SOLUTION: “There is a problem with the selected printer” when printing email in Outlook

Today, I encountered an issue that was new to me. A client’s PC refused to print any email within Outlook (in her case, Office 2013 version, but the same problem persisted in Outlook 365 prior to my correcting it). The error message she received was:

There is a problem with the selected printer. You might need to reinstall this printer. Try again, or use a different printer.

The problem persists regardless of which printer is selected—even if it’s a default built-in virtual printer such as Microsoft Print to PDF or the XLS printer. However, it won’t necessarily affect all email messages.

So, what’s the deal? As it turns out, this problem is caused by a corrupted font. Knowing this is half the battle—but unfortunately, it’s only the start of the process you’ll need to follow in order to fix it.

As the folks over at Kinetic Computer Services explain, copying and pasting the entire contents of an affected message into Word (Close Word if open, CTRL+A + CTRL+C to copy, then reopen Word and paste using CTRL+V) will generate a related (but different) error if you wish to confirm that this is actually the case. Word will complain that “There is insufficient memory or disk space. Word cannot display the requested font.”

You might think that simply reinstalling all system fonts would correct this problem, but as I discovered, it sadly does not. The System File Checker also doesn’t fix anything. So, instead, you’re left to identify the affected font on your own and then take action.

What I did was to highlight small sections of an affected email message and copy and paste them individually into a new Word document until the error message appeared. This was much easier than attempting to step through an affected document and identify manually which font might be to blame based on differences in appearance. In my client’s case, it was the Papyrus font that was bad.

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Keep in mind that after the error appears once, you’ll need to close Word to provoke it to appear again. So after the copy/paste of the entire message the first time, close Word, then reopen it before beginning your sectional diagnosis of the email content.

Once you identify the affected font, open a Windows Explorer window and navigate to C:\Windows\Fonts. Search for the font that’s affected, highlight it, and copy it someplace else for backup purposes just in case. Then, simply delete the font from the C:\Windows\Fonts folder. If it’s a critical system font, Windows should automatically replace the file for you. If it doesn’t, try right-clicking the copied file (located outside of the Windows Fonts folder) and choosing Install for all users. It should complain about the font being corrupted, and then install a good version for you automatically.

If all else fails and Windows can’t work this out on its own, find yourself another Windows machine and manually copy the font from there, then install it on the affected machine. Once this is all done, close and reopen Outlook—and the problem is solved!

Disable Google Chrome’s built-in Print Preview

Google Chrome Logo

Got Google Chrome but hate the new Print Preview design? Turn it off!

1) Open Google Chrome, type chrome:flags in the address bar, and press ENTER.
2) Find Print Preview and Disable it.

You need to have the latest version of Chrome (14) for this to be possible.

If you’re also having trouble with the built-in lightweight PDF reader, you can disable that just as easily and likewise enable your favorite replacement plugin (in my case, as much as I hate to say so, I stick with Adobe for all my clients, as it’s just more compatible than any other current solution).

1) Open Google Chrome, type chrome:plugins in the address bar, and press ENTER.
2) Find Chrome PDF Viewer and Disable it.
3) Find your favorite PDF plugin (it should be disabled by default) and Enable it.

Hope this helps!  Chrome is an excellent browser, even as its market share continues to rise (and, inversely, as its level of security drops).  It’s worth making the effort to make it work for you, as it will keep you safer.