HOW TO: Raise and Control Print Dialog Boxes from Visual Basic


You can use the Vbprndlg.dll file instead of the Print dialog box portion of the Visual Basic CommonDialog control. This file exposes properties and provides functionality that the CommonDialog control does not.

The CommonDialog control in Visual Basic permits the Print dialog box to be displayed, but it does not give access to many of the properties that can be set in the Print dialog box and consumed by the Printer object. Because of alignment problems with structures (that is, user-defined types) when the Win32 application programming interface (API) functions are made from Visual Basic, you cannot reliably obtain additional information by using these API calls. As a workaround, this article provides a DLL that you can use instead of the Printer portion of the CommonDialog control.

Download the Control

The following file is available for download from the Microsoft Download Center:
Release Date: Sep-30-2002

For additional information about how to download Microsoft Support files, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
119591 How to Obtain Microsoft Support Files from Online Services
Microsoft scanned this file for viruses. Microsoft used the most current virus-detection software that was available on the date that the file was posted. The file is stored on security-enhanced servers that help to prevent any unauthorized changes to the file.
The Vbprndlg.exe file contains the following files:

File nameSize
Vbprndlg.dll100.0 KB
Vbprndlg.exp1.0 KB
Vbprndlg.lib1.72 KB
Vbprndlg.dep118 Bytes
Readme.txt10.9 KB

Install Vbprndlg.exe

  1. Extract the files to a location that will not be deleted and that has an simple path. These types of files are typically put in the System32 directory under the Windows or the Winnt directory.
  2. Click Start, and then click Run.
  3. Type the following, and then click OK:
    RegSvr32 C:\Windows\System32\VBPrnDlg.dll
    Make sure that you use the actual full path to the DLL as the second part of this command.

    You receive a message that the DLL successfully registered.

Printerdlg Class Documentation

This DLL is a COM component that is added as a reference to a Visual Basic application. After you add the DLL, you can use it in code to display the Print dialog box and to retrieve the information that the user selects. This behavior is the same as the behavior of the Print dialog box in the CommonDialog control in Visual Basic.

Dialog Box Properties

For documentation about any of these properties, see the documentation for the CommonDialog control. Printer.hdc is read-only, but all the following properties except those that are marked with an asterisk (*) directly map onto the Printer object when you use the following syntax:
Printer.Copies = printDlg.Copies
  • Copies
  • Orientation
  • ColorMode
  • DriverName
  • Duplex
  • PaperBin
  • PaperSize
  • Port
  • PrintQuality
  • hDC
  • PrinterName *
  • Min *
  • Max *
  • FromPage *
  • ToPage *
PrinterName maps to DeviceName in the Printer object. The last four properties that are marked with an asterisk (*) are used to determine if a subset of the available pages must be printed. To enable the Select Pages portion of the Print dialog box, Max must be set to a number that is larger than Min. If Min is larger than Max, an error occurs when the dialog box appears. If the user selects a subset, the PrinterDlg object makes sure that it is inside the bounds of Min and Max, and it is returned in the FromPage and ToPage properties. These properties do not directly map onto the Printer object, so the program that raises the dialog box and controls the printing must handle these properties.

Dialog Control Methods and Properties

  • Flags - This is the same as the Flags property on the CommonDialog control. It controls some of the features of the dialog box. This value is set using "Or" with different constants in the VBPrinterConstants structure. For example:
    printDlg.Flags = VBPrinterConstants.cdlPDDisablePrintToFile _
    Or VBPrinterConstants.cdlPDNoPageNums
    These constants are:

    Constant Value Description
    cdlPDAllPages &H0 Returns or sets the state of the All
    Pages option button.

    cdlPDCollate &H10 Returns or sets the state of the
    Collate check box.

    cdlPDDisablePrintToFile &H80000 Disables the Print To File check box.

    cdlPDHelpButton &H800 Causes the dialog box to display the
    Help button.

    cdlPDHidePrintToFile &H100000 Hides the Print To File check box.

    cdlPDNoPageNums &H8 Disables the Pages option button and
    the associated edit control.

    cdlPDNoSelection &H4 Disables the Selection option button.

    cdlPDNoWarning &H80 Prevents a warning message from being
    displayed when there is no default

    cdlPDPageNums &H2 Returns or sets the state of the
    Pages option button.

    cdlPDPrintSetup &H40 Causes the system to display the
    Print Setup dialog box instead of
    the Print dialog box.

    cdlPDPrintToFile &H20 Returns or sets the state of the
    Print To File check box.

    cdlPDReturnDC &H100 Returns a device context for the
    printer selection made in the dialog
    box. The device context is returned
    in the hDC property of the dialog

    cdlPDReturnDefault &H400 Returns the default printer name.

    cdlPDReturnIC &H200 Returns an information context for
    the printer selection made in the
    dialog box. An information context
    provides a fast way to get
    information about the device without
    creating a device context. The
    information context is returned in
    the hDC property of the dialog box.

    cdlPDSelection &H1 Returns or sets the state of the
    Selection option button. If neither
    cdlPDPageNums nor cdlPDSelection is
    specified, the All option button is
    in the selected state.

    cdlPDUseDevModeCopies &H40000 If a printer driver does not support
    multiple copies, setting this flag
    disables the Number of Copies spinner
    control in the Print dialog box. If a
    driver does support multiple copies,
    setting this flag indicates that the
    dialog box stores the requested
    number of copies in the Copies

    You can use the Flags property to determine if the user chose a field such as Print to File. To do this, look to see if the cdlPDPrintToFile flag has been set when the control has returned from displaying the dialog box.

  • CancelError - This is a Boolean flag that determines whether an error is returned to the program if the user clicks Cancel. By default, this is False, so an error does not occur if the user clicks Cancel. When this is set to True, error number 32755 (&H7FF3) occurs when the user clicks Cancel. You can trap this error to handle a case in which the user cancels the dialog box.
  • ShowPrinter - This is the only method in this class. Calling this method displays the dialog box. This accepts the handle of the calling window as a parameter. For example, the following method returns a Boolean:
    printDlg.ShowPrinter Me.hWnd
    This can be ignored. The value is True if the user clicks Print and False otherwise (that is, if the user clicks Cancel).
NOTE: In all these examples, printDlg is an instance of the class that is contained in this DLL. It is declared by using the following code:
Dim printDlg As PrinterDlg
Set printDlg = New PrinterDlg

Steps to Build the Sample

To create a sample application that will use the DLL to determine the user's preferences and then write them to the Debug window, follow these steps:
  1. In Microsoft Visual Basic, create a new Standard EXE project. By default, Form1 is created.
  2. On the Project menu, click References.
  3. Select Microsoft VB Printer Dialog(PSS), and then click OK.
  4. Add a CommandButton control to the form. By default, Command1 is created.
  5. Double-click Command1.
  6. Paste the following code in the Command1_Click event:
    Dim printDlg As PrinterDlg
    Set printDlg = New PrinterDlg
    ' Set the starting information for the dialog box based on the current
    ' printer settings.
    printDlg.PrinterName = Printer.DeviceName
    printDlg.DriverName = Printer.DriverName
    printDlg.Port = Printer.Port

    ' Set the default PaperBin so that a valid value is returned even
    ' in the Cancel case.
    printDlg.PaperBin = Printer.PaperBin

    ' Set the flags for the PrinterDlg object using the same flags as in the
    ' common dialog control. The structure starts with VBPrinterConstants.
    printDlg.Flags = VBPrinterConstants.cdlPDNoSelection _
    Or VBPrinterConstants.cdlPDNoPageNums _
    Or VBPrinterConstants.cdlPDReturnDC
    Printer.TrackDefault = False

    ' When CancelError is set to True the ShowPrinterDlg will return error
    ' 32755. You can handle the error to know when the Cancel button was
    ' clicked. Enable this by uncommenting the lines prefixed with "'**".
    '**printDlg.CancelError = True

    ' Add error handling for Cancel.
    '**On Error GoTo Cancel
    If Not printDlg.ShowPrinter(Me.hWnd) Then
    Debug.Print "Cancel Selected"
    Exit Sub
    End If

    'Turn off Error Handling for Cancel.
    '**On Error GoTo 0
    Dim NewPrinterName As String
    Dim objPrinter As Printer
    Dim strsetting As String

    ' Locate the printer that the user selected in the Printers collection.
    NewPrinterName = UCase$(printDlg.PrinterName)
    If Printer.DeviceName <> NewPrinterName Then
    For Each objPrinter In Printers
    If UCase$(objPrinter.DeviceName) = NewPrinterName Then
    Set Printer = objPrinter
    End If
    End If

    ' Copy user input from the dialog box to the properties of the selected printer.
    Printer.Copies = printDlg.Copies
    Printer.Orientation = printDlg.Orientation
    Printer.ColorMode = printDlg.ColorMode
    Printer.Duplex = printDlg.Duplex
    Printer.PaperBin = printDlg.PaperBin
    Printer.PaperSize = printDlg.PaperSize
    Printer.PrintQuality = printDlg.PrintQuality

    ' Display the results in the immediate (Debug) window.
    ' NOTE: Supported values for PaperBin and Size are printer specific. Some
    ' common defaults are defined in the Win32 SDK in MSDN and in Visual Basic.
    ' Print quality is the number of dots per inch.
    With Printer
    Debug.Print .DeviceName
    If .Orientation = 1 Then
    strsetting = "Portrait. "
    strsetting = "Landscape. "
    End If
    Debug.Print "Copies = " & .Copies, "Orientation = " & _
    If .ColorMode = 1 Then
    strsetting = "Black and White. "
    strsetting = "Color. "
    End If
    Debug.Print "ColorMode = " & strsetting
    If .Duplex = 1 Then
    strsetting = "None. "
    ElseIf .Duplex = 2 Then
    strsetting = "Horizontal/Long Edge. "
    ElseIf .Duplex = 3 Then
    strsetting = "Vertical/Short Edge. "
    strsetting = "Unknown. "
    End If
    Debug.Print "Duplex = " & strsetting
    Debug.Print "PaperBin = " & .PaperBin
    Debug.Print "PaperSize = " & .PaperSize
    Debug.Print "PrintQuality = " & .PrintQuality
    If (printDlg.Flags And VBPrinterConstants.cdlPDPrintToFile) = _
    VBPrinterConstants.cdlPDPrintToFile Then
    Debug.Print "Print to File Selected"
    Debug.Print "Print to File Not Selected"
    End If
    Debug.Print "hDC = " & printDlg.hDC
    End With
    Exit Sub
    '**If Err.Number = 32755 Then
    '** Debug.Print "Cancel Selected"
    '** Debug.Print "A nonCancel Error Occured - "; Err.Number
    '**End If
  7. Press the F5 key to start debugging and to start the application. Click Command1 to open the Print dialog box.
  8. After you return from the Print dialog box, look in the Debug window at the output that was returned.
NOTE: If you want a specific error to be raised and handled when the user clicks Cancel (similar to the behavior that occurs with the CommonDialog control), uncomment the lines that are prefixed with "'**".


For additional information about using the Print dialog box in Visual Basic, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
173981 PRB: Behavior Differences of Print Dialog on Different Platforms
For additional information about printer settings, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
190218 HOWTO: Retrieve Settings From a Printer Driver
194789 HOWTO: Determine Available PaperBins with DeviceCapabilities API

ID do Artigo: 322710 - Última Revisão: 29 de mar de 2007 - Revisão: 1