Be the Master of Your Printer

By: Stephen Bucaro

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Be the Master of Your Printer

By Stephen Bucaro

Sometimes you need a print immediately, other times you
need to continue working with your application while
printing. You can make your printer accommodate your needs
by configuring your printers "Spool Settings" and "Print

An application can transfer its data much faster than any
mechanical printer can create the document on paper. For
this reason, when you print, the data goes to a "spool"
which acts as a buffer between your application and the

If you need a print immediately, you can set the spool to
start printing as soon as it gets enough data to create
the first page of the document. But this forces your
application to wait until that first page is transferred
to the spool.

If you prefer to continue working with your application,
you can set the spool to start printing after it has
received the entire document. This moves the printing
operation to the background.

To configure the printers Spool Setting, select Start |
Settings | Printers. In the Printers window, right-click
on the icon for the printer you want, and in the popup
window select "Properties". In the printers Properties
dialog box, on the "Details" tab, click on the
[Spool Settings...] button.

In the Spool Settings dialog box, set the radio button for
"Spool print jobs so program finishes printing faster".

set the radio button for either "Start printing after last
page is spooled", or "Start printing after first page is

If need a print super fast, you can set the radio button
for "Print directly to the printer". This bypasses the
spool entirely. Note: If the printer is shared, you may not
have the option to print directly to the printer. If you
have the required rights, you can temporarily disable

If the printer is near your computer and you don't want
to be disturbed by printer noise, you can pause the
printer. Right-click on the printer's icon and in the popup
menu click on "Pause Printing". Then when you are ready to
go to break or lunch, click on "Pause Printing" again to
let the printer work while you are away.

If your operating system is Windows 2000 or XP, you can
schedule exactly when the document will print. Pause the
printer before you print the document. Then double-click
on the printer's icon to open the printer's queue window.
Right-click on the name of the document in the queue and
select "Properties" in the popup window. On the "General"
tab, in the "Schedule" section, set the radio button for
"Only from" and set a time interval during which you want
the document to print.

If you have the required rights, rather than schedule when
the document will print, you can set a time interval during
which the printer is available. In the print queue windows
"Printer" menu, select "Properties". In the printers
Properties dialog box, on the "Advanced" tab, set the
"Available" time interval for the printer.

If you want quick access to these various printer
configurations, click on the "Add Printer" icon and use the
"Add Printer Wizard" to install another copy of your
printer. On the "Add Printer Wizard" where you select "Keep
existing driver" or "Replace existing driver", set the
radio button to "Keep existing driver". Then on the
"Printer name:" page, give the printer a descriptive name,
for example "Lunchtime LaserJet".

Then when you print, you can select the desired
configuration from the "Print" dialog box. You can also
create desktop shortcuts to the various configurations.
For example, if you want to print a document while you are
at lunchArticle Search, you can drag the document to the "Lunchtime
LaserJet" shortcut at any time and the print will be ready
when you return from lunch.

You don't have to accept Windows default configurations for
printing. You can have your documents printed immediately
or at a time of your choice. Use the methods described in
this article to be the master of your printer.
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