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Double- or single-sided. Grayscale or color. Landscape or portrait.

These are just some of the options you might see when you print. This article describes common Windows printing options and how to select them.

Remember, your printing options depend entirely on the printer model and software application you're using. Consult the manual that came with your printer or program for more details.

Watch this video to learn how to choose print options (1:18)

Printing basics

Printing in Windows is often as simple as clicking the File menu found in most programs, and then clicking Print.

Doing so opens the Print dialog box. This is where you can change basic settings such as what printer to use or how many copies to print. (The dialog box you see might look different from the one shown here, depending on your software and printer.)

Picture of the Print dialog box in WordPad
Print dialog box in WordPad
What you see
What it means

Select Printer

Shows the available printers on your computer. You can also choose to print something like a fax or a Microsoft XPS file. (See XPS documents: frequently asked questions.)

Find Printer

Helps locate network printers. This option is useful in office settings or for home networks. For more information about installing network printers, see Install a printer.

Print to file

Allows you to save a document as a .prn file. This option is useful if you want to print something later, but it doesn't always work with modern USB printers. If you have a USB printer, you might prefer to print to the Microsoft XPS Document Writer. For more information, see Print to the Microsoft XPS Document Writer.

Preferences

Opens the Printing Preferences dialog box, where you can choose options such as paper size and layout.

Page Range

Tells Windows what to print. Click Selection to print only highlighted text or graphics. Click Current Page to print only what you see.

To print part of a document, click Pages and then enter the page numbers separated by hyphens. For example, type 5–7 to print only pages 5 through 7. Some programs let you choose non-sequential pages too. If so, you can type 1, 4, 8 to print only pages 1, 4, and 8, for example.

Number of copies

Print multiple copies of a document, file, or picture. Select the Collate check box to print all pages in a document in order before printing additional copies.

Preferences vs. properties

Every printer manufacturer and software publisher has its own way of doing things. Double-sided or color printing might require you to click a button labeled "Preferences," "Properties," or even "Advanced."

That said, there are two standard printer-related options you'll see frequently: printing preferences and printer properties. Here's what they mean.

Printing preferences

Printing preferences are the options available on your printer.

To open the Printing preferences dialog box

  1. Open Devices and Printers by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then, on the Start menu, clicking Devices and Printers.

  2. Right-click the printer that you want to use, and then click Printing preferences.

  3. Make your choices, and then click OK.

Common choices you'll find in this dialog box include:

  • Page orientation or layout. Choose between tall (portrait) or wide (landscape).

  • Paper or sheet size. Letter, legal, A4, or envelope size are common options.

  • Paper or output source. Selects a paper tray. Printers store paper in different trays.

  • Double-sided (duplex) printing. Print on one, or both, sides of a sheet.

  • Print color. Color or black-and-white (grayscale) prints.

  • Staple. A common option on workplace printers.

Printer Properties

The Printer properties dialog box is typically where you'll find options governing the printer itself—updating drivers, configuring ports, and other hardware-related customizations.

To open the Printer properties dialog box

  1. Open Devices and Printers by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then, on the Start menu, clicking Devices and Printers.

  2. Right-click the printer that you want to use, and then click Printer properties.

  3. Make your choices, and then click OK.

To learn more about printing, see Print a document or file and Print a picture.

To watch another video, see Picture of a Play buttonVideo: In với Windows 7.


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