Picture printing: frequently asked questions


Here are answers to some common questions about printing in Windows Photo Viewer.

Picture of the Print Pictures dialog box
Print Pictures dialog box in Windows Photo Viewer
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How do I change print sizes in Windows Photo Viewer?

Windows Photo Viewer offers a list of templates that correspond to the most common print sizes, including 4 x 6, 8 x 10, and wallet-sized photos.

However, most digital pictures don't fit perfectly in a standard-sized print, so you might end up with blank space around the edges. To avoid this, you should crop your photo to a standard size and then print the cropped version with Windows Photo Viewer. Most image-editing programs—including Windows Paint—have the ability to crop. (For more information, see Crop a picture using Paint.)

What happens if I try to print a single picture on a template with room for several pictures?

To save ink, Windows prints only what you tell it to print. So if you try to print a single 4 x 6-inch picture on a page with room for three pictures, you'll see your photo surrounded by a lot of white space.

Can I print several different pictures on a single page?

Yes. To print several smaller pictures on one page, right-click the pictures you want, and then click Print. You'll see a preview of your picture in the Print Pictures dialog box. Depending on the number of pictures you're printing, you might use more than one sheet of paper. (For more information, see Print a picture.)

What does the "Fit picture to frame" option do?

Digital pictures often don't match standard print sizes. If you select the Fit picture to frame check box, Windows will enlarge the image enough to make sure it fits the proportions you specified.

Illustration showing how Fit picture to frame affects printed pictures
Before and after using Fit picture to frame

The only drawback to using this option is that part of the picture will extend beyond the frame and won't be printed. You can always use an image-editing program such as Paint to crop the photo yourself. (For more information, see Crop a picture using Paint.)

Why do settings such as paper size and print quality change from time to time?

By default, only the combinations of paper size, paper type, and print quality that give you the best results are displayed in the Print Pictures dialog box.

You can turn off this safeguard to see all the options and combinations, even if they might not print well. To do this, click Options on the lower-right corner of the Print Pictures dialog box, and then clear the Only show options that are compatible with my printer check box.

What's a contact sheet?

A contact sheet is a page containing smaller versions of your pictures that you can print as a visual reference. To learn about contact sheets and how they're useful, see View and print picture thumbnails.

How does paper type affect my printing results?

The type of paper that you use to print your pictures could be the single most important factor in determining print quality. You might use plain paper or inkjet paper for routine printing, but to make a high-quality print suitable for framing, you should use a premium glossy or matte photo paper. For best results, be sure to match the paper type option with what you have in the printer.