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Microsoft KB Archive/254386

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Knowledge Base

Visio5: Cannot Print a Visio File Received from Another Visio User

Article ID: 254386

Article Last Modified on 11/25/2003


  • Visio 5.0 Standard
  • Visio 5.0 Professional
  • Visio 5.0 Technical
  • Visio 5.0 Enterprise

This article was previously published under Q254386


When you print a Visio drawing to a printer other than your Windows default printer, save your drawing, and send the drawing to a recipient, the recipient may not be able to print the drawing.

NOTE: Your default printer is the printer that appears in the Print dialog box when you click Print on the File menu. To change your default printer, click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers. Right-click the printer, and then click Set as Default Printer.


By default, Visio files use the Windows default print settings as their print settings. However, when from your Visio program, you use the Print dialog box to select a different printer and then save your drawing, the drawing file retains the new print settings. These new print settings are passed along with the file. The recipients of the file will not be able to print it unless they either have the same printer or specify a new one.

NOTE: The Visio file stores the Windows default printer setting, not the actual printer selected as the Windows default. If you save a Visio file with your default Windows printer selected, and then send the file to someone with a different printer set as their Windows default, he or she can print the drawing.

For example, an employee in the Information Technologies (IT) department sets a shared laser printer as his Windows default printer. While he prints most drawings on the laser printer, he uses a plotter to print network drawings. After creating a large Visio network drawing, he prints it to the plotter, saves it in Visio, and then sends the drawing via e-mail to a colleague who does not have access to the plotter. When his colleague tries to print the diagram, Visio cannot print it because the plotter--not the Windows default printer--is specified in the drawing file.


To work around this behavior, use either of the following methods:

  • If you want to send a Visio drawing to someone, specify the Windows default printer as your Visio printer. By specifying your Windows default printer as the printer in this Visio file and then saving the drawing, you eliminate the need for recipients to change print settings after they receive the file.
  • If you receive a Visio drawing from someone, check the file's print settings before printing the drawing. Adjust the settings as needed. After you adjust the settings, save the Visio file.

To change your Windows default printer:

    1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
    2. Right-click the printer that you want to specify as the default printer, and then click Set as Default Printer.


You can print Visio drawings to any printer available to you in Windows. To change your target printer, click Print on the File menu, and then select the printer that you want.

To learn more about setting up a printer in Windows or selecting a printer in Windows, refer to your Windows documentation.

Keywords: kbprint KB254386