Imagine this: It’s the 11th hour and you finally finished your thesis for your graduate degree. You breathe a deep sigh of relief before sending your document to the print queue and put your hands behind your head to relax. As you take a look at the time, you realize you only have ten minutes to hand-deliver your document to your professor’s office.
Your printer starts processing your document and begins printing, but it’s agonizingly slow. You watch as the printer spits out each page, taking its sweet time getting through your 45-page document as you begin to panic.
How do you avoid this issue?
The key to getting all of your documents printed out - and printed out fast - is knowing the correct printer settings to use so you get your projects before you can say, “Where’s my printout?”
Keep reading for tips to fast print on your Windows PC.
How to change printer default settings to enable fast printing
For Windows PCs, you should set up your HP printer
using the included HP software. During installation, you will install a print driver which allows you to use all of the different features your printer supports. This driver provides you with the ability to change color, paper size, quality settings, and more.
Note: Some options and settings are not available on all print models, so keep that in mind when you evaluate what print features are available. In fact, knowing which features you want is one of the things you should have in mind when shopping for a printer.
How to open printer settings
1. Open the photo or text document on your PC, click the File button or the menu icon, then press the Print button
- A Print or Print Pictures will open with your general printing settings. This is where you can pick the printer you’d like to send the print job to.
Next, open Document Properties
or Printing Preferences
from the printer settings window to see your current print driver settings. The actual name of the button or link changes based on which application you’re printing the document from.
- Microsoft Word: Choose Printer Properties
- Paint and WordPad: Choose Preferences
- Windows Photo Viewer: Press Options which is located in the bottom right, then press Printer Properties
- Adobe PDF Reader: Press Properties
3. To see the settings press the tabs available at the top of the print window. For access to more advanced settings, press the Advanced button that you can find under the Layout tab.
4. Once you understand how to open up your printer settings, you can change certain items within the menu to allow for fast print capabilities.
5. To change the print quality and get faster results, you’ll want to navigate to Quality Settings within your print window and change the Print Quality setting.
Will this change the default settings?
Use these instructions when you want to change the setting for a particular document or photo. Keep in mind, though that once this print is done, the settings will revert to the default settings the next time you open the printer interface unless you save this configuration as a preset or set them as a default.
6. While the print dialogue box is open for your program, simply click the button to make this your default.
7. If you want several “default” options, then you can name them as presets for easy toggling between them each time you print.
Most printers will revert to the last used setting or the default setting, depending on the make and model, so make sure the settings you use most - like draft media quality - and your most-used paper size are the ones you save after following our instructions.
And remember, it’s possible to have a number of different presets saved so you can switch easily between high-quality photos and faster draft documents.
Changing quality settings for fast printing
If you’re trying to print out text-only documents, those usually only need normal or lower quality settings. For text documents, you can enable quick print functions by using settings like Draft or FastDraft. Photos, on the other hand, typically need higher quality settings to get better results.
What is print quality?
Print quality is a feature that is measured in dots per inch or DPI. A higher DPI is great for more visually-intensive, detailed prints. Unfortunately, it can also mean that your printer will be slower and use up more ink or toner
Your printer specifications for print speeds are measured in pages per minute. Of course, not all printers are the same so print quality speeds will vary among different printer models.
Here are some examples of print quality modes you may see as options on your printer model:
- Draft: This mode has the lowest DPI and it’s generally only used when ink cartridge levels are waning or if high-quality prints aren’t necessary for a printout
- Economode: This mode eats up less toner per page and reduces print quality for printing drafts or proofs
- FastDraft: You can expect draft quality documents generated at the fastest possible printing speed supported by your device
- FastRes: With this option, you can choose a DPI (use a lower DPI than the default setting for fast print, for example)
- Normal or Everyday: This is generally the default quality setting that will work for the majority of your print jobs
- Best: A higher level DPI than the normal setting
- Max DPI: This is the highest DPI setting available, it’s great for photo printouts but significantly slower than all the other modes
You can find these settings in the Quality Settings or Media menu on the Paper/Quality tab.
Does changing color settings help with fast printing?
If you’re printing out documents that aren’t simply black and white, there are also ways to change the printer color settings so you can enjoy quick print capabilities.
Here are some settings you can change that may affect print speed:
- Advanced color settings: With this setting, you can adjust saturation, brightness, and tone or adjust the levels of each individual color used by the printer
- Dry time: By shortening the dry time, you can speed up color printing although you may experience color bleed onto the next page. This is a good option if you are printing out pictures that aren’t overly saturated
- Ink volume: By changing the ink volume, you can adjust the amount of ink printed on the page. The lower the ink volume, the faster the ink will dry - and the faster you’ll get your printout
- Overspray: If a portion of an image or photo is going to be cut off, you can decide how much of the original image goes beyond the edge of the paper (aka the overspray). This option doesn’t affect fast printing but it does affect the end product and might be important for your printout
By adjusting the dry time and ink volume, you can speed up the printing process and get your colored printout with lightning-fast speeds.
Other variables that impact printing speed
If you have a printer that’s dusty and ancient, it simply won’t be as fast as newer printer models
. In addition, if speed is important to you, you should always check out a printer’s pages-per-minute speed so you choose the printer that complements your lifestyle and printing requirements.
About the Author
Michelle Wilson is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Michelle is a content creation specialist writing for a variety of industries, including tech trends and media news.