How to Set Printer Preferences on Your Windows 10 Laptop

By Nancy C. Muir

If you have a printer connected to your Windows 10 laptop, it’s a good idea to set your preferences. Your printer might have capabilities, such as being able to print in color or black and white or print 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, in the Start menu click Settings  → Devices → Printers & Scanners, and then scroll down and click the Devices and Printers link.

    In the resulting Devices and Printers window, any printers you’ve installed are listed.

  2. 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 Page Setup.

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

    • Color/Grayscale: If you have a color printer, you have the option of printing in color. The grayscale option uses only black ink. When printing a draft of a color document, you can save colored ink by printing in grayscale, for example.
    • Quality: If you want, you can print in fast or draft quality (these settings may have different names depending on your printer’s 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.
    • 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-inch paper (letter sized) in one tray and 8 1/2-x-14-inch (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 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 windows.

There’s a reason why settings in the Printing Preferences dialog box may differ slightly depending on your printer model; color printers offer different options than black-and-white printers, and some printers allow for two-sided printing while others don’t, for example.

Whatever settings you make using the procedure in this task become your default settings for all printing you do. However, when you’re printing a document from within a program — for instance, Microsoft Word — the Print dialog box that’s displayed gives you the opportunity to change the printer settings for printing that document only.