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Printers come in a variety of general types with a variety of features available. You must know what your printer can do!
Ink Jet vs. Laser
The most common types of printers for home, school, and small business are ink jet and laser printers. Both can produce high quality print-outs. A standard ink jet prints in color. A standard laser printer does not. Color laser printers are much more expensive than ink jet printers!
The list of printers that have been installed on the computer is in the Printers or Printers and Faxes group in the Control Panel. Some of these may be virtual printers, meaning that there is no hardware there at all.
To open the printers group:
The Print dialog also lists the installed printers.
The list of printers may include printers that are not actually connected to the computer or the network. Some may not be actual pieces of hardware at all. This can be confusing!
Default printer: Marked with a check. This printer is used when you do not pick a specific printer from the list.
Shared printer: An printer icon with an open hand on it shows that the printer is shared. That means that it is available to other computers on the network but is connected to a particular computer.
Network printer: A printer connected directly to the network. The printer icon has a network cable under it.
Unconnected printer: A grayed out printer icon means that the printer is not currently connected to the computer.
Printer that is not accessible from your computer: You may have a printer installed that cannot be connected to your system at all. (This seems to be really hard to do with WinXP.)
Not-really-a-printer: The list of printers can also include virtual printers, which are not physical devices. For example:
Check carefully to be sure you send your print job to the right printer!
Controlling a Printer: Printer Properties Dialog
The features of your printer are managed from its Properties dialog.
You open this dialog by right clicking on the printer's icon in the Control Panel group and selecting Properties.| | or
What you see in the Printer Properties dialog will vary greatly,
depending on the brand and features of your printer.
Controlling a Printer: Document Properties Dialog
Confusion: In a Print dialog, there is a Properties button. It does not open the full Printer Properties dialog. Instead it opens a Document Properties dialog, which allows you to manage features of the printer that affect your particular print-out.
You should expect your printer to let you choose Portrait or Landscape orientation, a print quality, and what media you will be printing on (i.e. paper, envelope, transparency, card stock, etc.). Not all printers can handle all kinds of media!
Check what media your printer can handle BEFORE you buy greeting card stock, photo paper, etc!
You can also open the Document Properties dialog from the Printer
Properties dialog, but it is called different things by different printers.
In the illustration above you would use the Printing Preferences... button
~~ 1 Cor. 10:31 ...whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. ~~
Last updated: 30 Apr 2012