How to automate the process of selecting the printer for a report in Microsoft Access


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Novice: Requires knowledge of the user interface on single-user computers.

This article applies to a Microsoft Access database (.mdb) file or to a Microsoft Access database (.accdb) file.


If you want to print a report to a particular printer, you can manually select the printer and all of the print options, or you can automate the process so that with a click of a button, you can switch printers and then print your report with the options that you predefine. This article explains how to automate the process of printer selection.

More information

This procedure uses two examples: printing to a laser printer and printing to a dot-matrix printer. You can substitute the particular printers that you want to use. To automate the process of printer selection for a particular report, follow these steps:

  1. Create the following three reports:

    • rptLaserPrinter
    • rptDotMatrix
    • rptMyReport
      NOTE rptMyReport represents the actual report that you want to print.
  2. To set the printer options, follow these steps:

    1. Open rptLaserPrinter in Design view.

    2. On the File menu, click Print.

      Note In Access 2007 or a later version, click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click Print.

  3. In the Print dialog box, click the laser printer that you want to use in the Name box, and then click OK.

  4. Click Properties, set any print options that you want, such as the orientation and paper size, and then click OK.

  5. Repeat steps a through d for rptDotMatrix. Click the dot-matrix printer in step c.

  6. In the Database window, click Modules, click New, and then type the following function:

    Note In Access 2007 or a later version, click Module in the Other group on the Create tab.

Function ChangePrinter(rptToChange As String, rptPrinter As String)

Dim rpt1 As Report, rpt2 As Report

DoCmd.OpenReport rptToChange, acViewDesign
   DoCmd.OpenReport rptPrinter, acViewDesign

Set rpt1 = Reports(rptToChange)
   Set rpt2 = Reports(rptPrinter)

rpt1.PrtDevNames = rpt2.PrtDevNames

DoCmd.Close acReport, rptPrinter, acSaveNo
   DoCmd.OpenReport rptToChange, acViewPreview
End Function

NOTE The ChangePrinter function copies the PrtDevNames property from one report to another. You can then copy the print options that you set for the rptLaserPrinter and rptDotMatrix reports to a specific report that you want to print.

NOTE The "acSaveNo" property is used in the "DoCmd.Close acReport, rptPrinter, acSaveNo" line of the code that is shown earlier in this section. If you do not use this option and you save the PrtDevName of a nondefault printer to the report design, the report will not be able to find the printer when it runs the next time. You will receive the following error message:

This document was previously formatted for the printer <PrinterName> on <Port>; but that printer isn't available. Do you want to use the default printer <DefaultPrinterName> on <Port>?   
  1. Save the module as Module1, and then exit the Visual Basic Editor.

  2. Create the following form:

    Form: frmForm1
    RecordSource: Unbound
    Control Type: Command Button
    Name: cmdLaser
    Caption: Laser
    Control Type: Command Button
    Name: cmdDotMatrix
    Caption: Dot Matrix
  3. On the View menu, click Code.

    Note In Access 2007 and later, click View Code in the Tools group on the Design tab.

  4. In the Visual Basic Editor, type the following procedures:

Private Sub cmdLaser_Click ()

Call ChangePrinter("rptMyReport", "rptLaserPrinter")

End Sub

Private Sub cmdDotMatrix_Click ()

Call ChangePrinter("rptMyReport", "rptDotMatrix")

End Sub

  1. Exit the Visual Basic Editor, and then change the On Click property of both command buttons to [Event Procedure]. To do so, follow these steps:

    1. In Design view, click the command button, and then click Properties on the View menu.

      Note In Access 2007 or a later version, click the command button in the design view, and then click Property Sheet in the Tools group on the Design tab.

    2. Click the Event tab, click the On Click property, click the down arrow, and then click [Event Procedure].

  2. To print rptMyReport to a specific printer, open frmForm1in Form view, and then click the appropriate button.


For more information about how to control your printer from Microsoft Access, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

PrtDevMode Property