Print in Windows 8

We show you how to print in Windows 8. How to install and set up a printer, and how to print from desktop software and from Windows apps. Our guide to printing on Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows RT.

Of course it should be easy. And in many cases it is. But simple is only simple when you know how. And there are enough quirks in Windows 8 to make printing an occasionally tricky process. Here is our guide to printing in Windows 8. (See also: Group test: what's the best inkjet printer?)

How to print in Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows 8.1

To print from most Windows Apps you'll use the Devices charm to print. Far more likely you'll be using a desktop app. In this case you must use the printing options that are built into that app - if indeed such options there are.

Print in Windows 8 from desktop software

Let's take the more likely option first, and look at printing from desktop software in Windows 8. Presuming you are in a desktop application, such as Word or Photoshop. Each program can set its own method via which you can print, but most follow some common themes. In most cases, go to File, Print, and you can print. A similar number of desktopo programs support Ctrl and P as a shortcut - just hold down those two keys together.

One final, less usual, option is to look for a print icon or button. Some software makers simplify the print process by putting in place a print button. You'll tend to find that the File, Print and Ctrl+P options also work, but a print icon can be a simpler way of doing things. (See also: How to print over a network.)

Print in Windows 8 from Windows apps

Things work a little different from within Windows apps. In this case you must first open the item you want to print. Then either mouse to the top- or bottom-righthand corner of the screen, or swipe in from the right edge of the screen if you are using a touchscreen device. Tap the Devices charm, and then tap Print. (You would never have guessed that, now would you?)

Ideally you will now see the print settings page. If you receive a message saying This app can't print, the app you're using doesn't support printing. And that is that, I'm afraid. (See also: How to print from your iPhone and iPad.)

Print in Windows 8: settings, selecting/installing a printer

Using either methodology you should now be at a printer settings page. You'll need to choose a printer from the list. In most home setups this will just be your one and only printer. If you can't see the printer you want, or any printer, you may need to install your printer.

In most cases, all you have to do to set up a printer is to connect it to your PC. Simply plug the USB cable from your printer into an available USB port on your PC, and turn the printer on. If you have a wireless printer that hasn't been added to your home network, it's a little more complicsted and you'll need to read the instructions that came with the printer to learn how to add it. If someone else in your home already has a printer installed and has shared it, you can join a HomeGroup and use that printer. To learn more, see HomeGroup from start to finish.

If you are unsuer about any of this you can check by going to the Settings charm, and selecting Change PC settings. Select PC and devices, and then Devices. Your printer should appear under Printers. If it isn't there you need to follow the steps outlined above in order to install it.

Assuming you have a printer installed and ready to go, at this stage you'll see a preview of what you're printing, along with the number of copies and the page orientation on the preview pane.

Choose the paper type, page layout, print orientation, and other output settings. Once you are happy, click Print. (See also: Group test: what's the best multifunction printer?)

Desktop App print