Troubleshooting Font Problems When Printing

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Article ID: 97911 - View products that this article applies to.
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If you are using screen fonts rather than printer fonts, you may experience incorrect printer output such as garbled print, truncated text, or missing characters. These problems may also be caused by specific printer drivers or incompatibility with a third-party font application.

The following information describes troubleshooting steps that will, in most cases, resolve font printing problems.


General Troubleshooting

First, ensure that the incorrect font output is visible in print preview. In many cases, when you see the same incorrect output in print preview, there is some font problem.

If your worksheet looks correct in print preview, this indicates that Microsoft Excel is sending the proper output to the printer and that the printing problem is occurring sometime after Microsoft Windows takes control of the print job. In this case, follow the steps for troubleshooting printing problems in the Microsoft Windows operating environment.

If your worksheet does not look right in print preview, the problem may be caused by incorrect printer information. To work around this problem, try changing to another printer driver and then switching back to the driver that you want to use.

If you are able to preview and print other worksheets with correct output, your worksheet may be damaged. Try copying your entire worksheet to a new worksheet and then retry printing:

  1. Select the entire worksheet by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+SPACEBAR.
  2. From the Edit menu, choose Copy.
  3. From the File menu, choose New.
  4. From the Edit menu, choose Paste and try to print your document again.
Either before or after trying the specific solutions in the sections that follow, try disabling any third-party soft font applications.

NOTE: Many of the third-party applications created for the Microsoft Windows operating environment have an enable/disable switch.

In addition, ensure that you are using the printer driver version appropriate for your version of Microsoft Windows. You can check this version number by choosing the Printers icon in the Microsoft Windows Control Panel:

  • In Microsoft Windows 95, click the Start button, point to Settings, then click Printers. Click the desired printer with the right (secondary) mouse button. Choose the Details tab, and check your settings.
  • In Microsoft Windows version 3.1, in the Printers dialog box, choose the Setup button and then choose the About button.

  • In Microsoft Windows version 3.0, choose the Configure button. Next, choose the Setup button. In the Setup dialog box, choose About. The About dialog box displays your printer driver information.

Text Truncating or Values Converting to Pound Signs (#)

If you are experiencing problems with text truncating at the end of a cell or with values converting to pound signs, your screen fonts are probably being mapped to a non-exact printer font that may have different metrics.

The column widths in Microsoft Excel are based on the font you have selected for the Normal Style font. If this font is a screen font and there is no corresponding printer font, Microsoft Excel "maps" the screen font to the closest printer font. Because the printer font may be a slightly different size than the screen font, cell contents that appeared to fit in the cell as shown on your screen may not fit when mapped to a printer font.

To correct this problem, set your Normal Style font to a printer font or a TrueType font (Microsoft Windows version 3.1 only):

  1. From the Format menu, choose Style.
  2. Verify that "Normal" is shown as your Style Name and choose the Define button.
  3. Clear all of the options in the Style Includes box (except Font) and choose the Font button at the bottom.
  4. Follow the step below that corresponds to your version of Microsoft Excel:

    Microsoft Excel version 3.0

    a. Select the Printer Fonts check box. This will display a list of fonts available on your printer as well as TrueType fonts (if you are using Microsoft Windows 3.1).

    b. Choose one of the listed fonts and an appropriate font size.

    Microsoft Excel version 4.0

    a. Choose one of the fonts in the font list box that is preceded by a printer symbol or by a double T (Microsoft Windows 3.1 only)--a double T indicates a TrueType font.

    b. Choose an appropriate font size.
Also, if you have changed the fonts in other cells to something other than the Normal Style font, change those fonts to a printer or TrueType font.

Missing Characters

Follow the same troubleshooting steps mentioned in the previous section to change the Normal Style font (as well as any other fonts applied to the sheet) to printer or TrueType fonts (Microsoft Windows 3.1 only).

If you are using a TrueType font and a non-PostScript printer such as a LaserJet or a dot-matrix printer, you can set your TrueType fonts to print as graphics. This will often resolve problems of missing characters. To do this, follow the first two steps for the version of Microsoft Excel that you are using and then follow steps 3 through 5 for both versions.

If you are using Microsoft Excel version 3.0:

  1. From the File menu, choose Printer Setup.
  2. With your printer selected, choose the Setup button. Choose the OK button in the warning message.
If you are using Microsoft Excel version 4.0:

  1. From the File menu, choose Page Setup.
  2. Choose the Printer Setup button. Choose the Setup button.
Next, in both versions:

  1. In the Setup dialog box, choose the Options button.
  2. Select the Print TrueType Fonts As Graphics check box.
  3. Continue choosing the OK button until you have returned to your worksheet.

Garbled or Not Printed Output

If you are using a third-party soft font application, and your printed document appears garbled or does not print out, you may need to disable the soft font application. Directions for disabling the soft font application appear in the "General" section of this article.

Next, ensure that your Normal Style font is a printer font or a TrueType font (Microsoft Windows 3.1 only). If you have changed any of the fonts in your sheet to something other than the Normal Style font, ensure that the font in those cells is also a printer or a TrueType font.

If your sheet is blank when you view it in print preview and when you print it, the worksheet may be damaged. Ensure that other sheets print correctly and copy your worksheet to a new worksheet as described in the "General" section of this article.


Article ID: 97911 - Last Review: August 15, 2005 - Revision: 1.3
  • Microsoft Excel 95 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0c
  • Microsoft Excel 4.0c
  • Microsoft Excel 3.0a
kbprint KB97911
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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