Printing a text file

Posted on 1999-01-06
Last Modified: 2013-11-20
How can I send a text file directly to a printer from inside my program?  I will let the user select the printer using the standard printer dialog box.
Question by:scs1
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Expert Comment

ID: 1327318
Use the C function mktemp() to create a unique filename.
Copy the file to be printed to this unique filename.
Use the API ::SpoolFile() to print the file

Accepted Solution

ATucker earned 50 total points
ID: 1327319
Here's the code I've used to do this in the past....

// get the file name from somewhere...

hFile = OpenFile (szFileName, (LPOFSTRUCT)&OfStruct, OF_READ);
                if ( !hFile )
                  MessageBox (hwndExtension, "Error opening file.", "File Open Error", MB_OK | MB_ICONEXCLAMATION);
                fstat(hFile, &FileStatus);
                /* only allow files <= 64K */
                if ( FileStatus.st_size > 64000 )
                  MessageBox (hwndExtension, "File is too large. (Must me less than 64000 bytes)", "File Size Error", MB_OK | MB_ICONEXCLAMATION);

                /* Allocate edit buffer to the size of the file + 1 */
            szTextBuffer = (char *)malloc(((int)FileStatus.st_size + 1));
            if ( szTextBuffer == NULL )
                  MessageBox (hwndExtension, "Could not allocate buffer to read file.", "Memory Allocation Error", MB_OK | MB_ICONEXCLAMATION);

             IOStatus = read(hFile, szTextBuffer, (unsigned int)FileStatus.st_size);
            if ( IOStatus != (int)FileStatus.st_size )
               MessageBox (hwndExtension, "Error reading file.", "File Read Error", MB_OK | MB_ICONEXCLAMATION);
            // get an HDC to the default printer            
            // NOTE: You can replace this with however you want
            // to select a printer...    
            hdcPrinter = GetDefaultPrinterDC();
            if ( hdcPrinter == 0 )
               MessageBox (hwndExtension, "Must have a default printer installed.", "Printer Error", MB_OK | MB_ICONEXCLAMATION);

            di.cbSize = sizeof(DOCINFO);
            di.lpszDocName = szFileTitle;                                    
            di.lpszOutput = NULL;
            if ( StartDoc(hdcPrinter, &di) == SP_ERROR )
               MessageBox (hwndExtension, "Error starting print job.", "Print Job Error", MB_OK | MB_ICONEXCLAMATION);

            PrintBuffer(hdcPrinter, szTextBuffer);
            if ( EndDoc(hdcPrinter) < 0 )
               MessageBox (hwndExtension, "Error ending print job.", "Print Job Error", MB_OK | MB_ICONEXCLAMATION);


   Return an HDC for the default printer in the WINDOWS.INI file
   Stolen form Petzold's Programming Windows 2ed. pg. 721
HDC GetDefaultPrinterDC(void)
   char szPrinter[80];
   char *szDevice, *szDriver, *szOutput;

   GetProfileString("WINDOWS", "DEVICE", ",,,", szPrinter, 80);
   szDevice = strtok(szPrinter, ",");
   szDriver = strtok(NULL, ",");
   szOutput = strtok(NULL, ",");
   if ( !szDevice || !szDriver || !szOutput )
      return 0;
      return CreateDC( szDriver, szDevice, szOutput, NULL );

   Print the passed text buffer to the passed printer DC.
   NOTE: the passed szBuffer is probably trashed by strtok and shouldn't
   be relied upon after printing.
   Basic idea stolen from Petzold's Programming Windows 2ed. pg. 757
void PrintBuffer(HDC hdcPrinter, char *szBuffer)

   int yChar, nCharsPerLine, nLinesPerPage, nTotalLines, nPage, nLine, nLineNum = 0;
   int nTotalPages;
   char *pBuffer;
   nTotalLines = CountNewLines(szBuffer);
   if ( nTotalLines == 0 )
   GetTextMetrics(hdcPrinter, &tm);
   yChar = tm.tmHeight + tm.tmExternalLeading;
   nCharsPerLine = GetDeviceCaps(hdcPrinter, HORZRES) / tm.tmAveCharWidth;
   nLinesPerPage = GetDeviceCaps(hdcPrinter, VERTRES) / yChar;
   nTotalPages = (nTotalLines + nLinesPerPage - 1) / nLinesPerPage;

   pBuffer = strtok(szBuffer, "\n");   // get the first line
   for ( nPage = 0; nPage < nTotalPages; nPage++ )
      for( nLine = 0; nLine < nLinesPerPage && nLineNum < nTotalLines; nLine++, nLineNum++ )
         if ( pBuffer == NULL )  // stupid sanity check
         // kill CR chars  
         if ( strlen(pBuffer) && pBuffer[strlen(pBuffer)-1] == '\r' )            
            pBuffer[strlen(pBuffer)-1] = 0;      
         TextOut(hdcPrinter, 0, yChar * nLine, pBuffer, strlen(pBuffer));
         pBuffer = strtok(NULL, "\n"); // get the next line            
      Escape(hdcPrinter, NEWFRAME, 0, NULL, NULL);
      if ( pBuffer == NULL )  // stupid sanity check


   Count the number of newlines in the buffer.
int CountNewLines(const char *szText)
   int TotalLines = 0;
   size_t i;
   for(i = 0; i < strlen(szText); i++)
      if ( szText[i] == '\n' )
   return TotalLines;  


Author Comment

ID: 1327320
it looks like a may not need this option anymore.  However, thanks for the help.  It seems to be very detailed.  I did cut and past the code and there seems to be some missing declarations.  Thanks for the help

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