How to print a document, picture, or another file

Updated: 02/01/2021 by Computer Hope
Canon printer

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


Before proceeding, make sure your printer is turned on, and is installed and configured correctly. See: How to set up and install a computer printer.

Steps on printing a document, picture, or another file


Before trying the steps below, consider using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+P on a PC or Command+P on an Apple computer.

  1. Open the document or file you want to print. The document could be opened in a word processor like Microsoft Word or a text file could be opened in a text editor like Notepad.
  2. Near the top of the program window, look for a print icon that should resemble any of the below icons. As seen in the picture below, each of the icons resembles a printer with a piece of paper.

Print icons

- OR -

  1. Open the document or file you want to print.
  2. In the top portion of the program window or browser you're using, open the file menu by clicking File and then Print from the drop-down menu.

Once either of the above options is done, a Print properties window appears and lets you specify additional printing options (e.g., number of copies). 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, all navigation menus and other non-important sections are automatically removed when you print a page. If the web page is not printer-friendly or you only want to print a section of a page or picture, follow the steps below.


To print only sections of text or images, it may be easier to copy the text or picture, and paste it into a document. Once all information is gathered into a single document, you can print it out. See: How to copy text and images from a web page.

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 Command+P on an Apple computer to open the print options. In the print options window, select "Selection only" or "Selection" from the available options.


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 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 Command+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's saving to a file and not printing

A computer is capable of having multiple printers installed on a computer. Some printers can act as a save to file or PDF function, which saves 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.


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 can locate the print option, but it's grayed out, or you receive an error, it's likely you have problems with the printer or its drivers.


In some rare situations, a program may not have a print option. If so, you try copying and pasting the information you want to print into a document in another program, and print it that way. For help with copying and pasting, see: How to copy and paste text to a document or another program.