XL97: Problems Printing Unicode (Extended) Characters

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Article ID: 191191 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q191191
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IMPORTANT: This article contains information about editing the registry. Before you edit the registry, make sure you understand how to restore it if a problem occurs. For information about how to do this, view the "Restoring the Registry" Help topic in Regedit.exe or the "Restoring a Registry Key" Help topic in Regedt32.exe.
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If you print a workbook containing extended characters, such as Greek or Russian (Cyrillic) symbols, the characters may be printed as square boxes even though they are displayed correctly on the screen.


This problem occurs because some printer drivers do not provide support for Unicode characters and are unable to print them correctly.


To work around this problem, use any of the following methods.

Edit the Windows Registry

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys And Values" Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" Help topics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry before you edit it. If you are running Windows NT, you should also update your Emergency Repair Disk (ERD).

You can add a setting to the Microsoft Excel section of the Windows registry that causes Excel to use the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) character set instead of Unicode. This will enable Excel to print the characters so that they are legible.

To change the Windows registry, follow these steps:
  1. On the Start menu, click Run.
  2. In the Open box, type regedit and click OK.
  3. Locate the following registry key:
          HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Excel\Microsoft Excel
  4. On the Edit menu, point to New and click DWORD Value. With "New Value #1" selected, type NoWideTextRendering, and then press ENTER.
  5. On the Edit menu, click Modify. In the Edit DWORD Value dialog box, click Hexidecimal under Base. Type the number 4. Click OK and quit the Registry Editor.

Change the Properties for the Printer

Some printers offer a font setting called Print TrueType as Graphics. If your printer provides this setting, try enabling this setting. For some printers, this may solve this problem. To enable the Print True Type as Graphics setting, follow these steps:
  1. On the Start menu, point to Settings, and then click Printers. In the Printers dialog box, right-click your printer, and then click Properties.
  2. In the Properties dialog box, click the Fonts tab. Click to select the Print TrueType As Graphics setting, and then click OK.
  3. Restart Microsoft Excel.
NOTE: This workaround may not work for all printers.


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in the Microsoft products listed at the beginning of this article.

More information

The problem affects the following printers and printer drivers:
  • Canon BubbleJet BJ-C600, 4000, 4200, 4500, 4550, v 3.40
  • Canon Multipass 2500 3.40
  • Epson Color 500
  • Epson Stylus Color, v 2.x
  • Epson Stylus Pro / XL v. 2.11BE
  • HP Color LaserJet 5 PCL, printer driver version F 1.300
  • HP DeskJet 1600C, printer driver version 4.20
  • HP LaserJet 4 PCL, printer driver version 3.78
  • HP LaserJet 6P, standard printer driver
  • Okidata 4 laser printer
For more information about ANSI and Unicode characters sets, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
130052 Ideas to Remember as You Convert from ASCII or ANSI to Unicode
159418 WD97: Some Printers Will Not Print Unicode Characters
The third-party products discussed here are manufactured by vendors independent of Microsoft; we make no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding these products' performance or reliability.


Article ID: 191191 - Last Review: October 26, 2013 - Revision: 2.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Excel 97 Standard Edition
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbbug kbprint KB191191

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