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Print from WPDOS to Any Windows Printer: Choose a Method


What these methods do | Do you need these methods?Choose a method | Home page


What these methods do

This page provides methods for printing from WPDOS under 32-bit Windows 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.

Please read this page carefully before you install any of the methods described below. If you need to use one of these methods because your new printer is a Windows-only printer, and not a PCL5 or PostScript printer that can print directly from WordPerfect, I strongly recommend that you buy a different printer, because you will get much better results than you will if you insist on using the methods described below. (I warned you here and here not to buy that Windows-only printer, but perhaps you weren't paying attention, or you were checking your e-mail, or you thought you had better things to do instead.)

The methods described on this page will allow you to print from WordPerfect for DOS to any printer that can be used under Windows, even if no WordPerfect driver is available, and even if the printer is connected to a USB port that WPDOS cannot recognize, or if the printer is connected wirelessly, or if the printer is a remote printer connected to another computer on a network. These methods also enhance the font support of almost any printer for which WP provides only limited support.

These methods are designed for "Windows-only" printers (sometimes called "GDI printers") that cannot otherwise print from DOS applications such as WordPerfect. These methods are slower and more complex than printing directly from WordPerfect through a parallel cable. They are also slower and more complex than the methods found elsewhere on this site for printing to USB printers and networked printers.

You do not need these methods if a WordPerfect for DOS printer driver exists for your printer, even if your printer is connected by a USB port, by a wireless connection or network, or by any other kind of connection! Be sure to read the section below that will help you answer the question, "Do you need these methods?" You only need this method if your printer is a "Windows-only" or "GDI" or "host-based" printer and you can find no drivers for it on the printer-driver pages on this site.

Setup for each of these methods requires (at most) ten minutes, and you need only set up the procedure once. After you complete the setup, the method that you choose is entirely automatic and needs no intervention from the user. 

A side benefit of these methods is that WordPerfect can treat a low-cost inkjet printer as if it were a high-powered color PostScript printer. Also, the standard 35 PostScript fonts act as if they were your printer's built-in fonts, even if the printer's native WPDOS driver supports only Courier or other typewriter-style fonts. For more details on using a PostScript-type printer with WPDOS, see the notes on Ghostscript drivers elsewhere on this site.

One limitation of all these methods is that they do 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 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.

Warning: These methods may not work if your printer is a network printer on a Microsoft Windows network "domain"; home and small-office networks typically do not use a "domain," so home and small-office users will not be affected by this limitation. Users in large corporations or universities may, however, use printers that are on a Microsoft Windows network "domain," and these methods may not work in such situations. I cannot predict whether or not they will work in your particular network.

Note: One benefit of these methods is that they makes it possible for WPDOS 5.1 to print color graphics on non-PostScript printers. Normally, WPDOS 5.1 prints in color only with color PostScript printers, not with standard inkjets. With these methods, however, color graphics can be printed on any color printer.

Frequently-asked question:

Q. Why should I go to all this trouble, when I can print easily from WordPerfect by using shareware one of the programs named DOSPRN or PRINTFIL or DOS2USB?
   A. Those and similar programs allow you to print in only one font, in only one size, without underlining, bold, italic, or any other formatting of any kind. If that's enough for you, go ahead and use one of those programs. It's certainly not enough for me.


Do you need these methods?

Important note: Even if your printer is connected to your computer by a USB cable or wirelessly or on a network, you may be able to print from WPDOS without using this method. Please read the following paragraphs carefully.

Summary: You almost certainly do need these methods if your printer is an inkjet printer made by Epson, Canon, Lexmark, Dell, or almost any other manufacturer (higher-priced HP inkjets do not need these methods, but may benefit from them). You probably do need these methods if your printer is an inexensive laser printer (one that costs typically US$250 or less).

You probably do not need these methods if your printer fits into any of these categories: PostScript printers (most but not all high-priced color laser printers are PostScript printers); HP LaserJet printers (with a few exceptions); HP DeskJet, HP OfficeJet, HP PhotoSmart, HP Business InkJet, or HP Color InkJet printers (with very few exceptions); many but not all HP-compatible laser printers from Lexmark, Brother, Canon, Samsung, and other manufacturers.

(a) If WPDOS has a full-featured driver for your printer (either supplied with WP itself, or downloadable from Corel's page for WPDOS 5.1 printer drivers or its page for WPDOS 6.x printer drivers, or from the drivers available elsewhere on this site), and your printer is connected to your computer by a parallel or serial cable, or across a network, you do not need the methods described on this page. If, for example, you have almost any HP LaserJet or DeskJet printer connected by a parallel cable, you do not need these methods. If you have a laser printer, look in its specifications for a listing of "languages" or "emulations"; you do not need these methods if your printer's language or emulation includes any version of PostScript (for these printers, use a WPDOS PostScript driver) or PCL4 (use the WPDOS LaserJet Series III driver), or  PCL5 or PCL6 (use one of the HP LaserJet drivers found elsewhere on this site). If WPDOS has a full-featured driver for your printer, and your printer is connected across a network, print by using the methods described on this site's network page

(b) If your printer is connected to your computer by a USB cable or wirelessly, so you cannot print to it directly from WPDOS, but a full-featured WPDOS driver does exist that would work with your printer if it were connected by a parallel or serial cable (a driver either supplied with WP itself, or downloadable from Corel's page for WPDOS 5.1 printer drivers or its page for WPDOS 6.x printer drivers, or downloadable among the drivers available elsewhere on this site), again, you do not need the methods described on this page. Instead, use the driver available for your printer, and see this site's note on printing to USB printers, which describes a method that works with printers connected via a USB cable or a wireless network. (If your printer is an HP inkjet model, there is a very good chance that it falls into this category, unless it happens to be a Windows-only printer, in which case you need one of these methods.

(c) If your printer does not work with any WPDOS printer driver, or if the only available WPDOS printer drivers allow you to use only a limited number of fonts, and your printer works well with standard Windows applications, then you should use the methods described on this page. You may also want to use these methods if you are using WPDOS 5.1 and you want to be able to use PostScript fonts with a non-PostScript printer, or if you have a non-PostScript printer but want to print color graphics from WPDOS 5.1. (WPDOS 6.x can use PostScript fonts with any printer, without additional software, and prints in color to non-PostScript and PostScript printers.)

If you are trying to "print" to a fax program that appears in Windows' list of printer drivers, use this site's method of faxing to Windows fax programs from WPDOS.


Choose a method

Before you begin: You must be able to print from Windows applications to your printer. If you have not tested your printer, press Ctrl-P now and print from this page to your printer. If nothing prints, then stop and install the software that came with your printer. When your printer works with Windows applications, return to this page.

These are the various methods available from this site for printing from WPDOS to any Windows printer, together with notes on their advantages and disadvantages. The names refer to the separate programs involved in using the method.

Recommended method:

Automated-installation Ghostscript and Directory Monitor method. Works only with Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7 (and probably with Windows Server 2003). Fully-automated installation procedure sets up WordPerfect, Ghostscript, and a Directory Monitor program for fully-transparent, effortless, but somewhat slow printing from WPDOS to any Windows printer.

Less-strongly recommended methods (because they require careful setup):

Macro-based Ghostscript method for WPDOS 6.x and Macro-based Ghostscript method for WPDOS 5.1 (both by Robert Holmgren). Fast method that requires the use of macros when printing. Quite complicated and time-consuming to set up. Should work under all Windows versions, starting with Windows 95, and including Windows Vista and Windows 7. Also permits high-resolution viewing of printer output before printing. 

Standard Ghostscript and PrintFile method. Works under all Windows versions (starting with Windows 95). Setup is somewhat complex. Printing is entirely transparent; you do not need to switch away from WordPerfect to the Windows desktop. Printing is reasonably fast under Windows 95, 98, and Me; somewhat slower under NT, 2000, XP; I have not tested it with Vista or Windows 7, but it should probably work. Allows for slightly faster operation with some printers.

Less convenient (or more expensive) methods:

Alternate Ghostscript, PrintFile, and GSView method. Also works under all Windows versions (starting with Windows 95, but not tested with Vista or Windows 7); may be somewhat slower than the Standard method described immediately above; may switch to the Windows desktop from WordPerfect.

RoPS and PrintFile method. Fast and simple method that works under all Windows versions (starting with Windows 95; will probably work with Vista or Windows 7, although I have not tested it with those versions); requires a smaller download than the Standard method; color output quality may be worse than in other methods.

Jaws PDF Creator and PrintFile method. Fast, high-quality method that uses the commercial (non-free) Jaws PDF Creator, PrintFile, and the free Adobe Reader under all Windows versions (starting with Windows 95; will probably work with Vista or Windows 7, although I have not tested it with those versions). Simpler font management than all other methods. Setup is slightly complicated.


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