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Article ID: 313553 - Last Review: October 6, 2011 - Revision: 12.0

This article was previously published under Q313553

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This article suggests ways that you can diagnose and resolve issues when Microsoft Office for Mac applications does not print your document. 
The following behaviors are examples of print failure:
  • You receive error message and other messages when you try to print a file.
  • The printer does not respond.
  • Files print as meaningless symbols.

This article does not discuss printer output issues, such as envelope positioning problems, missing graphics, and inaccurate page numbers.

If you do not find a match for your error message or your printer's behavior, follow the steps in this article to troubleshoot your printing problem. To resolve a print failure in appplication, you must determine its cause. Causes typically fit one of five categories: 
  • Damaged documents (file or presentation) or damaged content in documents, presentation, workbook.
  • The application program itself.
  • The printer driver.
  • Connectivity or hardware.
  • Conflicting application.

Do not assume what is causing your printing problem. Instead, rely on systematic troubleshooting to reveal the real cause.

Use the following tests to help determine the type of cause for your printing failure.


Before you proceed with steps below, make sure you have all Apple software updates installed, see the Reference section in this article on help and instructions on how to download and install Apple software updates.


Step 1: Test Printing in a new document 

Damaged documents or documents that contain damaged graphics or damaged fonts can cause print errors. Before you reinstall drivers or software, test the program's ability to print.  
  1. Open a new blank document in Word.
  2. On the first line of the document, type the following text: =rand(10)
  3. Press ENTER. This inserts 10 paragraphs of sample text.
  4. Try to print the document.
  5. If the document prints successfully, change to a different font, or insert clip art, a table, or a drawing object.

    To change the font, follow these steps:
    1. Use your pointing device to select your sample text.
    2. Click Font.
    3. In the Font list, click to select a different font.
    To insert clip art, follow these steps:
    1. Click the Insert menu, select Picture and then click Clip Art.
    2. On the Clip Art task pane, leave the Search text box blank, and then click.
    3. Right-click one of the pictures, and then click Insert.
    4. Close the Clip Art task pane
    To insert table, follow these steps:
    1.  Click Table, and then click Insert then Table.
    2. Type the number of columns and rows that you want, and then click OK.
    To insert a drawing object, follow these steps:
    1. Click Insert, and then click Picture then select AutoShapes.
    2. Click one of the shapes. Draw the shape in the document.
Now test the printing function.

The success or failure of these tests shows whether an application can print generally. These tests may also give you clues about certain fonts or graphics that application cannot print. 

If you receive no errors in the test document, but you still cannot print your original document, your original document may be damaged. This may be true even if you can print the same document on another computer because there are many situations where the symptoms of file damage appear on some computers and not on others.

Again, rely on systematic troubleshooting instead of on assumptions about what is causing the problem. Therefore, if you cannot print a particular document, but you can print other documents, presentation, worksheet, you may have a damaged document. Troubleshoot the problem accordingly. For additional information about how to troubleshoot damaged documents, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

2362088 ( How to troubleshoot damaged Word 2003 documents 

If application cannot print at all, or application cannot print a certain font or a certain type of graphic, go to Step 2. 

Print from another program

Try printing from different Office for Mac applications. If Word is not printing try Excel. 

To test whether another program can communicate with the printer and whether the printer driver is functioning, try to print from another program such as Preview.

When you transfer a document to the Preview program by following these steps, the document is converted to a PDF file:
  1. In the Print dialog box, click Preview.

    Note When you click Preview, the Preview program starts. When the program starts, the document is converted to a PDF file.
  2. When the document appears in the Preview program, click Print on the File menu.
  3. In the Print dialog box, verify that a printer is selected and that the settings under Saved Settings are appropriate for that printer. Then, click Print.
If the Preview program cannot open your document, but it can print other documents without any problems, try to save your document as a PDF file. Saving the document as a PDF file tests the ability of the printer driver to output data to a file. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Open the document that you are having trouble printing. On the File menu, click Print.
  2. In the Copies & Pages list, click Output Options.
  3. In the Output Options area, select the Save as File check box. In the Format list, click PDF, and then click Save.
  4. In the Save dialog box, type a name, and then select a location for the file. Click Save.
  5. Try to print the PDF file by using the Preview program.

Print from TextEdit

TextEdit is a basic text-editing utility that is included with Mac OS X. To do this:

  1. Quit all applications
  2. On the Go menu, select Applications.
Double-click TextEdit, type some text, and then try to print the document. If TextEdit cannot print, either the printer driver or the printer may be causing the problem.

Delete and add the printer

To delete and add the printer, follow these steps:
  1. On the Go menu, click Utilities.
  2. Double-click Print Setup Utility.
  3. Click to select your printer in the Printer list.
  4. Click Delete.
  5. Click Add.
  6. In the Connection Method list, click the connection method that is used by your printer.
  7. In the Printer list, click the printer that you want to add, and then click Add.

Replace the printer preference files

Corrupted printer preference files may cause printing issues. To replace the printer preference files, follow these steps:
  1. On the desktop, click File, click New Folder, type Print Prefs, and then press RETURN on your keyboard.
  2. On the Go menu, click Home.
  3. Open Library.
    Note The Library folder is hidden in MAC OS X Lion. To display this folder, hold down the OPTION key while you click the Go menu.
  4. Click Preferences.
  5. Hold down the Apple or Command key, and then click each*.plist file. For example, hold down the Apple key, click, and then click In this example, the and files should be highlighted.
  6. Drag the files that you highlighted in step 4 to the Print Prefs folder that you created in step 1.
  7. On the Apple menu, click Restart, and then click Restart.
  8. Try to print from a Microsoft Office for Mac program.
Note If you cannot print from an Office for Mac program, drag the files from the Print Prefs folder on the desktop to the /Library/Preferences folder.
The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.

For troubleshooting steps for common printer problems on Mac, see Apple's support article: (


Install all available OS X updates. To obtain the latest updates, follow these steps: 

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1. Click Apple then select Software Update...
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2. The Software Update window will open and check for available updates. 
3. If the Software updates are available, click Continue

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4. Click the Agree button.
5. The download will begin. 
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6. When prompted to restart, click the Restart button. Reboot your computer and then try again install
For additional information on how to update Apple updates, visit the following Apple web site: (

  • Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2008 for Mac
  • Microsoft Excel 2008 for Mac
  • Microsoft Excel for Mac 2011
  • Microsoft Office for Mac Standard 2011
  • Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac 2011
  • Microsoft Word for Mac 2011
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