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"There is a problem with the selected printer" when trying to print in Outlook

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Description of the Problem

You are on a Microsoft Windows-based computer. There are certain e-mail messages you are unable to print in Microsoft Outlook. When you hit Print, a message appears that reads, "There is a problem with the selected printer. You might need to reinstall this printer. Try again, or use a different printer."

This error may occur with every e-mail you attempt to print, or it may only occur with certain ones, while others print without any problems. If it is the latter case, then whether or not you have the problem is correlated with who the message came from. That is, most or all messages coming from a certain person or organization do have the error, but the error rarely or never occurs with messages coming from other parties.

You may have tried reinstalling the printer and/or using a different printer, as the error message recommends, and that did not help.

There can be more than one reason for this problem. To see whether or not the following solution applies to your situtation, perform the following test.

  1. Close Microsoft Word if it is open, then launch a new instance of it and begin a new, blank document.
  2. Switch to Microsoft Outlook. Open an e-mail message that gives you the above error when you try to print it. Press Ctrl-A to select the entire contents of the message and press Ctrl-C to copy the message to the clipboard.
  3. Switch to Microsoft Word. Press Ctrl-V to paste the contents of the clipboard into a new Word document.

If the above test causes the message, "There is insufficent memory or disk space. Word cannot display the requested font," to appear, then the workaround and solution below should resolve your problem.


One of the fonts on your computer has become corrupted, or the Windows font library itself on your computer has become corrupted. The messages that you are attempting to print in Outlook contain a damaged or unregistered font. When you view the message, Outlook seamlessly substitutes a working font, so you are unaware of the problem, but when you attempt to print the same message, it produces the above error.


Before attempting the solution below, please test this workaround. Open one of your problem messages in Outlook. Use the "View in Browser" feature to view the message in your internet browser. In Outlook 2017, "View in Browser" can be found in the "Move" tab of the ribbon, inside an icon with a tooltip that reads "More Move Actions." It can also be invoked by holding the Alt key down and typing HAV. In earlier versions of Outlook, it is under the "View" tab of the ribbon.

Once the message is open in your browser, inspect the text of the message carefully and note any text that appears to be in a different font than it is displayed in Outlook.

Next, go back to the message in Outlook. Press Ctrl-A to select the entire message contents and Ctrl-C to copy it to the clipboard. Close Word if it is open, then create a new, empty Word document and press Ctrl-V to paste the message into it. You should get the "Insufficient memory or disk space" error again. Now scan the document and make a note of all the fonts it uses. Be especially observant of the fonts used by sections of text that appear different when you view the same message in Word, Outlook, and your browser.

When you believe you have identified all of the font or fonts that are causing the problem, proceed to the solution. If you cannot identify them, or if you find that the solution is too difficult or does not work for you, you can print the problematic messages from Word or your browser as an alternative to a permanent solution.


First, follow the procedure in the Workaround section above to identify the fonts that are causing you a problem. Next, before messing with your font library, confirm your findings as follows:

  1. Close all instances of Microsoft Word.
  2. Open Word and launch a new, blank document.
  3. Change the Word font to the font you suspect of being the problem.
  4. Press any alphanumeric key to begin typing.
  5. If the "Insufficient memory or disk space" error occurs, you have found a problem font.

Perform the above steps 1-5 for every font you suspect of being the problem.

Now, you need to repair your font library. Do this with the following procedure:

  1. Open a Windows Explorer window.
  2. Enter \\localhost\c$\Windows\Fonts in the address bar. This will let you see the individual files in your Windows font library, as opposed to having them grouped by font family.
  3. Find the TTF files for the font you are having trouble with. There is usually more than one TTF file for each font because of variations for bold, italic, etc. For example, Arial has four files - arial.ttf (normal), arialbd.ttf (bold), arialbi (bold italic), and ariali.ttf (italic). This is typical, but some fonts have more than four files, and some have fewer (some have only one).
  4. Copy the TTF files to a temporary location, such as your desktop.
  5. Now change the font library to its regular view. Change the location in the address bar to c:\windows\fonts. You should see the fonts grouped by family, possibly with some preview text such as "Abg."
  6. Copy the fonts from the temporary location into the font folder. You may simply drag and drop them, if you wish.

If your Outlook problem was caused by a corrupted font library, the above steps should fix the problem. You should be able to print messages with your problem fonts now. If this did not fix the problem, then the font files themselves are corrupt. You will need to replace those fonts from a backup, from a working computer with the same operating system, by downloading them from the internet, etc.

David Carson
Posted on August 16, 2018
© Copyright Kinetic Computer Services

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