Setting Up Printers - Using Windows 8.1: Return of the Start Button (2014)

Using Windows 8.1: Return of the Start Button (2014)

Chapter 4. Setting Up Printers

Printers come in all different types, sizes, and makes. It isn’t possible to cover them all in this guide, but I will attempt to go over the basics that seem to work for most printers.

There are essentially two types of printers: laser and inkjet.

Laser Printers

A laser printer uses a laser to project an image of the page to be printed onto an electrically charged rotating drum. The drum is then coated in toner and burned onto the page. These printers are usually used for high-speed printing of high-quality documents.


The laser printer uses toner cartridges for black and three color cartridges, one for each primary color (yellow, cyan, and magenta). These cartridges can be expensive. Laser printers are good if you do a lot of printing, such as if you run a business, have an office full of computers, or have a large family that all want to print things out from their laptops.


Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers create a digital image by firing droplets of ink onto paper.

These printers can be good for everyday use for printing short documents or a photograph on photopaper.


These printers use a black ink cartridge and a color cartridge and are usually aimed at home users. They are cheaper than laser printers and are good if you want to print photographs, a letter, and so forth.



Most printers connect to your computer using USB. Setup isn’t always the same for each printer, so referring to the setup instructions that come with the printer is a good idea.

To set up printers in Windows 8, insert the setup disk that comes with the printer into your DVD drive; the disk should run and guide you through the process.


I found it best to install the setup disk first, then connect the printer to the USB port.

Accessing Installed Printers

Printing from desktop applications in Windows 8, such as Microsoft Word, works the same as it did in previous versions of Windows, so there is no need to detail it here. However, printing from Windows 8 Metro apps is a little different than in earlier version of Windows, although the process works fine once you get used to it. Let's look at that now. From the Charms Bar, move your mouse pointer to the top-right corner of the screen and select Devices.


Select your printer from the list. Click on the name of the printer that you wish to use.

From the selected printer's Settings screen you can change the various settings, such as number of copies and orientation. Click the Print button to print.