Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Microsoft Windows Desktop

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

How to Print a Document from Windows

Most of the time, you print documents from within programs. However, Windows offers a few ways to print documents straight from the desktop without first opening the document's program. This is a great way to dash off quick copies of documents, or even to print multiple documents at once.

Find the Document to Print

The first step to printing a document in Windows is to find the document. You can use the My Computer folder, the My Documents folder, or Windows Explorer—whichever you prefer. Here, a document named Resume is selected in a folder named Personal Folder. You learn more about navigating in Windows in Part 2, "Working with Files and Folders."

Figure 3.7

Right-Click and Choose Print

To quickly print the document using your default printer and the default settings of the document's program, right-click the document (or select multiple documents and right-click any one of them) and choose Print from the shortcut menu. Windows prints one copy of each document. Windows opens the associated program just long enough to print the document and then closes the program again. Note that this trick does not work with all programs—just with programs that have included this feature.

Figure 3.8

Open Your Printers Folder

Another way to print a document in Windows is to drag the document onto a printer icon. To perform this action, both the folder holding the document you want to print and your Printers folder must be open. To open the Printers folder, click Start and select Printers and Faxes.

Figure 3.9

Select Documents to Print

Using My Computer or Windows Explorer, find the folder with the document or documents you want to print and select those document icons.

Figure 3.10

Drag a Document to a Printer Icon

Drag any document (or group of documents) from the folder and release it on the icon for the printer you want to use. Windows prints the documents using the default settings for the program that created the documents. This method is the same as using the Print toolbar button mentioned in Task 1, but lets you choose the printer you want to use.

Figure 3.11

Don't See Printers and Faxes on the Start Menu?

If you don't see the Printers and Faxes shortcut on the Start menu, open the Control Panel instead. You'll find the Printers and Faxes folder inside. You can add the Printer and Fax shortcut to your Start menu by right-clicking the taskbar and choosing Properties.

Dragging Multiple Files

You can drag multiple documents to a printer icon in one step: Hold down the Ctrl key while you left-click documents in the My Computer window. Each document you click while holding down the Ctrl key is added to your selection.

Creating a Printer Shortcut on Your Desktop

If you frequently drag files to a printer icon and don't want to keep your Printers folder open all the time, you can create a shortcut to the printer on your desktop: Drag the desired printer icon to your desktop and release it. When Windows offers to create a shortcut for you, click OK.

Adding a Printer to the Send To Menu

An even better solution than adding a shortcut icon to your desktop is to add the shortcut to the Send To menu you can access whenever you right-click a file. This way, you can send a document to any printer just by using the document's context menu. For information on how to add items to the Send To menu, see Part 10, "Changing Windows XP Settings."

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account