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WordPerfect for DOS: Printing from Windows

About this page | Fix printing problems | Nonworking parallel port | Print to USB or wireless printers | Print to any printer | Use Windows fonts in WPDOS 6.x | Send faxes from WPDOS built-in fax software | Help! My computer has no parallel port (or I need an additional parallel port) | Fax to Windows fax software | Create PDF files for Adobe Acrobat | Network printing | Home page

About this page

This page provides methods for printing from WPDOS under 32-bit Windows only, and only through a printer connected via a parallel port! 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 DOSBoxWP method for running WPDOS, which automatically prints to your Windows printer.

If you are trying to print from WPDOS under 32-bit Windows to a USB-connected or network-connected printer see another page.

This page contains information on printing and faxing from WPDOS under Windows. Other information on running WPDOS under Windows may be found on this site's Windows page.  To print from WPDOS to USB, wireless, and other networked printers under Windows, see the separate page on USB printing.

Important warning! Read this now! Before attempting to fix any problems in printing from WPDOS to your Windows printer, be absolutely certain that you can print from Windows applications to your printer. If you are not absolutely certain that you can print from Windows applications, press Ctrl-P now and print this page. If it does not print correctly, install the Windows software for your printer; then make absolutely certain that you can print from Windows applications; and test whether you can now print correctly from WPDOS. If your WPDOS printing problems persist, return to this page.

Don't be clueless! The advice on this page applies to WordPerfect for DOS only! Do not use the advice on this page to solve problems with WordPerfect for Windows (which is what Clueless Visitor No. 26 tried to do)! You will only make the problems worse! (One of a series of Don't be clueless! warnings, presented by this site as a public service.)

Fix crashes, long delays, extra pages, nonsense characters, and other printing problems

If you experience lockups, crashes, or long delays or when printing from WPDOS under Windows, or if WPDOS documents print with an extra first and last page containing a line or two of nonsense characters or nothing at all, or if bits of text are missing from your printouts, these problems may all be the result of bugs in the printing system of older versions of Windows (including XP). They are easy to fix by using one or more of the solutions listed below, starting with the first:

(1) If printing does not start until you close WPDOS: Go to the Windows Start menu; from there, depending on your system, choose either Settings/Printers, or Settings/Printers and Faxes, or choose Control Panel and find the Printers or Printers and Faxes menu. Find your default printer on the list (it will have a small check mark on its icon). Right-click on its name. (Wait! What exactly does "right-click" mean?)  Choose Properties. Go to the Advanced tab. Under "Spool print documents ..." select the option "Start printing immediately." Press OK and close the list of printers. If this does not help, return to the same Advanced tab, and select "Print directly to the printer."

(2) If you have made the change specified in item (1), and Windows continues to display an error message or dialog box when you try to print from WPDOS, your system may have a conflict with HP's Toolbox utility. Press Ctrl-Alt-Del, choose Task Manager, and look for Hppropty on the list of running programs; if it is present, choose End Task to shut down the Toolbox. If this change allows to print without errors from WPDOS, you should disable the Toolbox permanently by deleting or renaming HPPROPTY.EXE in the C:\Windows\System folder (or use Start/Find or Start/Search to find HPPROPTY.EXE if it is in a different folder).

(3) In WPDOS 6.x, the Print/Fax menu includes, under Output Options, an option to "Print Job Graphically." If the box next to this option has a checkmark, remove the checkmark.

(4) In order to print from WPDOS under Windows, you must not turn on WordPerfect's "Print to Hardware Port" option. (Of course is it perfectly all right to print to the ports LPT1, etc; but you must not turn on the additional option labeled "Print to Hardware Port.") To make sure that you do not have this option turned on, follow these steps: in WPDOS 5.1, under Shift-F7/Select Printer/Edit, set the Print to Hardware Port option to No (note that this option does not exist in the earliest versions of WPDOS 5.1, so if you do not see it, you do not need to worry about it); in WPDOS 6.x, under Shift-F7/Select/Edit/Port, make sure there is no checkmark next to Print to Hardware Port. Windows does not allow programs direct access to printer or communication ports, and block any attempt to print to the port, so you must turn off this option if you want to print from WPDOS.

(5) If your computer has its parallel port on an add-in card (and not on the motherboard of the computer), the port may be configured as LPT2 or LPT3 instead of LPT1. WordPerfect defaults to printing to LPT1, and you should be able to change the settings for your card so that the port takes the address LPT1 (see the instructions here). But if you don't want to change the settings for the card, change the port used by WordPerfect. Use Shift-F7/Select/Edit/Port, and try LPT2 or LPT3 instead of LPT1.

(6) If you have a printer connected to your computer through a parallel cable, and you can print from Windows applications, but not from DOS applications, you may need to change a setting in the Windows control panel. Use the Start Menu, then (depending on your system) either Settings/Control Panel or Control Panel; if you do not see System on the list, use the option in the upper left of the window to switch to Classic View. Open the System control panel, go to the Hardware tab, click on Device Manager, and find Ports on the list; click on the plus sign next to the word "Ports" to expand the list; double-click on "ECP printer port (LPT1)", go to the Port Settings tab, and, if there is no checkmark in the box next to "Enable legacy plug and play," add a checkmark and click OK. Then close the Device Manager and the System control panel. (Information provided by Len Weber.)

(7) In WPDOS, use Shift-F7, then Initialize Printer. This command should help to clear your printer's memory of any commands left over from Windows print jobs that may be getting in the way of your WPDOS print jobs.

(8) If WPDOS seems to stop printing old documents for no apparent reason, try this solution, which has worked in at least one instance: with WPDOS 5.1, go to Shift-F1/Initial Settings, and, under "Format Retrieved Documents for Default Printer," change Yes to No; with WPDOS 6.x, go to Shift-F1/Environment, and remove the checkmark next to "Format Document for Default Printer on Open."

(9) If no error message appears in Windows, but WPDOS does not print (and displays an error message saying that the printer is not accepting characters), then you may need to disable the HP LaserJet Director utility installed with the Windows drivers for the HP LaserJet 1200, 1220, 3200, and 3300 series. See this page on HP's web site with instructions for disabling the utility.

Fix a non-working parallel port on a new Windows system

If your new Windows computer has a parallel port, and you have connected a parallel cable and printer that are known to work correctly, but your new computer does not allow you to print, then go to the Control Panel, then System, then open the Device Manager tab. Scroll down to Ports; click on the plus sign icon next to Ports; right-click on the entry that says "Parallel Port", go to the Port Settings tab, and add a checkmark next to Enable Legacy Plug and Play Detection; make sure that the port number is listed as LPT1. Restart your computer. (Wait! What exactly does "right-click" mean?) You may now be able to print.

If this change does not help, then some other problem may be preventing your computer from printing, and I do not know what that problem might be.

Print to USB or wireless printers

This information has now been moved to a separate page on printing from WPDOS to USB, wireless, and other networked printers.

Print to any printer supported by Windows

If no WPDOS driver exists for your printer, or if the only available drivers support only a limited number of fonts, or fail to print complete pages, try the various methods (described on a separate page) that allow you to print to any printer supported by Windows.

Use Windows fonts in WordPerfect 6.x for DOS

WordPerfect 6.x can use the same TrueType fonts used by your Windows system, including the OpenType fonts (with a .TTF file extension) that are included with Windows XP. With many TrueType fonts, especially the Microsoft fonts that ship with Windows 98 and all later versions, WordPerfect can use hundreds of characters, including full Cyrillic, Greek, and Eastern European alphabets. (If you want to use the euro symbol included in most recent Windows fonts, see the instructions elsewhere on this site for using the euro symbol in TrueType fonts.)

Before installing Windows fonts in WPDOS, I strongly recommend that you create a special directory (perhaps named C:\TT) and use it to store the fonts that you want to install in WP. You may already have a storage directory for TrueType fonts; if so continue to use it. Unless you are severely limited in disk space, do not install fonts into WPDOS directly from the Windows font directory (probably named C:\Windows\Fonts or C:\WinNT\Fonts); instead, copy fonts from the Windows font directory into your special storage directory, and install them in WPDOS from there.

Run WPDOS 6.x, choose Ctrl-F8/Shift-F1, then Install Fonts. The WordPerfect Font Installer (WPFI) will open. Choose TrueType from the list of font formats.

At this point, one of two things will happen, either (1) or (2):

(1) If you have not previously installed TrueType fonts into WPDOS, the Location of Files dialog will appear. Choose TTF Files and enter the full path of your special TrueType directory or, if you decided not to create this special directory, enter the full path of Windows font directory. (Help! What does a "full path" mean?) Select and install the fonts of your choice. (If you installed fonts directly from the Windows font directory, instead of from a special storage directory, there is a small chance that you may need to exit and restart WPDOS, or perhaps even Windows, before the fonts will be usable.

(2) If you have previously installed TrueType fonts in WP (probably from your existing TrueType font directory), a list of those fonts will appear; press Home,* to clear all the selections. Under Directories for Files, enter the name of the Windows font directory. Select and install the fonts you want to use in WP. WP will prompt you to choose between copying the font files to the existing font directory used by WP or leave the fonts where they are. Choose the option to copy the files to the existing WP font directory; if you do not, the files in the Windows font directory may be changed by another program, but WP will assume that the earlier versions are still installed and errors may occur.

If, for any reason, when you choose Ctrl-F8/Shift-F1, the Install Fonts option is grayed out and unavailable, you can open a DOS prompt (Help! How do I open a DOS prompt?), go to the directory containing WPDOS printer files, run WPFI.EXE, and install the fonts in the same manner described above. In WP itself, check the expected location of  TrueType font files in Shift-F1/Location of Files/Graphic Font Data Files. The Install Fonts option will be unavailable if you launch WordPerfect with the /DL option, which disables WP's program launcher. 

Warning: WPDOS may become unstable if too many graphics fonts are installed. Add no more than four TrueType fonts at a time, and test the results before adding any more. WP stores graphics font information in the WP.DRS file, typically in the C:\WPC62DOS directory. Before adding new fonts to WP, make a backup of this file so that you can restore it in case of emergency.

Send faxes from WPDOS's built-in fax software (mostly obsolete instructions)

It is extremely unlikely that these ancient instructions will have any effect on modern Windows computers!

WordPerfect 5.1+ and 6.x for DOS are designed to send faxes directly from within the WordPerfect program. Although this feature was designed to work under pure DOS, it can also be used under Windows in some but not all systems. To use the built-in WPDOS fax software Windows,  WPDOS must be able to detect your modem and you will need to create a batch file that launches WPDOS with its fax features enabled.

If, however, you are unable to fax from WPDOS using the built-in WPDOS fax software, you can use this site's alternative method of printing from WPDOS to Windows fax software, which works under any Window system, and may produce better results than WPDOS's own fax software.

Important note: The scheduling feature in WPDOS's built-in fax software (which schedules faxes to be sent at a later time) stopped working at the start of the year 2000. All faxes are now sent immediately, no matter what date and time is specified in the scheduler.

The steps required to use WPDOS's built-in fax software under Windows are as follows:

(1) Let WPDOS recognize your modem

Note: Depending on your hardware configuration, it may or may not be possible to make WPDOS detect your modem under Windows XP, or later versions. These methods probably will not work at all on modern computers.

The fax software supplied with WPDOS 5.1+ and 6.x can only detect modems that use the COM ports available on older computers (COM1 through COM4) and that use only the standard hardware settings for those ports. To test whether your modem uses a standard setting, open a DOS window, use the CD command to move to your WPDOS directory, enter the command setup to open the "WordPerfect CAS Setup Utility," press Enter, choose 2 (Hardware Driver Setup), and press F4 to let the setup utility automatically detect your modem settings.

If the utility successfully detects your modem, proceed through the rest of the setup menus, press F10 to save your settings, and proceed to step (2).

With a very few, mostly older modems, highly expert users may be able to force Windows to assign the standard settings to the modem by using Control Panel/System/Device Manager or your computer's BIOS settings. Only attempt this if you absolutely know what you are doing and have extensive experience with modem setups.  

Technical note: If you decide to attempt to set your modem's hardware address in the Windows Control Panel, you should try to apply one of the standard hardware settings used by the old-style COM ports on older hardware modems; the standard hardware settings for those COM ports are as follows: COM1, IRQ 4, 3f8h; COM2, IRQ3, 2f8h; COM3, IRQ4, 3e8h; COM4, IRQ 3, 3f8h.

(2) Create a batch file that enables the fax features in WPDOS

Only after successfully completing step (1), create a batch file named WPFAX.BAT in your WP directory; this batch file should contain the following commands (replace <path> with the name of your WordPerfect directory, e.g. c:\wp62)

<path>\FAXDIR /R

On the Windows desktop, create a new shortcut that runs WPFAX.BAT. (To create a shortcut on the desktop, right-click the desktop (Wait! What exactly does "right-click" mean?), select New/Shortcut, and follow the prompts.) Right-click on the shortcut, select Properties, and set all the options as specified in the notes on customizing the WP shortcut elsewhere on this site. You must study this site's instructions for creating a shortcut to a batch file that allows you to assign expanded memory to the batch file.

Help! My printer uses only a parallel port but my computer doesn't have a parallel port

Most modern computers lack the "parallel port" connector used by almost all earlier computers and printers. If your printer can be connected via a USB cable, you can ignore the methods described below and use the software-based methods described on another page. If your printer absolutely requires a parallel connection, or if you prefer the simplicity of a hardware-based parallel port, the following solutions are possible (but have not been extensively tested by me). Remember that these are recommended only if your printer absolutely requires a parallel connection and nothing else!

For any computer with a USB port: You can buy a USB-to-parallel cable that will let you connect your USB port to the parallel cable on your printer. Many models are (or used to be) available; for example, this one, or that one, or others that you can find by searching for "usb parallel" on You may (or may not) need to set up software that comes with the cable in order to use the USB port as the LPTn port expected by WordPerfect, but the setup should be easy. Some models include software that let you print to LPT3 from Windows, and you can easily set up WordPerfect to print to LPT3 on the Shift-F7/Select/Edit/Port menu. You may need to experiment to see whether WordPerfect prints correctly when the Port is set to LPT1, LPT2, or LPT3. Warning: You absolutely, positively must read the instructions that come with the cable! Do not expect the cable to work if you refuse to follow the instructions!

For desktop computers with an available add-in slot but no built-in parallel port: Either use a USB-to-parallel cable as described above, of buy an add-in card that adds a parallel port to your desktop computer. Warning: Cheap add-in parallel-port cards do not work in many modern computers. You are probably wasting your time and money if you buy any add-in parallel-port card other than the ones listed below.

For modern computers with an empty PCI Express slot, a recommended model is the StarTech 1-Port EPP/ECP PCI-Express Parallel Card. You may need to install driver software supplied by the vendor. After installing the driver, go to your computer's Device Manager and set the port to be LPT1; it probably installs itself by default as LPT3. To do this, perform the following steps:

Note: If you cannot choose LPT1, and you must choose either LPT2 or LPT3 in the Port Settings menu, you must then run WordPerfect, press Shift-F7, select and edit your printer driver so the Port setting is LPT2 or LPT3, to match the setting you chose in the Port Settings menu.

For older computers with an empty PCI connector, I can recommend the StarTech 1-Port Ultra-Compatible Parallel PCI Card Adapter or a similar StarTech card for compact computers that require "low-profile" cards . (A less expensive standard-size model is also available). You might also consider the LAVA Computer Parallel PCI card (or a similar LAVA Computer card for compact computers that require "low-profile" cards), but the StarTech model is likely to be more widely compatible with modern computers.

Similar cards are readily available for ancient computers that use old-style ISA cards instead of PCI cards; search eBay for "ISA parallel port" (no quotation marks) to find such cards.

For ancient laptop computers with an open PCMCIA slot: You might try a PCMCIA card with a parallel port attached; I have not tried these, but at least some models seem to work well, and may be easier to install than the USB-to-parallel cables described above. One possible model is this StarTech PCMCIA card.

When you need a second parallel port in addition to the one built into your computer: If (for example) you want to connect two laser printers to the same computer, you can use one of these cards to add a second parallel port to a computer that already has one. The added port will be named LPT2 or LPT3, and you can print through it from WPDOS by using Shift-F7/Select/Edit/Port, and selecting LPT2 or LPT3. You may need to experiment with LPT2 and LPT3 before you find the setting that works.

Fax from WPDOS to Windows fax software

A method for faxing from WPDOS to any Windows fax software (such as WinFax) is provided on a separate page.

Create PDF files for Adobe Acrobat

Various methods for creating Acrobat-compatible PDF files from WPDOS are provided on a separate page.

Printing from WordPerfect to a Windows network printer

Advice on using WPDOS on Windows networks may be found on another another page.

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