Your Computer Printer’s Control Panel

Every printer has a control panel somewhere on its body. The fancy printers have LCD control panels that display text, or preview and select photos for printing. Less fancy printers may have a control panel of only a couple of buttons. Either way, two important buttons to find or features to access on the control panel are:

  • On-Line or Select: The purpose of On-Line or Select is to tell your printer whether to ignore the computer. When the printer is offline or deselected, the computer can’t print.

    The printer is still on, even when it’s offline or deselected, which is good because you may need to access features, un-jam the printer, or do things that you otherwise can’t do while the thing is printing.

  • Form Feed: The Form Feed button ejects a page of paper from the printer. For example, if you stop printing and only half a page is printed, you can use the Form Feed button to eject the rest of that page. Or, you can press the Form Feed button whenever you want the printer to spit a blank page at you.

If your printer seems to lack a control panel, it’s probably controlled via a software control panel in Windows. This is the printer’s feature and not a part of Windows, so refer to the printer’s manual for details.

All-in-one printers have additional buttons on the control panel — for example, buttons for making copies and scanning. A companion program in Windows probably allows for even greater control over the printer’s abilities.

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