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How to set up the RichTextBox control for WYSIWYG printing

This article was previously published under Q146022
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
The SelPrint method of the RichTextBox control does not allow a programmerto set the position of the output on the printer. In addition, theRichTextBox control does not provide a method for displaying its contentsas they would show up on the printer. This article explains how to set up aRichTextBox with a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) display and thenhow to print it.
The Visual Basic RichTextBox control is a sub-classed control based onthe RichTextBox provided by the Win32 operating system. The operatingsystem control supports many messages that are not exposed in Visual Basic.One of these messages is EM_SETTARGETDEVICE. The EM_SETTARGETDEVICEmessage is used to tell a RichTextBox to base its display on a targetdevice such as a printer. Another message that is not fully exposed byVisual Basic is EM_FORMATRANGE. The EM_FORMATRANGE message sends a pageat a time to an output device using the specified coordinates. Using thesemessages in Visual Basic, it is possible to make a RichTextBox supportWYSIWYG display and output.

The following example illustrates how to take advantage of theEM_SETTARGETDEVICE and EM_FORMATRANGE messages from Visual Basic. Theexample provides two re-usable procedures to send these messages. The firstprocedure WYSIWYG_RTF() sets a RichTextBox to provide a WYSIWYG displaybased on the default printer and specified margins. The second procedurePrintRtf() prints the contents of the RichTextBox with the specifiedmargins.


  1. Start a new project in the Visual Basic 32-bit edition. Form1 is created by default.
  2. Put a CommandButton and a RichTextBox control on Form1.
  3. Add the following code to Form1:
    Private Const AnInch As Long = 1440   '1440 twips per inchPrivate Const QuarterInch As Long = 360Private Sub Form_Load()   Dim PrintableWidth As Long   Dim PrintableHeight As Long   Dim x As Single   ' Initialize Form and Command button   Me.Caption = "Rich Text Box WYSIWYG Printing Example"   Command1.Move 10, 10, 600, 380   Command1.Caption = "&Print"   ' Set the font of the RTF to a TrueType font for best results   RichTextBox1.SelFontName = "Arial"   RichTextBox1.SelFontSize = 10      'initialize the printer object   x = Printer.TwipsPerPixelX   Printer.Orientation = vbPRORPortrait  'vbPRORLandscape   ' Tell the RTF to base it's display off of the printer   Call WYSIWYG_RTF(RichTextBox1, QuarterInch, QuarterInch, QuarterInch, QuarterInch, PrintableWidth, PrintableHeight) '1440 Twips=1 Inch   ' Set the form width to match the line width   Me.Width = PrintableWidth + 200   Me.Height = PrintableHeight + 800End SubPrivate Sub Form_Resize()   ' Position the RTF on form   RichTextBox1.Move 100, 500, Me.ScaleWidth - 200, Me.ScaleHeight - 600End SubPrivate Sub Command1_Click()   ' Print the contents of the RichTextBox with a one inch margin   PrintRTF RichTextBox1, AnInch, AnInch, AnInch, AnInchEnd Sub					
  4. Insert a new standard module into the project, Module1.bas is created by default.
  5. Add the following code to Module1:
    Option ExplicitPrivate Type Rect   Left As Long   Top As Long   Right As Long   Bottom As LongEnd TypePrivate Type CharRange  cpMin As Long     ' First character of range (0 for start of doc)  cpMax As Long     ' Last character of range (-1 for end of doc)End TypePrivate Type FormatRange  hdc As Long       ' Actual DC to draw on  hdcTarget As Long ' Target DC for determining text formatting  rc As Rect        ' Region of the DC to draw to (in twips)  rcPage As Rect    ' Region of the entire DC (page size) (in twips)  chrg As CharRange ' Range of text to draw (see above declaration)End TypePrivate Const WM_USER As Long = &H400Private Const EM_FORMATRANGE As Long = WM_USER + 57Private Const EM_SETTARGETDEVICE As Long = WM_USER + 72Private Const PHYSICALOFFSETX As Long = 112Private Const PHYSICALOFFSETY As Long = 113Private Declare Function GetDeviceCaps Lib "gdi32" ( _   ByVal hdc As Long, ByVal nIndex As Long) As LongPrivate Declare Function SendMessage Lib "USER32" Alias "SendMessageA" _   (ByVal hWnd As Long, ByVal msg As Long, ByVal wp As Long, _   lp As Any) As LongPrivate Declare Function CreateDC Lib "gdi32" Alias "CreateDCA" _   (ByVal lpDriverName As String, ByVal lpDeviceName As String, _   ByVal lpOutput As Long, ByVal lpInitData As Long) As Long'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' WYSIWYG_RTF - Sets an RTF control to display itself the same as it'               would print on the default printer'' RTF - A RichTextBox control to set for WYSIWYG display.'' LeftMarginWidth - Width of desired left margin in twips'' RightMarginWidth - Width of desired right margin in twips'' Returns - The length of a line on the printer in twips'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''Public Sub WYSIWYG_RTF(RTF As RichTextBox, LeftMarginWidth As Long, RightMarginWidth As Long, TopMarginWidth As Long, BottomMarginWidth As Long, PrintableWidth As Long, PrintableHeight As Long)   Dim LeftOffset As Long   Dim LeftMargin As Long   Dim RightMargin As Long   Dim TopOffset As Long   Dim TopMargin As Long   Dim BottomMargin As Long   Dim PrinterhDC As Long   Dim r As Long   Printer.ScaleMode = vbTwips      ' Get the left offset to the printable area on the page in twips   LeftOffset = GetDeviceCaps(Printer.hdc, PHYSICALOFFSETX)   LeftOffset = Printer.ScaleX(LeftOffset, vbPixels, vbTwips)      ' Calculate the Left, and Right margins   LeftMargin = LeftMarginWidth - LeftOffset   RightMargin = (Printer.Width - RightMarginWidth) - LeftOffset      ' Calculate the line width   PrintableWidth = RightMargin - LeftMargin      ' Get the top offset to the printable area on the page in twips   TopOffset = GetDeviceCaps(Printer.hdc, PHYSICALOFFSETY)   TopOffset = Printer.ScaleX(TopOffset, vbPixels, vbTwips)      ' Calculate the Left, and Right margins   TopMargin = TopMarginWidth - TopOffset   BottomMargin = (Printer.Height - BottomMarginWidth) - TopOffset      ' Calculate the line width   PrintableHeight = BottomMargin - TopMargin          ' Create an hDC on the Printer pointed to by the Printer object   ' This DC needs to remain for the RTF to keep up the WYSIWYG display   PrinterhDC = CreateDC(Printer.DriverName, Printer.DeviceName, 0, 0)   ' Tell the RTF to base it's display off of the printer   '    at the desired line width   r = SendMessage(RTF.hWnd, EM_SETTARGETDEVICE, PrinterhDC, _      ByVal PrintableWidth)End Sub'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' PrintRTF - Prints the contents of a RichTextBox control using the'            provided margins'' RTF - A RichTextBox control to print'' LeftMarginWidth - Width of desired left margin in twips'' TopMarginHeight - Height of desired top margin in twips'' RightMarginWidth - Width of desired right margin in twips'' BottomMarginHeight - Height of desired bottom margin in twips'' Notes - If you are also using WYSIWYG_RTF() on the provided RTF'         parameter you should specify the same LeftMarginWidth and'         RightMarginWidth that you used to call WYSIWYG_RTF()''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''Public Sub PrintRTF(RTF As RichTextBox, LeftMarginWidth As Long, _   TopMarginHeight, RightMarginWidth, BottomMarginHeight)   Dim LeftOffset As Long, TopOffset As Long   Dim LeftMargin As Long, TopMargin As Long   Dim RightMargin As Long, BottomMargin As Long   Dim fr As FormatRange   Dim rcDrawTo As Rect   Dim rcPage As Rect   Dim TextLength As Long   Dim NextCharPosition As Long   Dim r As Long   ' Start a print job to get a valid Printer.hDC   Printer.Print Space(1)   Printer.ScaleMode = vbTwips   ' Get the offsett to the printable area on the page in twips   LeftOffset = Printer.ScaleX(GetDeviceCaps(Printer.hdc, _      PHYSICALOFFSETX), vbPixels, vbTwips)   TopOffset = Printer.ScaleY(GetDeviceCaps(Printer.hdc, _      PHYSICALOFFSETY), vbPixels, vbTwips)   ' Calculate the Left, Top, Right, and Bottom margins   LeftMargin = LeftMarginWidth - LeftOffset   TopMargin = TopMarginHeight - TopOffset   RightMargin = (Printer.Width - RightMarginWidth) - LeftOffset   BottomMargin = (Printer.Height - BottomMarginHeight) - TopOffset   ' Set printable area rect   rcPage.Left = 0   rcPage.Top = 0   rcPage.Right = Printer.ScaleWidth   rcPage.Bottom = Printer.ScaleHeight   ' Set rect in which to print (relative to printable area)   rcDrawTo.Left = LeftMargin   rcDrawTo.Top = TopMargin   rcDrawTo.Right = RightMargin   rcDrawTo.Bottom = BottomMargin   ' Set up the print instructions   fr.hdc = Printer.hdc   ' Use the same DC for measuring and rendering   fr.hdcTarget = Printer.hdc  ' Point at printer hDC   fr.rc = rcDrawTo            ' Indicate the area on page to draw to   fr.rcPage = rcPage          ' Indicate entire size of page   fr.chrg.cpMin = 0           ' Indicate start of text through   fr.chrg.cpMax = -1          ' end of the text   ' Get length of text in RTF   TextLength = Len(RTF.Text)   ' Loop printing each page until done   Do      ' Print the page by sending EM_FORMATRANGE message      NextCharPosition = SendMessage(RTF.hWnd, EM_FORMATRANGE, True, fr)      If NextCharPosition >= TextLength Then Exit Do  'If done then exit      fr.chrg.cpMin = NextCharPosition ' Starting position for next page      Printer.NewPage                  ' Move on to next page      Printer.Print Space(1) ' Re-initialize hDC      fr.hdc = Printer.hdc      fr.hdcTarget = Printer.hdc   Loop   ' Commit the print job   Printer.EndDoc   ' Allow the RTF to free up memory   r = SendMessage(RTF.hWnd, EM_FORMATRANGE, False, ByVal CLng(0))End Sub					
  6. Save the project.
  7. Run the project.
  8. Enter or paste some text into the RichTextBox.
  9. Press the Print command button. Note that the printed output should word-wrap at the same locations as displayed on the screen. Also, the output should be printed with the specified one-inch margin all around.

Article ID: 146022 - Last Review: 12/04/2015 14:07:40 - Revision: 3.0

Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Learning Edition, Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Learning Edition, Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Professional Edition, Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Professional Edition, Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Enterprise Edition, Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Enterprise Edition, Microsoft Visual Basic 4.0 Professional Edition, Microsoft Visual Basic 4.0 32-Bit Enterprise Edition

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