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When it's time to print a file, we typically open up that file in its native application and print from there. For example, an Excel spreadsheet we'll open it up in Microsoft Excel and we'll use the print functionality built into the menus of Excel. Same thing goes for a Word document. But we can save ourselves some steps by printing directly from Windows and what Windows 7 will do is temporarily launch the application to print from there to your default printer. Let's test this out with some sample files.
You can see I have got the 09_01 subfolder of the Chap09 folder of the Exercise Files open here. I have got two different types of files. One is a text document, the other a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. So instead of opening up maybe Notepad or WordPad, even Microsoft Word and then opening up this document called VeggieStirfry, I can print directly from Windows Explorer. With the file selected, all I need to do is either click the Print button, which appears on the toolbar. Notice the tooltip is saying it's going to be sent to the printer.
It doesn't say default printer but that's where it's going. Same thing if I click File and choose Print. So you want to be aware of your default printer. To do that, we'll go down to the Windows orb and select Devices and Printers. So here you'll find a list of all the devices connected including under the Printers and Faxes section, if you've got a fax, if you've got multiple printers, you may even see things like an XPS Document Writer, which isn't a printer at all, but rather converts your document to an XPS file that can be printed anywhere.
And you'll notice for me, I've got my HP Deskjet appearing with this green circle and the checkmark in it, meaning it is the default. So to make any printer a default printer just right-click and choose Set as Default Printer. I wanted to go back to my HP, so I am going to right-click it and choose to set it as the default printer. So once you got the correct printer selected, all you need to do is again select the file in Windows Explorer and click Print. Now you may have seen something happened very quickly on the screen.
It looked like Notepad or WordPad launched very quickly temporarily, the document was sent to the printer and then everything closed up. So I didn't have to do that. We'll see it better if we try to print our Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. So I am going to select it. This time I'll go to File and choose Print. That was very fast but our Excel did launch for a split second and my spreadsheet got sent-off to the printer. Once it was sent, everything closed up. Very fast and easy. So you can save some time by not having to open up the application, locate the file, open it up, and then print from there and then close everything down.
Print directly from Windows Explorer and you'll save yourself a number of steps.
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