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When just one document refuses to print

Day Two Hundred:  Wrath
Day Two Hundred: Wrath (Photo credit: DJOtaku)

Printer problems are many, and so are their solutions, but the one I shall describe in this post is pretty unique. In fact, the great King Solomon did not get me a solution to this one, so I had to use my smarts.

The Challenge: Workbook not printing

A client called on me one chilly morning that his excel worksheet refused to print. He uses a HP 3050A J611 printer. Sounds like a pretty easy task, doesn’t it? Just plug in the printer, I told myself, and everything will be alright.

I forgot this was one of my most tech-savvy clients, so I just went there and checked it out. The printer was connected properly. It was online.  Spool service was running properly. Everything seemed alright. But when I print, it sends successfully to the printer, and somehow, it doesn’t seem to get there!

The approach – Beating about the bush

Now what did I do next?

First, I did what everyone else would do – print a test page on the printer itself. It worked. Then I printed a test page from the computer itself. It worked… Hmmm…

Ok, how about printing from another application (I assumed maybe applications were having issues connecting to the spool service, so I printed from my browser). It worked too.

Then I printed a Microsoft Office Word document (I assumed that possibly Microsoft Office was having problems). But it worked too!


So how then would I ask Google to help? I had no idea the search query to use. I tried “excel not printing”, no hope. Then I knew that I was so very on my own on this one.

Okay! Let’s crack this.

Paige, the Evil Printer
Paige, the Evil Printer (Photo credit: Frostey)


How about printing another excel document? I tried that. It worked too! Hmmm…

So the problem lies with the document itself. Now how do I fix an excel workbook that has thousands of data and tens of sheets?

This really looked like a long walk.

I wonder where I got this weird idea to “Inspect” the document. And guess what I found.

The Solution – Bull’s eye

To fix this, I did the following;

1. Inspect the document: You can do this by clicking on the Office menu at the top left, then Inspect Document. Inspect Document is a feature useful for removing hidden data from workbooks especially when you want to share them to multiple users and want to hide personal information.

To do this in Office 2013, just navigate to File>>Info>>Check for Issues>>Inspect Document>>Inspect

2. When I did this, I saw something interesting – Printer path. So I just Removed all properties (meaning I removed all personal information too) and re-saved the document.

3. I retried printing again, and..

Bingo! It worked!

Well, well…. I believe the workbook was pointing to the wrong printer path, but i didn’t really find out before fixing it (I wish I did though, I’d have had more ‘gist’ for you)

I guess sometimes we solve problems without even knowing their real source.

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