxes (or Start, Settings, Control Panel, Printers).
13. Select your printer drivers and delete them. (All of them).

Disable the items in the startup:

14. Click Start, Run.
15. In the box, type: MSCONFIG and press OK.
16. From the System Configuration Utility dialog, select the Startup tab.

17. From the Startup tab, click Disable All, click Apply, click OK.

Shut down and reboot the computer.

18. Shutdown your computer, wait 10 seconds and restart it. (This way your local printer will reinstall automatically).
19. Close the System Configuration Utility dialog and press the X at the top right corner to close the box.
20. Install your printer driver if Windows did not install your printer.

21. Start WordPerfect and test."


☼  If you have specific problems not listed on this page or anywhere on this website:

You can try posting a question on the Corel OfficeCommunity.com site, or visit WordPerfect Universe at www.wpuniverse.com.

Be sure to mention your windows version (XP, 7, etc.) AND your release number ("build") of WordPerfect as shown in Help, About WordPerfect menu (it's a 4-part number like

☼  See also the WordPerfect Universe FAQs,

"Troubleshooting Printing Problems."

"Install an Apple Laserwriter printer to troubleshoot," and

"Printing, faxing, emailing - avoiding reformatting problems"

The latter is a tip on WordPerfect Universe that recommends using ScanSoft's PaperPort as the default printer, whereupon you can drag a PP file to one of the printer icons on the PP desktop; this should prevent reformatting by the printer. [Before posting a message on either the Corel newsgroups or WordPerfect Universe, you should read "Help Tips," here to learn how to get the most from them.]

☼  See also:

Resources for troubleshooting printer issues in Windows XP and

Advanced troubleshooting for network printing problems in Windows XP.

☼  Some of the following items were gleaned from the internet with Google Groups, using "wordperfect" in the Search field, along with terms such as "~fax ~reformat" (the tilde in front of the word will cause a search for similar words such as "faxing," etc.).

Why some documents seem to "spontaneously" or automatically reformat themselves when they are opened, printed, faxed, or shared between users

Why are documents sent to the wrong paper tray (e.g., only to the default tray)?

•  Many of WordPerfect problems printing to the "wrong" paper tray are solved by creating or editing paper definitions that point to the proper paper tray. Here is a thread on WordPerfect Universe ("Overcome the WP10 Printer Bug that only allows printing to the Default Tray!") that offers solutions.

•  See this WordPerfect Universe thread, "WP 11 and the changing page setup problem," which explains how to use the Current Printer Only setting when creating new label definitions, especially on networked printers.

•  See "Print your letterhead page from one printer tray, and second and subsequent pages from another tray."

See "Merging multiple-page letters using letterhead paper for page 1 and plain paper for subsequent pages."

Miscellaneous printing problems

•  Does WordPerfect (version 10 or later) print multiple copies of the document or envelope? Perhaps you have un-ticked (disabled) the print option, "Reset number of copies each time," on the File, Print, Advanced tab. Check that box to force WordPerfect to change back to single copies.

•  Can't print selected text (in WP11 or later version)? Disable the "Auto generate" checkbox in Tools, Reference [on any of that dialog's tabs].

•  Cursor jumps. When saving a document, does the cursor move (jump) to the bottom of the screen in WP11 or later version? Same solution as above: Disable the "Auto generate" checkbox in Tools, Reference [on any of that dialog's tabs].
•  "Slow" printing time. Users sometimes notice that it can take several seconds for WordPerfect to start printing a document, which doesn't seem to happen with Microsoft Word.

From the Corel WP11 newsgroup (6/1/07, posted by Steve Shattuck):


"I've always wondered why, when I click to print a document, WP usually freezes for 3-7 seconds while it gets the printer going. Whereas MS Word does not freeze when you print. Is there a workaround?"


"Actually the answer is that WP makes no attempt to format the printer output until you actually print. Word keeps a printable image of your document formatted in the background. Basically just a difference in programming approach. There are strengths and weaknesses to each approach.

Additionally WordPerfect tries to emulate a Desktop Publishing program and as such places each and every letter on a page individually while Word places words, sometimes full pages in a single printer stream. You can validate this if you look at the size of a WordPerfect spool file vs. a Word spool file for the same document. The WordPerfect file is MUCH bigger, and thus takes more time to generate."
•  Getting errors when launching WordPerfect? [Answer ID 753726] WordPerfect "hanging" on you? See this Corel support database article (new number: 000003522): http://preview.tinyurl.com/3wut42u.

Footnote 1

Here a two methods to choose from that should be successful in removing printer drivers from a Windows 7 system. (Windows Vista should be similar.)

IMPORTANT: Always set a Windows Restore point -- or, better yet, make a full disk image of your boot drive -- before changing Windows settings.

Method 1

[From Windows 7 Inside and Out, pg. 644 (Microsoft Press, 2010)]

1. Go to Start> Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers.

2. Click on a printer name (or icon) in that dialog. On the dialog's toolbar, click on "Print server properties."

3. In the Print Server Properties dialog that appears, choose the Drivers tab. [The Forms tab controls the forms you assign to trays using the Device Settings tab in your printer's Properties dialog; you can also create or delete custom forms here.]

4. Select the printer driver to remove, and click Remove. A small dialog should appear with two choices: (1) Remove driver only and (2) Remove driver and driver package. (The "package" is the stored driver on your system that Windows can use to restore the driver. If you want to completely remove all trace of the existing driver so that you can install a brand new driver with somewhat greater assurance there will be no conflicts between old and new versions, select the second choice. Otherwise, select the first choice.)


1. If your print spooler has documents in it waiting to print, you will not be able to remove the printer driver. See Method 2 below, which produces a similar result (steps 1-4) to the above method, but also gives a method of emptying the print spooler.

2. Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions have a (somewhat hidden) tool that puts all print management tasks (printers, drivers, queues, and shares) in a single dialog. If you want to use it, enter (without quotes) "printmanagement.msc" in the Start search field. (The dialog has a Help menu.)

Method 2 (a bit more comprehensive than Method 1)

From a 6/7/2011 post here at answers.microsoft.com: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-hardware/i-want-to-removedelete-printerdriver-from-windows/6700d817-cfb7-4d94-904e-25bc8f435c7f

"OK, I have found the solution to this problem... the info above [in the original thread] is correct as far as it goes, but in my case there was (a) no option to clear the print queue on two 'ghost' printers because they were disconnected and unavailable, so no option for the print queue was displayed, and (b) one was shared on the network and had a TCP/IP printer port assigned to it.

Here's how I did it, step-by-step:

1. right-click on desktop, create a new shortcut with target as 'cmd.exe'.

2. right-click on the shortcut, "Run as Administrator"

3. Run the printui tool: [Type this command in the Start>Search field:] printui /s /t2

4. Try deleting the printers. [Ed.- These steps take you to the same dialog Method 1 above.]

If that doesn't work...

5. Click Start > Run > Services.msc

6. Locate the Print Spooler service, and right-click > Properties > stop service.

7. Open My Computer and browse to c:\Windows\System32\spool\Printers
(you will need to say "OK" to get access to the folder).

8. DELETE the contents of that folder.

9. Restart the Print Spooler service.

10. Go back into the printui utillity (might need to restart it using same method as above) and try removing printers again. This time it should work. If necessary, check the "Ports" tab and remove any TCP/IP ports that are associated with the old printer.

11. Last but not least, I checked other computers on my home network to see if any of those had mapped to the old printer, and I removed those mappings, as the date of spooled documents suggested it was printed to long after it was physically removed."