Windows 7 / Getting Started

Printing Preferences

If you find yourself having to change the same page setup settings nearly every time you go to print something, you save can yourself time by changing the setting in the Printing Preferences dialog. These settings are used as the defaults whenever you select a printer in one of your applications.

To change your personal printing preferences for a particular printer, click Start, Devices and Printers. Right-click the printer icon and select Printing Preferences. The number of tabs and the choices they offer vary widely from printer to printer. Describe them in general terms in Table below.

Printing Preferences Tabs

TabWhat It Controls
LayoutLandscape or portrait paper orientation, the number of pages placed on each sheet, and so on.
Paper/QualityBin or feed slot to use, type of paper, and so on.
EffectsPage resizing, watermarks, and so on
FinishingStapling, duplexing (two-sided printing), collating, binding, and so on.
AdvancedPrinter features, color management, and in some cases, paper and layout choices.
ServicesLeads to manufacturer web pages and online services.

If you want to change a printer's default preferences for all users, view its Printer Properties, as described in the next section, and click Printing Defaults on the Advanced tab. This brings up the Printing Preferences dialog, but the settings serve as the default settings for all users. They can then customize their printing preferences from that starting point.

Printer Properties

To make changes to a printer driver or its physical connection to your computer, or to define some of the default settings that will be supplied to every user, click Start, Devices and Printers. Rightclick the printer icon and select Printer Properties. (That's Printer Properties, not just plain Properties.)

A typical printer's Printer Properties dialog box. The settings available vary among printers. Some have more or fewer tabs.

Tip Each time you add a printer, Windows creates an icon for it in the Devices and Printers window. Although each is called a printer, it is actually just a "pointer" to the printer, much the way a shortcut represents a document or application on the Windows desktop. A given physical printer can have multiple icons, each with different default settings. For example, one could be set to print in landscape orientation on legal-size paper, whereas another printer could default to portrait orientation with letter-size paper. Of course, you can always adjust these settings when you go to print a document, but that can get tedious. If you create multiple printer icons for the same printer, with different, descriptive names, you can choose a setup just by selecting the appropriate printer icon.

A printer's Properties dialog box can have any of several tabs. Table below shows the general breakdown. Again, the tabs you'll see can vary depending on the capabilities of your printer.

Printer Properties Tabs

TabWhat It Controls
GeneralThis tab lists the name, location, model number, and features of the printer. From this tab, you can print a test page. You also can click the Preferences button to change your personal printing preferences (the same settings described in the previous section) Some color printers may have settings for paper quality and color control and buttons for maintenance functions on this tab.
SharingOn this tab, you can alter whether the printer is shared with other network users and what the share name is.
PortsOn this tab, you can select the printer's connection port, add and delete ports, and in some cases configure the physical connection itself. This tab also lets you set up additional ports for network-connected printers.
AdvancedThis tab controls time availability, printer priority, driver file changes, spooling options, and advanced printing features such as booklet printing and page ordering. The first two settings are pertinent to larger networks and should be handled by a server administrator.
Booklet printing is worth looking into if you do lots of desktop publishing. Using this option, you can print pages laid out for stapling together small pamphlets.
The New Driver button on the Advanced tab lets you replace the current driver with a better one, should this be necessary.
The Printing Defaults button lets you set the default printing properties supplied to each user. They can then customize them as described in the previous section.
Color ManagementOn this tab, you can set optional color profiles on color printers, if this capability is supported.
SecurityThis tab let you control who has access to print, manage printers, or manage documents from this printer.
Device SettingsThe settings on this tab vary greatly among printers. For example, you can set paper size in each tray, tell Windows how much RAM is installed in the printer, and substitute fonts.
AboutLists the printer's driver components
UtilitiesThis tab, if present, might contain options for inkjet nozzle cleaning, head cleaning, head alignment, and so on.
BluetoothThis tab, if present, contains information about your Bluetooth printer and connection in case you need to troubleshoot connection problems.

Print Server Properties

To define paper sizes or forms, or to change the location of the spooling folder that is used to hold data being sent to the printer, click Start, Devices and Printers. Select any printer icon, and then select Print Server Properties up near the top of the window.

The Print Server Properties dialog box is covered in tutorial 20 because it's mainly a networking topic.

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