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Print from WPDOS to Any Windows Printer: Ghostscript Method

Consider other methods | What this method does | Do you need it? | How to set it up | Drivers and how to use them | Installing soft fonts | An alternate Ghostscript method | Home page

This page only applies to WPDOS running under 32-bit Windows! Ignore this page if you use the vDosWP or DOSBoxWP method of running WordPerfect!

Consider using other methods first

Since this page was first posted, other methods have been devised for printing from WPDOS to any Windows printer. Some of these methods are easier to set up than this one, and some are more flexible. Consider using one of this site's other methods before you take the trouble to set up this one.

What this method does

The method described on this page will allow you to print from WordPerfect for DOS to any printer that can be used under Windows, even if no WordPerfect driver is available, and even if the printer is connected to a USB port that WPDOS cannot recognize, or if the printer is a remote printer on a network. The method also enhances the font support of almost any printer for which WP provides only limited support.

You do not need this method if a WordPerfect for DOS printer driver exists for your printer! If a WPDOS printer driver exists for your printer, you do not need this method, even if your printer is connected via a USB cable or network. Be sure to read the section on another page that will help you answer the question, "Do you need this method?"

The initial setup takes about ten minutes, and you need only set up the procedure once. After you complete the setup, the method is entirely automatic and needs no intervention from the user. 

A side benefit of this method is that WordPerfect now treats your low-cost inkjet printer as if it were a high-powered color PostScript printer. Also, the standard 35 PostScript fonts act as if they were built in fonts to your printer, even if the printer's native WPDOS driver supports only Courier or other typewriter-style fonts. For more details on using a PostScript-type printer with WPDOS, see the notes on Ghostscript drivers below.

One limitation of this, like all other any-printer methods, is that it does not let you select different paper trays for different pages in your print jobs. All pages will be printed from the default input tray (which is defined by the Windows driver for your printer). You may be able to work around this problem by running a separate print job for the the pages that you want to print on special paper (for example, on an envelope) and feeding the special paper into your printer by hand.

Note: One benefit of this method is that it makes it possible for WPDOS 5.1 to print color graphics on non-PostScript printers. Normally, WPDOS 5.1 prints in color only with color PostScript printers, not with standard inkjets. With this method, however, color graphics can be printed on any color printer.

The tools you will need for this method are the superb freeware program PrintFile, by Peter Lerup, and (for most printers) the Windows version of GPL Ghostscript, a PostScript interpreter that serves as the standard printing method for Linux and many variants of Unix. The method works in this way:  You select a PostScript printer driver for use with WPDOS, and set up WP to send its printer output to a file on disk instead of directly to a printer. The output file on your disk is detected by PrintFile as soon as it is created. PrintFile then sends the file to Ghostscript, which converts it from PostScript format to the format used by your actual (non-PostScript) printer. Ghostscript then sends the converted file back to PrintFile, which prints it on your Windows printer. The whole process is fully automatic and takes only a few seconds. 

OS/2 users can use a similar method by using the OS/2 version of Ghostscript available from the main Ghostscript site, together with Printmon, an OS/2 utility for redirecting output sent to a printer port. For details, see this site's OS/2 Warp page.

Please contact me if you find errors or other problems with this page, or if you know of any other alternate methods. (If you want to print from WPDOS to the PDF format used by Adobe Acrobat, see this site's instructions on a separate page.)

Do you need this method?

Important note: Even if your printer is connected to your computer by a USB cable, you may be able to print from WPDOS without using this method. Read the section on another page that answers the question, Do you need this method?

How to set up this method

Extremely important note: Don't even think about setting up this method unless you are willing to follow the instructions exactly. If you decide to ignore any of the instructions, please do not send me messages asking me why you can't print from WordPerfect or why you don't get the results you want. Instead, go back and follow the instructions exactly.

Please do not "try a few things" or "experiment with a few steps" in the hope that they might somehow work. The only way to make this procedure work is to follow the instructions in every single detail. If you leave out or alter even one detail, the whole procedure will fail.

Also, be absolutely certain that you understand the concept of an "example." Some of the instructions on this page use an example of a filename or directory name, but you must use a different filename or directory name on your system. If (like some visitors to this site) you don't understand what an "example" means, and you insist on typing in the examples shown on this page instead of using the actual filenames that you find on your system, then stop now, and do not try to use this method.

After you have made this method work, but only after you have made it work, you may want to consider the Alternate Ghostscript Method, which may be slightly faster on some machines.

Before you begin: You must be able to print from Windows applications to your printer. If you have not tested your printer, press Ctrl-P now and print from this page to your printer. If nothing prints, then stop and install the software that came with your printer. When your printer works with Windows applications, return to this page.

(1) Download and install GPL Ghostscript; look for the most recent version that is available in a filename with a name like gs###w32.exe (where ### is a number like 871, 900, or higher). If the latest version is not easy to find on the page, go instead to a different page and download gs###w32.exe from there (again, where ### is a number like 871, 900, or higher). (If you already have Ghostscript installed on your system, you can probably use your existing version, but read the following paragraph and write down the information that you will need about your existing setup.) After downloading the installer, run it to install Ghostscript. You do not have to run Ghostscript after installing it, but you must install it. (If you want to run it in order to see what it looks like, keep in mind that you should type "quit" on the command-line in the Ghostscript window to close it.)

When you run the installer program, the second screen displayed by the installation program will include a field titled "Install to directory:". Very carefully write down the exact name of the directory that is displayed. You will need it later, in step 4(b). Important: In the installation options, be sure to select the option that installs fonts.

Note: The field titled "Install to directory:" will probably offer to install Ghostscript into a directory named something like "C:\Program Files\gs". For the sake of simplicity, you may want to change this to "C:\gs" or some other directory name that has no spaces in it. This is not essential, but it can perhaps make troubleshooting easier.

(2) Download and install PrintFile. When installing, you should probably choose the options to create a Start Menu item and to create a desktop shortcut, but you do not need to associate any file types with the program.

(3) Run PrintFile. (Important note: Under Vista or Windows 7, right-click the PrintFile icon and select "Run as Administrator" or "Open as Administrator; you need to do this only during this initial installation.) In the PrintFile screen, click the Settings button. In the PrintFile Settings dialog, under General, add a checkmark next to "Enable spooler function," and remove the checkmark (if any) next to "Show printer selection dialog." I recommend adding a checkmark next to "Show icon on the taskbar." Under Printer, I strongly recommend that you select the specific printer you want to use, instead of "Use default". 

(4a) Still in the PrintFile Settings window, click the Conversion button. In the Conversions Settings dialog, use the down arrow to display PostScript files, and add a checkmark next to "Enable conversion of".

(4b) Still in the Conversions Settings dialog, go to the Program field, click on the Browse button; a dialog box headed "Open" will appear, with the top field labeled "Look in". Click on the down-pointing arrow to the right of the "Look in" field, and navigate to your drive C: (or whatever your Windows drive is), then to the directory in which you installed Ghostscript (this is the directory name you wrote down in step (1), perhaps something like C:\Program Files\gs). You will see one or more subdirectories with version numbers, such as gs9.00 or something similar; choose the one with the highest number and click on it, then click on the subdirectory within it named bin; then on the program named gswin32c.exe.  Click on Open. The Program field should now display the full path and filename of this program, something like (but not necessarily identical to) C:\Program Files\gs\gs9.90\bin\gswin32c. (If you later encounter problems or error messages when printing, try gswin32.exe instead of gswin32c.exe.) Remember that you must absolutely, positively not try to use the filenames shown here instead of the actual filenames and pathnames on your system! The examples provided here almost certainly will not work on your system! They are only examples of more-or-less what the correct filenames may or may not look like! Read these sentences two or three times to make sure that you fully understand the concept of an "example"!

(4c) Still in the Conversions Settings dialog, in the Parameters field, enter the following string as a single line (note the quotation marks around "\\spool\&p" and the ampersand-i at the end):

-dNoCancel -dQueryUser=3 -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=mswinpr2 -sOutputFile="\\spool\&p" &i

(Outside North America,  it may be useful to add the string -sPAPERSIZE=a4 between the string with -dBATCH and the string with -sDEVICE;  experiment for best results.) Still in PrintFile's Conversions Settings dialog, add a checkmark to the checkbox next to "Conversion program handles printer", but do not check the checkbox next to "Show conversion program window." Click OK to close the Conversions Settings window.

Note to high-powered experts in printing and Windows only: If, and only if, you know exactly what you are doing, and if you have an expensive printer or one of certain older printer models, you may want to consult the possible modifications to step (4c) described below.

(5) Back in the PrintFile Settings window, in the Current Settings field, type "GSWP," (without quotation marks), then click the Shortcut... button. In the Create PrintFile Shortcut dialog, choose the Desktop type; the Storage directory defaults to a subdirectory named Shortcuts under the PrintFile directory, and need not be changed (but see the note below if you run Vista or Windows 7). Click OK to close the Create PrintFile Shortcut dialog, and Exit the main PrintFile dialog. Find the "PrintFile - GSWP" shortcut that has now been created on your desktop; you will return to it later.

Note: Under Vista and Windows 7, you must follow the instruction in step (3) to Run (or Open) the PrintFile program as an Administrator. If you neglected to do so, then you will not be able to save the Shortcut into the default location; you can choose another location, or you, preferably, start over and follow the instructions in step (3).

(6) Create a new folder to use as a spool directory for your WPDOS print files. I suggest creating a folder named C:\WPSPOOL. You should not use this directory for anything other than print spooling, because any files you place in the directory may be deleted by PrintFile's spooler function. This directory must not be the PrintFile Storage directory that you used in step (5).

Note: If you also use this site's methods for printing to a USB printer or for faxing from WPDOS to Windows fax software, you may use the same spool directory with each method.

(7) Right-click on the "PrintFile - GSWP" desktop shortcut that you created in step (5), and select Properties. Make sure the command line in the Target field ends with "...GSWP.exe". Click at the end of the existing line in the Target field. Type a space after the quotation mark at the end of the existing line, not inside the existing quotation marks, and then add the following string:


Remember to add a space before (to the left of) this string, and be extremely careful when typing the string itself: do not add any quotation marks, and please note that the string begins with a forward slash, followed immediately (no space) by the letter s and a colon, followed immediately (no space) by the directory name and filename (using backward slashes). The pathname in green (C:\WPSPOOL) should match the folder you created in step (6). Click OK to close the Properties dialog, but do not launch the shortcut.

Note for experts only: You can use *.ps or *.* (or any other file specification) instead of output.ps. You may want to write macros that use more than one filename for the output file that you will specify in step (9).

(8) Run WordPerfect for DOS, press Shift-F7/Select/Add Printer (in 5.1, Additional Printers), and select a PostScript printer; a safe choice is the Apple LaserWriter IINTX. Instead of the Apple LaserWriter driver, you may use one of the special Ghostscript drivers available from this site (see the notes on drivers below), or you may use almost any of the standard PostScript drivers that originally shipped with WPDOS. For color printing, choose one of this site's Ghostscript drivers or a color PostScript printer from among the original WP drivers (you might try the IBM 4079 Color JetPrinter PS). Make sure that the driver you choose is selected (has a star next to its name) in the Select Printer screen.

Extremely important reminder: In WPDOS, on the list of Additional Printers, you should not look for the real name of the printer that you own and you should not try to find the name of a printer that might be similar to your own! You should look for the name of almost any PostScript printer, preferably the Apple LaserWriter IINTX or one of the Ghostscript items listed in this site's Ghostscript printer drivers (see preceding paragraph). If you cannot find the Apple LaserWriter IINTX on the Additional Printers list in WPDOS, you can add the driver by running the Install program on your original WordPerfect installation disks (choose the option to add a printer), or you can download the driver from Corel's page for WPDOS 5.1 printer drivers or its page for WPDOS 6.x printer drivers.

Note: For best results, do not use an HP or Lexmark PostScript driver (these create non-standard PostScript output), and do not use any of the drivers for PostScript Level 3 printers available elsewhere on this site (they include support for fonts that are not available in Ghostscript).

(9) After selecting and installing the PostScript driver, you must direct the printer output to a file. The procedure is slightly different in different WPDOS versions. In WPDOS 6.x, use Shift-F7/Select (Select is near the upper right corner of the Print dialog), then, in the list of installed printers, make sure the highlight is on your PostScript printer driver. Select Edit, and in the Edit Printer Setup screen, select Port, then Filename, and enter the pathname C:\WPSPOOL\OUTPUT.PS. In WPDOS 5.1, use Shift-F7/Select Printer, and make sure the highlight is on your PostScript printer driver. Select Edit, and in the Select Printer: Edit screen, select Port, choose Other, and enter the pathname C:\WPSPOOL\OUTPUT.PS. With either version, the directory in the pathname in green (C:\WPSPOOL) should be the folder you created in step (6)

(10) Now "print" a document from WPDOS and make sure that a file named OUTPUT.PS is present in the C:\WPSPOOL folder. Delete the file.

(11) Launch the "PrintFile - GSWP" desktop shortcut that you modified in step (7). The PrintFile icon should appear in your system tray (at the far right of the Windows taskbar). Leave the PrintFile program running; do not close it.

(12) Return to WPDOS and "print" a document as you did in step (10). After a few seconds (up to a minute under Windows 2000 or XP), the document should print from your printer. You do not need to reduce WPDOS to a window if it is in full-screen mode; you do not need to return to the Windows desktop; and you do not need to click on anything. The entire conversion and printing process occurs in the background. If you experience error messages or other problems, although the document eventually prints, use the alternate method discussed below.

If nothing prints, or if you see any error messages, return to steps (3) through (7) and make absolutely certain that you have followed the instructions exactly, but with the path and filename suitable to your system. If you see repeated errors, it may be necessary to close PrintFile and delete any files in your C:\WPSPOOL directory before trying again.

(13) If all goes well, make a copy of the "PrintFile - GSWP" desktop shortcut that you modified in step (7) and add the copy to your Startup group in your Start Menu, so that it will run whenever you boot into Windows. (Help! How do I make a program run when Windows starts up?) (Ghostscript may display an apparently meaningless error message before or after printing your document; if this occurs, you may want to experiment with the alternate method discussed below, which should produce faster results and avoid error messages; if you use the alternate method, add the shortcut created by that method to your Start Menu after the alternate method is fully installed.) 

Note: Under WPDOS 6.x, when printing files that contain bitmap graphics, you may or may not get better results if you set the graphics' Dither Method to "device" instead of "application." This setting is located under Alt-F9/Graphics Boxes/Create or Edit/Contents/Image or Image on Disk/Image Editor; then, in the Image Editor, under Edit/Print Parameters/Dither Method, where you should choose Device. This setting forces the printer (in this instance, Ghostscript) to render bitmap images instead of having WordPerfect render them. Unfortunately, even if you make Device the default setting by modifying the printer driver with the WPDOS 6.x Printer Definition Program, PTR.EXE, you may need to uncheck the Default box in in the Print Parameters/Dither Method dialog for each file, no matter how unintuitive this seems. The problem may result from a bug in WPDOS.  (If you want to experiment, use PTR.EXE to open the .ALL file for your printer; select your printer, then Edit/Graphics/Miscellaneous/Rendering, and set the Default Dither Source to Printer. Exit and save the .ALL file. Open WPDOS 6.x, use Shift-F7/Select/Update to make the new setting available to WordPerfect. )

Possible modifications to step (4c) for Windows and printing experts only, and only if you have an advanced or older printer model: If, and only if, you know exactly what you are doing (and I will not help you do it), and if and only if you have a printer that you know is supported explicitly by Ghostscript, you may want to experiment with using one of the printer-specific Ghostscript devicenames instead of the mswinpr2 devicename. Study the Ghostscript documentation for information about these devicenames. If you decide to try a printer-specific devicename, then make the following two changes in the instructions shown above: First, do not add a checkmark to the checkbox next to "Conversion program handles printer"; and second, insert something like the following in the Parameters field (with the actual devicename that you works with your printer):

-dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=replaceWithActualDevicename -sOutputFile=&o &i

You may want to experiment with the string -dTextAlphaBits=4 at the beginning of the line to produce text with less jagged appearance at low output resolutions, but the results may or may not improve your output. Outside North America, it may be useful to add the string -sPAPERSIZE=a4 between the string with -dBATCH and the string with -sDEVICE.  Experiment for best results. Also: If the Ghostscript device for your printer supports multiple output resolutions, you can specify the resolution by adding an additional switch to the PrintFile Parameters field, in the form: -r720 or for greater reliability: -r720x720 or -r360x720 (or whatever set of numbers may be supported by the device). This switch can go anywhere on the command line, but it is commonly placed after the switch that identifies the device. You can find the supported resolutions for specific devices on the AFPL Ghostscript web site,  but you may need to look through many pages, and perhaps ask questions on news groups, before you find the answer. You may also consult the printer and devicename database at LinuxPrinting.org. Remember that not all devices supported by the Linux versions of Ghostscript are supported in the Windows version.

Ghostscript drivers and how to use them

This site provides Ghostscript printer drivers for WPDOS; the drivers are slightly modified from standard WordPerfect PostScript drivers, and you can use a standard WordPerfect PostScript driver if you prefer. (I suggest that you do not use HP LaserJet PostScript drivers with Ghostscript, as some special HP printer codes may interfere with smooth operations.) See the section below for information on installing soft fonts for use with these drivers

Notes on WordPerfect for DOS 6.x only: Ghostscript drivers for WPDOS 6.x (WP60GSCR.EXE) are available in a self-extracting archive (updated 8 July 2005 with slightly corrected width tables). The name of each driver includes "Color" or "Mono" and a resolution in Dots Per Inch. Choose the driver that most closely matches the color and resolution that Ghostscript supports when used with your printer (see the Ghostscript printer compatibility page for this information). The resolution of Ghostscript's "built-in" 35 standard PostScript fonts will not be affected by the resolution of the driver. The driver resolution is designed to optimize the output of bitmapped graphics. Because WPDOS 6.x uses bitmapped graphics to output its "graphic fonts" (TrueType, Speedo, and any Type 1 fonts that are not installed as printer fonts) to PostScript printers, you will get better results if you choose the correct resolution. But any of these drivers should give acceptable results with any printer. The drivers support the euro symbol as WP character 4,72. To display the euro symbol when editing, see this site's euro page.

To use these drivers, download WP60GSCR.EXE (50KB; revised 28 March 2005) to a temporary directory and run the program to extract the contents. Copy WP60GSCR.ALL to the directory that contains your printer files. (To locate this directory in WordPerfect, use Shift-F1/Location of Files/Printer Files...) In WordPerfect, use Shift-F7/Select/Add Printer... and select the most suitable Ghostscript driver. Edit the printer definition as described in step (11) above.

Notes on WordPerfect for DOS 5.x only: Ghostscript drivers for WPDOS 5.1 (WP51GSCR.EXE) are available in a self extracting archive (updated 8 July 2005 with slightly corrected width tables). Choose either the Ghostscript Color or the Ghostscript Mono driver, depending on the capabilities of your printer and the kind of printing you intend to do. (Help! How do I install these WPDOS 5.1 printer drivers?) Make sure to edit the printer definition as described in step (11) above.

Installing Type 1 soft fonts in Ghostscript and PostScript printer drivers

WordPerfect for DOS 6.x: With WPDOS 6.x, you can use any soft font in any of the formats supported by the program. For the best output quality and print speed when printing to Ghostscript or PostScript, use PostScript Type 1 soft fonts wherever possible. You can install any Type 1 (PostScript) soft font as a "soft font" for PostScript printers using the built-in WPDOS 6.x font installer. With Ghostscript and with any other PostScript printer, a Type 1 soft font that is installed as a "soft font" will produce faster and more reliable output than the same font installed as a "graphic." "Soft fonts" are rasterized (converted to a bitmap) by the printer (in this case, Ghostscript), while "Graphic fonts" are rasterized by WPDOS.

Note that if you intend to convert PostScript output files to PDF format, you should always install Type 1 fonts as "soft fonts"; if you install the fonts as "graphic" fonts, any text that prints in that font will look rough-edged, and you will not be able to search or copy any text printed in that font. However, if you want an accurate representation of your fonts in WPDOS 6.x's graphic view, page view, or print preview mode, you should install each Type 1 font as both a "soft font" and as "graphics." WordPerfect will use the font as a soft font when printing but as a graphic when displaying text on screen.

Technical note: The "soft font" remains on your computer's hard disk until you print; the "graphics" version is stored in the WP.DRS file that WP uses to display its graphics and print preview modes.

If you want to convert TrueType fonts to Type 1 fonts, use the ttf2pt1.exe utility described on this site's separate page on installing Type 1 fonts in WPDOS 5.x PostScript drivers.

For euro-enabled Type 1 soft fonts, see this site's euro page.

WordPerfect for DOS 5.1: You can install any of hundreds of Adobe Type 1 (PostScript) soft fonts for use with these drivers by using the soft font definitions in the WPDOS 5.1 PostScript (Additional) download the driver from Corel's page for WPDOS 5.1 printer drivers; search for "PostScript (Additional)" and "PostScript (Additional 2)" through "PostScript (Additional 4)." If you have any other Type 1 fonts, or if you want to convert TrueType fonts into Type 1 fonts for use with this method, see this site's separate page on installing Type 1 fonts in WPDOS 5.x PostScript drivers.

For euro-enabled soft Type 1 soft fonts, see this site's euro page.

An alternate Ghostscript method that avoids the mswinpr2 device

This method uses the mswinpr2 Ghostscript "device" (a driver that sends output to your printer), which is extremely slow; I recommend that after you have set it up and made it work, you might want to follow the alternate method described on a separate page. (The page will open in a separate browser window so that you can refer to this page while reading it.) However, if you are a Windows and printing expert with an expensive printer, and if and only if you can use the modifications to this method described above, then the method described on the current page will be much faster and more efficient than the alternate Ghostscript method. You will almost certainly need either the main method described above, or the alternate method if your printer is any very inexpensive inkjet printer or almost any inkjet printer from Lexmark, Canon, Epson, Dell, or other vendors; or you can avoid using Ghostscript altogether, and switch to this one of this site's other methods for printing to any Windows printer.

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