Scheduling the printing of an Excel file which has an add-in from the command line using visual basic scripting (vbs) via wscript

25 August 2009

On a recent project, I was required to print out an Excel-based report which made extensive use of OSIsoft PI DataLink’s Excel Add-in on a scheduled basis (7 am daily).

Unfortunately, Excel does not easily allow for the printing of an Excel file via the command line via switches or parameters when calling Excel.exe (e.g. C:\Windows\MS Office\Excel.exe -print “C:\Reports\My Report.xls”).

I was able to find examples on the Internet which made use of cscript or wscript where one calls VBS code, and where one provides the file name as an argument, for example:

wscript “C:\Data\My Scripts\printXLS.vbs” “C:\Data\My Reports\Daily Analyser Excursion Report.xls”

Note the convention of using “” around full path filenames as they contain spaces.

The file printXLS.vbs would contain something akin to the following code:

Dim XLApp
Dim XLWkbk
Dim ObjArgs

set ObjArgs = wscript.arguments
if ObjArgs.count <> 1 then
wscript.echo “Invalid passed arguments”
end if

Set XLApp = CreateObject(“Excel.Application”)
XLApp.Visible = False

Set XLWkbk = XLApp.Workbooks.Open(objargs(0))
XLWkbk.Close False


Set XLWkbk = Nothing
Set XLApp = Nothing
Set ObjArgs = nothing

The problem I experienced was Excel Add-ins are not automatically loaded in Excel applications created via Automation. This resulted in the Excel file printing but with OSIsoft PI DataLink Excel Add-in functions not being recognised and #NAME! appearing in the relevant cells on my printout.

The solution I found was to explicitly load the Excel Add-in via XLApp.RegisterXLL (“fullpath filename“)

So my VBS file looked like something this:

Dim XLApp
Dim XLWkbk

Set XLApp= CreateObject(“excel.application”)

XLApp.Visible = FalseSet XLWkbk = XLApp.Workbooks.Open(“C:\OSIsoft\Reports\Scheduled\PI Report – Analyzers – Quality Excursions.xls”)
XLApp.RegisterXLL (“C:\Program Files\PIPC\Excel\pipc32.xll”)

XLWkbk.Close False


Set XLWkbk = Nothing
Set XLApp = Nothing

I also wanted to be able to specify the number of copies to print and which printer should be used namely PRC2 in my case. If the printer is not specified then the Windows default printer is used.

I also decided to allow one to specify the Excel workbook and which specific worksheet in the Excel workbook to be printed.

So allowing for parameters the VBS look something like this:

‘Arguments’1 Excel Name e.g. “C:\OSIsoft\Reports\Scheduled\PI Report – Analyzers – Quality Excursions.xls”‘
2 Worksheet Name e.g. “Report”‘
3 Printer Name e.g. “PRC2″‘
4 No of copies e.g. 1

Dim XLApp
Dim XLWkbk
Dim ObjArgs
Dim strFileName
Dim strWorkSheetName
Dim strPrinter
Dim intCopies

Set ObjArgs = wscript.arguments
If objArgs.count <> 4 Then
wscript.echo “Invalid Passed Arguments”
End If

strFileName = objargs(0)
strWorkSheetName = objargs(1)
strPrinter = objargs(2)
intCopies = objargs(3)

Set XLApp= CreateObject(“Excel.Application”)
XLApp.Visible = False
Set XLWkbk = XLApp.Workbooks.Open(strFileName)
XLApp.RegisterXLL (“C:\Program Files\PIPC\Excel\pipc32.xll”)
XLWkbk.PrintOut , , intCopies, , strPrinter
XLWkbk.Close False

Set XLWkbk = Nothing
Set XLApp = Nothing
Set ObjArgs = Nothing

I was then able to use Windows Task Scheduler to call the VBS file to print my Excel files daily.

Categories: Articles
<a href="" target="_self">Bruce Bean</a>

Bruce Bean

Academy and Site Services Manager

Bruce has over thirty years of experience in the consulting, information technology, project management and software development industries. His hobbies include karate, pilates, rebounding, piano and playing pool.

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