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This page provides methods for printing from WPDOS under 32-bit Windows XP and 32-bit Windows 7 only! If you have 64-bit Windows (as you almost certainly do if you bought you computer after around 2010), then use either the vDosWP method or the WP-64 method for running WPDOS, which automatically prints to your Windows printer.
This system does not work reliably under 32-bit Windows 8 or 10, although it can't hurt to try it under the 32-bit versions of those operating systems.
This page includes a link to a program that will automatically install and configure a printing system that lets you print from WPDOS to your default Windows printer, even if your printer is a “Windows-only” or “host-based” printer that normally cannot work with WPDOS. You do not need this system for printing if a WP printer driver exists for your printer - and such drivers exist for all PostScript printers, many HP LaserJet printers and HP-LaserJet-compatible printers, and some HP DeskJet and other HP inkjet printers. WP printer drivers may be found elsewhere on this site on separate pages for WPDOS 5.1 drivers and WPDOS 6.x drivers.
However, even if you do not need this system for printing, you may use it to create PDF files from WPDOS, and to preview WPDOS files under 32-bit Windows 7 , which otherwise blocks WPDOS from displaying graphics.
Technical note: This system uses a printer driver that outputs printer data to “PCL” printers such as HP LaserJet and compatible printers. The system uses software called GhostPCL that converts PCL data into a form that can be printed by any Windows printer. The same software also creates PDF files; a special feature creates temporary PDF files to use for print preview. An older version of this system (posted from 2006 to 2011) was based on PostScript instead of PCL. If you want to use a system similar to the older PostScript-based system, use the PostScript option built into this system. (The older system may still be downloaded here.)
Note: The system described on this page was posted 16 January 2012, and replaces an earlier and less-capable system. (A corrected version was posted on 9 December 2012.)
See a separate page for alternative methods of printing from WPDOS to any Windows printer.
This method works only with Windows XP and the 32-bit version of Windows 7 (and probably with Windows 2003 and 2008 Server, although I have not tested it with those versions of Windows). It seems not to work reliably with 32-bit Windows 8 or 32-bit Windows 10. Before you install this system, you must be able to print from Windows applications (such as your browser) to your default Windows printers, and your WordPerfect for DOS program must function normally.
One limitation of this, like all other any-printer methods, is that it does not let you select different paper trays for different pages in your print jobs. All pages will be printed from the default input tray (which is defined by the Windows driver for your printer). You may be able to work around this problem by running a separate print job for the pages that you want to print on special paper (for example, on an envelope) and feeding the special paper into your printer by hand. Another limitation is that duplex printing requires that you set up your Windows printer to print duplex; you cannot control duplexing printing from within WordPerfect.
If you have Windows XP or 32-bit Windows 7 (or possibly Windows 2000 or Vista), and if and only if you have either WordPerfect for DOS 5.1 or 5.1+ or WordPerfect for DOS 6.0c, 6.1, or 6.2, you can run a program that will automatically install all the software and settings that you may need for printing to any Windows printer. Note that this method may not work with versions of WordPerfect 5.1 dated earlier than 29 June 1990 (to find the date of your version, press F3 and note the date in the upper-right corner of the help screen). Also note that this method may not work with WPDOS 6.0, 6.0a, or 6.0b.
Note: The installation program will run under Windows Vista, but the printing method may or may not work, for reasons that I do not entirely understand. When installing under Vista (and possibly Windows 7), it is absolutely essential that User Access Control be turned on. (If you do not understand the preceding sentence, then User Access Control is almost certainly running on your system, and you do not have to worry about it.)
This automated installation may not work if your copy of WordPerfect for DOS is stored on a remote network server instead of on your own computer. It will do no harm to try the procedure, however. If it works, then use it. If it does not, then return to this site's list of methods for printing to any Windows printer, and choose a different method.
If you have an earlier version of Windows or a very early version of WordPerfect 5.1, use this site's standard, guaranteed-to-work method instead.
To use this method, download the installation program PCLAnyPrinterMethod.exe; save it to any convenient location (for example, your Windows desktop), and run the program. Read and follow the prompts very carefully! If for any reason the program does not seem to work perfectly the first time you run it, simply run it a second time.
Before you run this installation program, if you do not already have Tame installed on your computer, please consider installing it. Tame costs US$20 after a thirty-day trial period, and is essential for running WPDOS at top speed on modern computers. It is not required for this program, but is highly recommended.
Also, before you run this installation program, be absolutely certainly that you can print from a Windows application (for example, your web browser) to your default Windows printer. To test whether you can print from a Windows application, click on this page, type Ctrl-P, make sure that your default Windows printer appears as the target printer, and press Enter. If this page does not print correctly, then install drivers for your printer and continue to test it until your printer is correctly set up and working.
You must be using an “administrative” Windows login account to run this program.
Warning: If and only if you use WPDOS 5.1, and if and only if you have manually modified the font settings used by the optional top-line menu, you may need to make a temporary change to your WPDOS settings before running this installation program. Use Shift-F1, 2, 4, and look at options 1, 5, and 6; if any of these say “Normal”, then change every “Normal” setting to any other available setting before you run the installation program; then, after the installation program is finished, you may change these settings back to “Normal” again.
The installation program will do the following:
If the program fails at any point, simply run it again (if you are using WPDOS 5.1 and the installer reports that the “Printer file location cannot be determined”, see the Warning above). If the installer continues to fail, please send me feedback with the most detailed possible explanation of exactly what went wrong, and at exactly which point in the installation, and exactly what error message appeared, if any. Please specify the name of your printer and the way it is connected to your computer (USB cable, network, etc.).
You can run this program as many times as you choose without doing any harm to your system.
The installer sets up the PCL AnyPrinter Driver (wpdos.org) as your default printer in WPDOS. To print, simply print as you normally do from WPDOS. After a few seconds, your document should print to your default Windows printer.
To preview WP files, run the PREVIEW macro. After a few seconds a temporary PDF file will open in your default PDF viewer. You may print the PDF file from your PDF viewer, or simply close the viewer. You may use Save As... in the your PDF viewer if you want to save the PDF to your desktop or anywhere else on your disk. Otherwise, the temporary PDF will be deleted the next time you use the macro. (For technical reasons, the temporary PDF file has an arbitrary name in the form @@123456.PDF and is saved in the Windows\TEMP directory.) These are the options for the WPDOS 5.1 and 6.x versions of the macro:
The PREVIEW macro under WPDOS 5.1 has these options:
The PREVIEW macro under WPDOS 6.x has these options:
To create a PDF file from WPDOS, use the PDFPRINT macro. The PDF file will be created in the same folder as the original document; the macro will prompt to you accept the default name or devise another one. The macro includes multiple options that can be set by editing the macro file (press Ctrl-F10 to edit the macro). These are the options for the WPDOS 5.1 and 6.x versions of the macro.
The PDFPRINT macro under WPDOS 5.1 has these two options:
The PDFPRINT macro under WPDOS 6.x has these options:
Instructions for creating the ViewPDF.bat file for WPDOS 6.x.. This file should contain two lines, something like this but with the actual path to your PDF viewer in the second line (you may need to experiment with the quotation marks):
start "C:\Program Files\PathTo\YourOtherViewer.exe" %1
The printer drivers used by this system are essentially the same as this site's drivers for recent HP LaserJet models. They support the eighty fonts built into recent LaserJets, and support color. You may install LaserJet PCL downloadable soft fonts for use in these drivers and they will print correctly (although, when used to create PDF files, downloadable PCL soft fonts will show jagged edges when the PDF is viewed at high magnification.)
Two drivers are installed; if you make a change in one, also make changes in the other. The two are “PCLAnyPrinter Driver (wpdos.org)” and “PCLtoPDF Printer Driver (wpdos.org).”
Go to the Control Panel, find Programs and Features (or Add/Remove Programs), click on WPDOS PCL AnyPrinter Method. The uninstaller will remove the Directory Monitor software, the printing and PDF creation software in C:\Program Files\WPDOS.org, the temporary directory for print files, the WPDOS printer drivers and macros. It will also briefly open WPDOS and remove the system's printer drivers from the list in the WPDOS Print menu.
The uninstaller does not remove the Windows registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\WPDOS.org, but that key does no harm to your system and may be useful in the future. You should not interfere with the Windows registry unless you have experience doing so, as a damaged registry can prevent a Windows system from running.
You may use this system under Windows XP or 32-bit Windows 7 (but apparently not with later versions) with any application program that sends PCL output to a printer. Run the installer, but (of course) cancel the installation at the point where it offers to install WPDOS printer drivers. In your application program, set your PCL printer driver to "print to a file", and specify the file as C:\TEMPWP\WPDOS.PCL (replacing C: with the actual drive of your Windows system if necessary).
The following notes describe in detail all the changes that the installation program makes on your system. Each step is numbered in sequence.
(1) These two registry keys are read and compared to determine the current user's default printer and system default printer:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows", "Device"
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows", "Device"
If the first is a network printer (tested by looking for “\” in the string), then a message warns that the advanced configuration is required. If the two keys do not match, then the system default printer is set to be the same as the current user's default printer (after an explanatory message appears and the user is given a chance to cancel).
(2) A WinPCLtoPDF.exe program is written to C:\Program Files\WPDOS.org; this program contains a special version of the GhostPCL software and a copy of the open-source Sumatra PDF viewer (used for printing).
(3) If this WPDOS printing system has been installed earlier, the temporary printfile directory used by the system is located by reading the registry, and the user is asked whether to continue to use the same directory. If this WPDOS printing system has not been installed earlier, a temporary printfile directory name is suggested to the user; the chosen directory is then created; and its path is stored in the registry under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\WPDOS.org.
(4) If the Directory Monitor service by Chuck Hicks (“Chicks”) is not installed, the required files are installed into the \Program Files\DirMonitor directory. (The original software may be found as DirMonitor.zip at Chicks PDF Tools.) The installed files include a program that launches GhostPCL when a WPDOS.PCL print file is written (by WPDOS) to the temporary file directory specified in step (3).
(5) The DirMonitor.exe -install program is run in order to install the Directory Monitor service into Windows' list of services.
(6) The Directory Monitor service is set to startup automatically with Windows (this change can be seen by running Services.msc and examining the entry for the Directory Monitor service).
(7) If the user chooses the advanced installation, then the current user is given the Windows privilege that allows the user to “log in as a service” (this change can be seen under Windows 2000, XP Pro, and some Vista versions by running Secpol.msc and examining the entry at Local Policies, User Rights Assignment, Log on as a service).
(8) The command net start sDirMon is run in order to start the Directory Monitor service. The Directory Monitor service now monitors the temporary printfile directory for new files; any new file named WPDOS.PCL will be printed by GhostPCL and then deleted.
(9) The installer now installs and configures printer drivers in WPDOS 5.1 or 6.x or both, using similar procedures for each. In each case, if this WPDOS printing system has been installed earlier, the installer queries the registry for the location of WPDOS. If the location is not found in the registry, the installer looks for WPDOS in standard locations; if it does not find it, it asks the user for the location of WPDOS. Using macros (and for WPDOS 5.1, software by David Seidman) to control the next stages, the program copies GhostPCL printer drivers into the WPDOS printer file directory, and runs WPDOS to configure the printer drivers; the directory specified in step (3) is set as the location of the driver's output. The location of WPDOS is then written to the registry in the same key listed in item (3) so that the installer can find it easily if the installer is run again.
The installer includes an option to install a printing system that uses PostScript fonts and software instead of the PCL-based default system. This alternate system uses the PostScript emulator Ghostscript. This option works in a similar way to the older version of this system. This option supports only 35 built-in fonts, unlike the 80 supported by the default PCL-based option, and prints more slowly than the default option.
To install the PostScript option, change the name of the installation program so that it includes the word “PostScript”. The installer will install a reduced version of Ghostscript instead of the WinPCLtoPDF.exe software, two different printer drivers, and two alternate preview and PDF-printing macros.
The PCL system and the PostScript-based option can coexist. You may install one and then the other.
The PostScript-based option includes similar macros to those in the PCL system, named PREVUEPS and PSTOPDF. These include options similar to those in the PREVIEW and PDFPRINT macros used by the default system.
This option uses this site's Ghostscript printer drivers for WPDOS; the drivers are slightly modified from standard WordPerfect PostScript drivers, and you can use a standard WordPerfect PostScript driver if you prefer. (I suggest that you do not use HP LaserJet PostScript drivers with Ghostscript, as some special HP printer codes may interfere with smooth operations.) See the section below for information on installing soft fonts for use with these drivers.
Installing Type 1 soft fonts for use with the PostScript option
If you install Type 1 soft fonts for use this system, install the fonts in both printer drivers used by this system, “PS AnyPrinter Driver (wpdos.org)” and “PStoPDF Printer Driver (wpdos.org)”.
WordPerfect for DOS 6.x: With WPDOS 6.x, you can use any soft font in any of the formats supported by the program. For the best output quality and print speed when printing to Ghostscript or PostScript, use PostScript Type 1 soft fonts wherever possible. You can install any Type 1 (PostScript) soft font as a “soft font” for PostScript printers using the built-in WPDOS 6.x font installer. With Ghostscript and with any other PostScript printer, a Type 1 soft font that is installed as a “soft font” will produce faster and more reliable output than the same font installed as a “graphic.” “Soft fonts” are rasterized (converted to a bitmap) by the printer (in this case, Ghostscript), while “Graphic fonts” are rasterized by WPDOS.
Note that if you intend to convert PostScript output files to PDF format, you should always install Type 1 fonts as “soft fonts”; if you install the fonts as “graphic” fonts, any text that prints in that font will look rough-edged, and you will not be able to search or copy any text printed in that font. However, if you want an accurate representation of your fonts in WPDOS 6.x's graphic view, page view, or print preview mode, you should install each Type 1 font as both a “soft font” and as “graphics.” WordPerfect will use the font as a soft font when printing but as a graphic when displaying text on screen.
Technical note: The “soft font” remains on your computer's hard disk until you print; the “graphics” version is stored in the WP.DRS file that WP uses to display its graphics and print preview modes.
If you want to convert TrueType fonts to Type 1 fonts, use the ttf2pt1.exe utility described on this site's separate page on installing Type 1 fonts in WPDOS 5.x PostScript drivers.
For euro-enabled Type 1 soft fonts, see this site's euro page.
WordPerfect for DOS 5.1: You can install any of hundreds of Adobe Type 1 (PostScript) soft fonts for use with these drivers by using the soft font definitions in the WPDOS 5.1 PostScript (Additional) drivers, which may be downloaded from Corel's page for WPDOS 5.1 printer drivers; search for “PostScript (Additional)” and “PostScript (Additional 2)” through “PostScript (Additional 4).” If you have any other Type 1 fonts, or if you want to convert TrueType fonts into Type 1 fonts for use with this method, see this site's separate page on installing Type 1 fonts in WPDOS 5.x PostScript drivers.
For euro-enabled soft Type 1 soft fonts, see this site's euro page.
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