Specifying the Default Printer

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 29, 2015)

3

Windows allows you to have any number of printers connected to your system. You can even have printer drivers installed for printers that aren't always available for your system. (This is particularly helpful with laptop or portable computers, as they may use different printers based on where they are being used.)

One and only one of your printers can be defined as the default printer. This printer is the one to which Windows and any programs running under Windows will print, by default. Most programs allow you to pick a printer different than the default, but if you specify your most commonly used printer as the default, then you won't have to continually go through the steps to select that printer when you want to print.

To specify the default printer, follow these steps if you are using Windows 7:

  1. Click Start and then click Devices and Printers. Windows displays the Devices and Printers screen. Note that the current default printer has a green circle next to it that contains a check mark. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The default printer is clearly indicated.

  3. Right-click on the printer you want to use as the default printer. Windows displays a Context menu.
  4. Choose Set as Default Printer from the Context menu. Windows moves the green circle to the printer you specified.

If you are using Windows 8, the beginning steps are a bit different:

  1. Display the Control Panel.
  2. Click the Hardware and Sound category link.
  3. Click the Devices and Printers category link. Windows displays the Devices and Printers screen. As in Windows 7, the current default printer has a green circle next to it that contains a check mark.
  4. Right-click on the printer you want to use as the default printer. Windows displays a Context menu.
  5. Choose Set as Default Printer from the Context menu. Windows moves the green circle to the printer you specified.

That's it; now any programs you start should recognize the newly specified default printer.

 This tip (10721) applies to Windows 7 and 8.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is 8 + 8?

2016-02-21 10:41:47

Hazel Kohler

Hi.

On my home set-up (Windows 10, Office 2013), I have two printers, 1 and 2. I want Printer 1 to be my default. However, every time I print something (doesn't matter what) to Printer 2, it becomes the default and I have to change the default back to Printer 1.

Worse has just started happening: I have recently started to access my work computer from home via GoToMyPC. Every time I do that, the default printer on my home computer changes to the printer in my office!

How do I stop this happening, and keep Printer 1 as my default?


2015-06-30 00:13:27

Steev Gray

Thanks, Allen! I had wondered how to do that.


2015-06-29 11:05:27

Carolyn Hughey

Thank you, thank you! I had a technician checking my disk drive and somehow my printer disappeared and would not let me add it. Your instructions helped and I have my printer back again. Yay!


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