Printing Has Changed In Windows 8: Here’s What You Need To Know

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windows 8 logo   Printing Has Changed In Windows 8: Heres What You Need To KnowPrinting has changed in Windows 8 – there’s now a standard way of printing in every Modern app. However, like many things about Microsoft’s new Modern interface, printing is not immediately intuitive for many users, especially those used to the old way of printing. Printing is still the same on the desktop, so you don’t have to learn anything new for your desktop applications.

Windows 8 also has a new printer driver system that attempts to support more printers with less drivers, reducing the disk space used for printer drivers and eliminating many bloatware services that come with printer drivers for older versions of Windows.

How to Print From Modern Apps

Modern apps don’t have a File menu where you’ll find a Print option, and they don’t have a Print button on their action bars either. To print in a Modern app, you’ll need to use the charms bar.

First, open an app and view the content you want to print, such as a web page in the Modern version of Internet Explorer or a PDF document in the Reader app.

Next, open the charms bar. Either swipe inwards from the right side of your screen, press the Windows Key + C, or move your mouse cursor to the top or bottom right corners of the screen and move the cursor towards the center of the edge of the screen.

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Tap or click the Devices icon once the charms bar appears. (You can also quickly access the Devices charm from anywhere by pressing Windows Key + K.)

windows 8 charms bar devices   Printing Has Changed In Windows 8: Heres What You Need To Know

You’ll see a list of connected printers and other devices you can print to. If the app you’re using doesn’t support printing, you won’t see any printers in the list. You may also see other devices in the Devices list, such as additional monitors connected to your computer.

windows 8 devices list printers   Printing Has Changed In Windows 8: Heres What You Need To Know

Tap the printer you want to print to and you’ll see some basic printing settings. Printer drivers can customize the options that appear here, so you’ll see different options depending on your printer. Tap or click Print to print the document.

You can also tap or click More Settings to view and customized more advanced printer settings, such as the orientation of the document and type of paper you’re using.

windows 8 modern printing settings   Printing Has Changed In Windows 8: Heres What You Need To Know

How To Print From Desktop Apps

You can print from desktop applications like you always have. Just click the File menu and select Print. In applications without a File menu, such as Google’s Chrome browser, you can often click another menu button or right-click the page and select Print.

While you can access the Devices charm from the desktop, it won’t allow you to print from any desktop applications.

windows 8 cant print via devices charm from desktop   Printing Has Changed In Windows 8: Heres What You Need To Know

Connecting To Network Printers

You can add network printers from the Control Panel on the desktop, just as you could in Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows. All printers you add will appear both on the desktop and in the Modern environment.

Click the View Devices and Printers option in the Control Panel window and use the Add a Printer button to add a network printer.

add network printer on windows 8   Printing Has Changed In Windows 8: Heres What You Need To Know

Printing To PDF Files

Windows still doesn’t ship with support for printing to PDF files, although you can still print a document to an XPS file, a proprietary format Microsoft created in an unsuccessful attempt to replace PDF files. You’ll need to download a third-party program if you want to print to PDF files. We’ve had good luck with the free CutePDF Writer in the past.

Once installed, a PDF option will appear in your list of installed printers – both in Modern apps and in desktop apps.

print to pdf on windows 8   Printing Has Changed In Windows 8: Heres What You Need To Know

A New Printer Driver Architecture

As a new version of Windows, Windows 8 comes with more printer drivers integrated. Many printers will work out-of-the-box without you having to install anything.

Windows 8 also uses a new printer driver model that supports a wider variety of printers with fewer drivers. The architecture is simplified, and Microsoft wants printer manufacturers to stop including system services with their drivers, reducing bloatware.

Many printers will work out-of-the-box. This is important, as Windows RT (the ARM version of Windows used for the Microsoft Surface RT and other Windows-on-ARM devices) doesn’t allow users to install drivers or other desktop software, so the only printers that work with Windows RT are the ones that Windows supports out-of-the-box.

Printers can optionally specify a Modern app that will be automatically installed from the Windows Store when you connect them to your computer. Microsoft wants these Modern apps to replace the desktop-based printer utilities, providing a cleaner, more unified experience with standard system notifications for printer events, such as “low on ink” messages. However, few printers support this at the moment. You may have to download and install a software package from your manufacturer’s website to get such features.

microsoft surface rt tablet 3   Printing Has Changed In Windows 8: Heres What You Need To Know

Have you noticed anything else new about printing in Windows 8? Leave a comment and share it!

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25 Comments - Write a Comment



It’s remarkable… here we have machines and systems with orders of magnitude more space in storage and memory (gigs and gigs) than we used to, and we’ve still got people worried about using a few more KB, or even MB, for “essential” services (eh? do people still print anything but their tax returns?…to their virtual PDF printers, of course). (or this an April Fool joke… nahhhhh)


The problem with bloat isn’t the hard drive space (which is at a premium on tablet devices that MS is targeting anyway) the problem is they’re running, eating up ram & CPU cycles. That’s part of why my linux computer on 13 year old hardware & a dozen more programs running runs circles around my XP machine on 5 year old hardware, no bloat.


Clyde Atwood

Thanks for the info! I just upgraded to Windows 8 because my sister bought a new laptop with W8 installed and she needed help learning a “new” OS.


Alan Howlett

“Thanks” Microsoft for changing something without any clear reason. Again. I really “appreciate” how every driver needs to be rewritten for every new operating system, and I just “love it” when I can’t work productively anymore because you’ve moved something to be “helpful”.
Why can’t Microsoft stop changing things without reason?


Agree 100@, Alan Howlett. Windows is going backwards at a rate of knots.

Firefox under Win8 sees NONE of our 4 printers: “Print” brings up a dialog that says no printers are installed, while it’s clear from Control Panel-> Printers that there are 4 printers, and if I try to print in Firefox, Office 2013 no longer sees the printers and I get “Active Directory Services unavailable” if I try to force the Win8 forebrain to see the printers again..

As to the “charms” bar nonsense (seriously – who names this drivel? Hint: there is a real world outside of marketing meetings): if there was ever a thing that was invented with absolutely no consideration of whether or not it resulted in increased ease of use, the “charms” idea is it.

Thank [insert your favourtie Sky Fairy here] that I don’t use Microsoft bloatcrap for my own work (Ubuntu FTW)… but sadly The Lovely is handcuffed to MS’s insecure, shipped-before-proper-testing sludgeware because as a lawyer she can’t get reliable document exchange and version tracking because… wait for it… other people’s MSOffice routinely reformats (and loses track changes) for documents created in non-MS suites.

Win8 is, as a guy from Harvard correctly pointed out, the software you give you worst enemy for Christmas.


Amen, they took a perfectly good tool and turned it into a worthless, dysfunctional toy. When I get the time, I’m ripping this POS out by the roots, was forced to buy this junk OS because that’s all that was available at the time. Need a class action lawsuit against Micro Shaft to make them pay for screwing the public to make millions by selling us athe worst OS since Windows 98 or ME.


Guy McDowell

I’m glad you’re delving into Windows 8 for us all. Maybe I’m just getting old, but I hate that Microsoft changed things so radically.

Nonetheless, I need to learn it, so thank you!


*P* Nayar

i’ve got a boatload of printers that are no longer supported by post-xp versions of windows. wouldn’t it have been great to have standardised drivers?


There are many printers that works in win 7 if you force xp drivers installation and works without problems.

The only problem is that “not certified for…” or “not supported for this os” message.

Other devices works in vista and 7 with xp drivers by doing manual driver installation.


There are many printers that works in win 7 if you force xp drivers installation and works without problems.

The only problem is that “not certified for…” or “not supported for this os” message.

Other devices works in vista and 7 with xp drivers by doing manual driver installation.


Christine St Syr Griffin

I found printing to be actually easier on windows 8, i also use chrome instead of ie and have yet to try and print from anything other than chrome or google. documents and or any word type document has been fairly straightforward also, again I do use google drive and docs for most of my work. thanks for the tips there are several I need to keep in mind if I do run into any issues, christine


Uttam Shrestha

good to know….thanks for the info!


Daniel Joshua

Guys, did you know that Windows 8 runs all OLDER games real smooth.

I tried playing Age of Empires 2 and Populous in a Windows 8 PC and Windows 7 PC

These games gave a colour issues in Windows 7 PC and also requires the user to kill Explorer in order to resolve the issue. While Windows 8 PC ran the game smoothly! No Colour issues!!

I was amazed to see this. Windows 8 has been certainly improved in important fields


Tenwise Temple

The new start screen and desktop app are cumbersome and require extra steps for the user to gain access to anything other than MS suite products or partners. It comes across as an attempt by MicroSoft to carve out territory via start screen apps that point users toward the MS suite of services. I would have thought that all the anti monopoly suits that MS has faced would have given them reason to avoid such steering. Anyway- I see more trouble ahead for this operating system. Oh yeah, almost forgot purchased a new upgrade desktop for my 74 year old mother-in-law and unfortunately it came with 8. Poor judgement in retrospect – she was totally lost until I took a plane in to help her out. Funny thing is the 8 start screen is being totally ignored now and she does everything after launching the desktop tile. Really MS – the 8 start screen this is a serious miss!!!!! Also her Cannon L80 laser printer is now obsolete with no available printer driver from the OEM or MS and of course will require the purchase a new printer. Another Miss by Canon and MS…………Disappointed……..Scrap 8 and go back to what consumers want free choice and functionality……


They’re trying so hard to be IMac wannabe’s and totally missing the boat!!!


Misbah Mashkoor

sup people!!…


Josiah Bacon

Pretty worthless advice. I tried windowes + C and got the “charms bar” howefver devices led me no where useful. I tried windows + K and got even less. My problem is that I use a duplex HP printer. The recto and verso pages do not align properly; they are off center both vertically and laterally, this was never a problem with Windows XP. Microsoft blames HP and HP support is practically as opaque as Microsoft support. The problem is universal accross all apps PDF, Graphics, and Word 2010 all exhibit the same problem. Print preview in Word shows the correct porientation. I find it difficult to believe the problem is with each and every app. I have tried adjusting the printer but nothing happens. I believe the problem is in the OS that is to say Windows 8. As you said they reconfigured the way Windows handles printers and I believe this is just another problem with Windows 8 Microsoft will not own up to.


I agree with the printing issues discussed here. I did some testing on a network running Server 2012. All printers are networked. Some printers are HP, some are Cannon, Brother… There are XP workstations, Win7 & Win8 workstations. I took the same PDF file and tried to print to each brand of printer from each version of OS. All printers printed the PDF fine from the XP & Win7 OS’s. However, when I printed to each of the printers from the Win8 OS’s, the color was dramatically different than the image on the Win8 monitor. I could hold the printed PDF, from the XP/Win7 OS’s, up to the Win8 monitor and the colors are perfect but I can’t get Win8 to produce a proper printed image color scheme on any of the printers. I have actually had the service tech’s out to service the printers, they had no solution for my issue either, I have updated the firmware on the printers and, yes, have the latest drivers installed on the Win8 workstations for each printer. On the flip side of this… I am only having this issue with PDF’s, not Word, not Publisher, not Visio, Chrome, or IE… is this an Adobe/MS issue?


Jan (male)

I have Lexmark X2600 series printer connected to laptop running windows 8. All drivers were easily installed for the printer. I know how to print but the size of the letters is way too small in the printed document as opposed to the size of letters on the screen that is being printed. Not sure how to correct this. Help!! thanks Jan


Rita Johnson

I just got a new laptop with windows 8, I was using Vista for years. I now open a PDF file and cannot figure out how to print it. I am frustrated, there must be a way but darn if I could figure it out. Can someone help me?



We have an HP B210a and Windows 8 recognizes the printer, makes the connection and prints everything but the first page…any ideas?? We have downloaded new drivers after deleting and reading the printer. ??



Windows 8, Epson printer…boarding pass….tiny little print in the corner of the sheet and I cannot find how to change it. Wont download a pdf file from the website, and wont download a pdf reader from the internet either. Rubbish, and absolutely useless to the older computer use ie my mum and now apparently me!



My father in law has a HP OfficeJet J4550 shared on a Win Vista machines and is trying to print from a Win 8 Laptop. Both pcs show the print job in the queue but it never prints. I’m thinking that Vista doesn’t provide the correct driver to the Win 8 machine. Doesn’t seem like an improvement to me.



I’m not happy with the printing with Windows 8. As simple as choosing an option not to print in color is no longer available. Am I missing something because I looked at More settings and the Printer Properties/ I need help with this.



I’m discovering more things as I continue to print. It seems that only the very basic printing options are available. Where is double sided printing, Grayscale, Fast Print?

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