Home > MFC, Windows API > Working with a printer in windows

Working with a printer in windows

After going through this post, you should be having your first printed page, that you printed through code like me!

There are a set of API’s provided by Microsoft for working with printers. Some functions are listed below…

  1. GetDefaultPrinter
  2. SetDefaultPrinter
  3. OpenPrinter – Returns a handle for a given printer name
  4. ClosePrinter – Use this instead of CloseHandle
  5. GetPrinter – Returns printer details based on the level that you have chosen
  6. CreateDC – Create a printer DC to draw onto it, windows works with devices using device contexts as you should be knowing
  7. StartDoc – Start fresh document
  8. StartPage – Start a page
  9. EndPage – End a page
  10. EndDoc – End of document

I’ve used these functions in this function that I am demonstrating here, it’s well commented so should be easy for you to understand.

void PrintTest( LPCTSTR lpctszStringToPrint )
{
    ASSERT( lpctszStringToPrint );
    // Get default printer name
    TCHAR szDefPrinterName[MAX_PATH] = { 0 };
    DWORD Size = MAX_PATH;
    GetDefaultPrinter( szDefPrinterName, &Size );

    // Get a handle to default printer by passing it's name to OpenPrinter
    HANDLE hPrinter = NULL;
    VERIFY( OpenPrinter( szDefPrinterName, &hPrinter, NULL ));

    // Get printer information, like driver name and port number
    LPPRINTER_INFO_2 pPrnInfo2 = 0;
    Size = 0;
    // First get size to be allocated
    GetPrinter( hPrinter, 2, NULL, 0, &Size );
    // Allocate based on returned size
    pPrnInfo2 = (LPPRINTER_INFO_2)new BYTE[Size];
    // Now get real information
    GetPrinter( hPrinter, 2, (LPBYTE)pPrnInfo2, Size, &Size );

    // Prepare a document information structure for our document
    DOCINFO DocInf = { 0 };
    DocInf.cbSize = sizeof( DocInf );
    DocInf.lpszDocName = _T( "Test doc" ); // Name of document

    // We use CreateDC to create a printer dc by passing
    // device name of our default printer
    CDC dcPrn;
    VERIFY( dcPrn.Attach( CreateDC( pPrnInfo2->pDriverName, pPrnInfo2->pPrinterName, pPrnInfo2->pPortName, pPrnInfo2->pDevMode )));

    // Start printing stuff //
    StartDoc( dcPrn, &DocInf );// Fresh document
    StartPage( dcPrn ); // Fresh page
    // Draw a sample string
    dcPrn.TextOut( 5, 5, lpctszStringToPrint, _tcslen( lpctszStringToPrint ));
    EndPage( dcPrn );// Done with this page
    EndDoc( dcPrn );// Done with this document
    // End printing stuff //

    // Free allocated buffer
    delete [] LPBYTE( pPrnInfo2 );
    // Note: always pair OpenPrinter and ClosePrinter, do not use CloseHandle for
    // closing opened printer handle
    ClosePrinter( hPrinter );
}// End PrintTest

// The calling part
int main()
{
   PrintTest( _T( "Hello Mr. Printer, this is my first page, thanks to Nibu."));
}

You should be having a printer for testing this 😉 , if you do have one then check out 🙂 . As always these are just basic principles to get you going. The whole printer thingie is worth a book! This much should get you going. All the best!

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