Printing is an activity that you will find yourself doing quite often. Since each printer installation is a little bit different, we will not go into detail about all the options that are available, but we will describe some of the basic ones that you should be aware of, and it will be up to you to find how to set them on your particular computer and printer. We will however discuss how to set all of these different options for printing in the ETI computer lab.

Most applications that allow for printing will have an option to do so in their File menu, and some will even have a shortcut button that is often represented by an icon of a little printer such as in Microsoft Word. When you select the print option, the application will take you to the printer settings options for your computer. For some of the options below, you will have to select the printer you want to use from a list, and then select the Properties option for that printer to choose the settings, since not all printers allow the same settings.


Printer settings

Among the general options for printer settings you will find:

  • Paper size
Depending on what you want to print or even which country you are in, you may need to change the paper size. For example, in Europe, A4 is the common size for a 'normal' sheet of paper, but in North America the common paper size is called Letter, and while it is similar in size to A4, it is not exactly the same size.
  • Layout
There are two common layouts for pages:
  • portrait
  • landscape
  • Recto-verso
Printing recto-verso means printing on both sides of a sheet of paper. This is one of the most economical (both in terms of money and space) ways to print, but is often not the default setting on your printer, so you will have to change it manually.
  • Multiple pages per sheet
Similar to recto-verso, you can also print multiple pages on each side of a sheet. This means that the printer will reduce two regular sized pages to fit onto one side of a sinlge sheet of paper. In most cases, this changes the layout of the page. If you print two portrait pages, they will be printed in the portrait orientation, but side by side on a sheet in landscape form. Note: not all printers support this option.
  • Subsets of pages
Most applications let you print only a subset of the pages of a document. For example, for a document that is 100 pages long, you can choose to print only pages 23-39, or 23-39 and 41-48 etc.
  • Number of copies
You can select the number of copies of a document that you want to print.

Many applications (including Web browsers) let you preview how a document will look once it's printed. You should get into the habit of using the preview option before you print a document to make sure that the document will be printed the way that you expect it to. The Preview option is usually found in the File menu, just above or below the Print option.

Note: when you open a .pdf document from a webpage, it is best to download it onto your computer first, then open it and print it from within the application that you used to open it, rather than printing directly from the web.

At the ETI:

When you select the option to print on the computers at the ETI, you will get a window that looks similar to the one below.

In this window you can choose the printer on which you want to print (it is best to leave the default printer since it's usually the one closest to the computer that you are working on), select the number of copies to print, choose how many pages per sheet to print, and whether to print all of the pages in a document, or only a subset.

To change the other options, you need to access the properties of the printer. To do this, click on the Properties button in the window above (top right). In the Finishing tab (shown below) you will see the options to print recto-verso and to change the layout.

In the Paper/Quality tab (shown below) you will see the option to change the paper size.

Once you have made all of the changes that you want, click on the OK button, and you will be taken back to the first screen. Click on the OK button on that screen to start printing.

Note: If there are other people trying to print at the same time as you, what you send to the printer may not appear immediately. Be patient, don't try to resend the print job several times one right after the other. Also, don't change the options on the printer (the machine) itself, otherwise it might get blocked.

Reminder: At the ETI you have a quota for the number of pages you can print, and each page that you print costs you money. See the monitors in the computer lab to find out how to 'recharge' your quota.