For Seniors: Set Default Printer Preferences in Windows

Your printer might offer you a choice of capabilities — such as printing in color or black and white, printing in draft quality (which uses less ink), or high quality (which produces a darker, crisper image).

  1. To modify these settings for all documents you print, from the Control Panel choose View Devices and Printers (in the Hardware and Sound group).

  2. In the resulting Devices and Printers window, any printers you have installed are listed. Right-click a printer and then choose Printing Preferences.

  3. In the Printing Preferences dialog box that appears, click any of the tabs to display various settings, such as Color or Paper.

    Note that different printers might display different choices and different tabs in this dialog box, but common settings include the following:

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    • Color/Grayscale: If you have a color printer, you have the option of printing in color or not. The grayscale option uses only black ink. When printing a draft of a color document, you can extend the life of your color ink cartridge (which is more expensive to replace or refill than the black one) by printing in grayscale.

    • Quality: If you want, you can print in fast or draft quality (these settings might have different names depending on your manufacturer) to save ink, or you can print in a higher or best quality for your finished documents. Some printers offer a dpi (dots per inch) setting for quality — the higher the dpi setting, the better the quality.

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    • Paper Source: If you have a printer with more than one paper tray, you can select which tray to use for printing. For example, you might have 8 1⁄2 x 11 paper (letter sized) in one tray and 8 1⁄2 x 14 (legal sized) in another.

    • Paper Size: Choose the size of paper or envelope you’re printing to. In many cases, this option displays a preview that shows you which way to insert the paper. A preview can be especially handy if you’re printing to envelopes or label sheets and need help figuring out how to insert them in your printer.

  4. Click the OK button to close the dialog box and save settings and then click the Close button to close other open Control Panel windows.

The settings in the Printing Preferences dialog box might differ slightly depending on your printer model; color printers offer different options from black and white ones, for example.

The settings you make using the procedure in this task will become your default settings for all the printing you do. However, when you’re printing a document from within a program, such as Microsoft Word, the Print dialog box you display gives you the opportunity to change the printer settings for that document only.

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