How to print a document, picture, or another file

Updated: 08/08/2017 by Computer Hope

Canon printerEach file and document, as well as the programs used to open them, are different. Therefore, we are only able to give a basic overview of steps in printing. These steps are a general guideline and may not apply to the document or file that you are trying to print. That being said, many programs have adopted a standard method of printing.

Note: Before proceeding, make sure your printer is turned on and has been installed and configured.

Steps on printing a document, picture, or another file

Tip: Before trying any of the steps below, a fast way of printing a file in most programs is to use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+P on a PC or Cmd+P on an Apple computer.

  1. Open the document or file you want to print.
  2. At or near the top of the program window, look for a print icon that should resemble any of the below icons.

Print icons

As can be seen in the picture above, each of the icons should resemble a printer with a piece of paper coming in from the top or bottom.

- OR -

  1. Open the document or file you want to print.
  2. In the top portion of the window of the program or browser you are using, the File menu is typically located in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.
  3. If you have just clicked File, select Print from the drop-down menu.
  4. Either option opens a Print properties window or automatically starts printing the document or file.
  5. If the Print properties window is showing, you can specify additional printing options, such as how many copies you want or which specific pages you want to print. Once you've selected the options, click Ok or Print to start the printing process.

Printing selected text or picture from an Internet web page

For printer-friendly pages like Computer Hope, when you print a page, all navigation menus and other non-important sections are automatically removed. For those times you come across a web page that is not printer-friendly or if you only want to print a section of a page or picture, follow the steps below.

Tip: If there are several sections of text or images you want to print at the same time, it may be easier to copy the text or picture from the web page and then paste it into a document. Once everything has been gathered into a single document, you can print that document to print everything at once.

Print a selection of text

All browsers support the ability to print selected text. Highlight the text you want to print on the page and press Ctrl+P on a PC or Cmd+P on an Apple computer to open the print options. In the print options window, select "Selection only" or "Selection" from the available options.

Note: You may need to click More settings or Advanced options before seeing the selection option.

Print only a picture from a web page

To only print a picture contained on a web page, we recommend opening the picture by itself. To do this, right-click on the image and select "Open image in a new tab" or "Open image." Once the image is displayed by itself, press Ctrl+P on a PC or Cmd+P on an Apple computer to start the print process. You can try these steps now on the image below.

Computer Hope

When I print it is saving to a file and not printing

A computer is capable of having multiple printers installed on a computer. Some printers that may be installed may act as a save to file or PDF function, which save anything printed to a file instead of a printer. If you've installed any program with these capabilities, your default printer may have been changed. If you want to print, make sure you are selecting the correct printer before starting to print. You can also change the default printer so that the correct printer is selected each time you print.

I cannot print because other print jobs are waiting to print

If the printer is not turned on, online, or ready, all print jobs are sent to a print queue and wait until the printer is ready. Once the printer is ready, all available jobs should resume. If the jobs do not resume, either the printer is not ready, or there is another problem. You can test for a problem by either restarting the print job canceling all other print jobs and then trying again.

Note: If you are trying to print to a network printer, you cannot print unless the printer is online. If the printer is turned off, not connected to the network, or there is another network related issue, the printer is shown as offline.

If you are still unable to print

Some programs (often only older ones) may also use the keyboard's print screen or prt scrn key to print. If your program does not work with the previous steps, try pressing this key to print the document or file.

Finally, if you're able to locate the print option, but it is grayed out, or you receive an error, it is likely you have problems with the printer or its drivers.

Note: In some rare situations a program may not have a print option. Although not typical, if you believe your program cannot print try copying what you want to print and paste what you want to print into another program that can print.