Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1.


Troubleshoot printing

Problems printing from Surface can be caused by hardware issues like disconnected cables, software issues like printer settings or compatibility issues.


Check printer compatibility

Use the Windows Compatibility Center to see if your printer is compatible with your Surface. Here’s how:

Enter the name of your printer and tap or click Search. If you don’t remember the whole name, start with the brand and the word printer – you’ll be able to choose your printer from a list.

  • Surface RT and Surface 2: Look for a green check mark Compatible check mark icon in the Windows RT 8.1 column.
  • Surface Pro: look for a green check mark Compatible check mark icon in the Windows 8.1 column.
Note
If you’re still using Windows RT or Windows 8, see Update Surface from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1.

Check your printer set up

Things to check first

Make sure that the:

  • Printer’s electrical cord is plugged into a working electrical outlet. If your printer is plugged into a surge protector or a backup power supply, check to see if that is plugged in and turned on too.
  • Printer cable is connected from your printer to your Surface (for USB printers).
  • Printer is turned on.
  • If it’s a network printer, make sure it’s connected to the network.

Make sure your printer is installed

If you only see an option to print to a file or to an app when you try to print, your printer may not have installed properly. To check your printer installation:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap or click Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, then click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings, then tap or click PC and devices.
Step 3:  Tap or click Devices.

If Surface recognises your printer, it should appear in under Printers. If your printer isn’t listed, tap or click Add a device under Add devices, and select your printer from this list to install it.

Note
For more info about adding printers, including how to add a printer manually, see Add, remove and manage your devices and printers.

For wireless or network printers

  • Make sure you are connected to the network that has the printer. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings to see the network you’re connected to and the signal strength.
Network indicator at bottom of Settings panel

For more info about network connection problems, see Can’t connect to a wireless network?

  • Make sure sharing is turned on, so that your Surface can find and connect to printers or other PCs on your wireless network. For more info, see Find PCs, devices and content on your network. If you’re connecting to a networked printer that’s connected to another PC, make sure that other PC is also turned on and has sharing enabled.
  • If your network printer is shared by another PC, you may be able to connect to the printer by joining a homegroup. See Share files on a home network or your Surface.

For Bluetooth printers

Make sure Bluetooth® is enabled and turned on, and your Bluetooth printer is discoverable. For more info, see Add a Bluetooth device. You can also check the info that came with your printer or go to the manufacturer’s website. Methods for making a printer discoverable can vary widely.

Tip
To help pinpoint whether the issue is a printer problem or a problem with the network or Bluetooth connections, physically connect your printer to Surface to see if you can print that way. See Connect a USB mouse, printer and more for info on how to do this.

Check your default printer setting

Your printer may not be set as your default on Surface. To set the printer you want to use as the default printer:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap or click Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, then click Search.)
Step 2:  In the search box, enter default printer, then tap or click Change default printer.
Step 3:  Press and hold or right-click the printer you want to use, then tap or click Set as default printer.

Check your software

Surface and Windows updates

Installing the latest updates for Surface and Windows can help fix printing issues. With your printer turned on and (connected either with a cable or through a network):

Step 1:  From the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap or click Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the top-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, then click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings.
Step 3:  Tap or click Update and recovery.
Step 4:  Tap or click Check now.
Step 5:  If there are updates available, tap or click View details.
Step 6:  Tap or click to select the ones you want to install, then tap or click Install.
You may need to restart Surface after the updates have been installed.

Printer drivers

Make sure you have the latest drivers installed for your printer.

Surface RT and Surface 2: Windows Update automatically updates drivers for Windows RT. You can’t directly install other drivers from manufacturers.

Surface Pro: If Windows Update can't find a driver for your printer, you can try downloading and installing the driver yourself from the manufacturer's website.

Run a printing troubleshooter

If you still can’t print, use the Printing troubleshooter to diagnose and fix the problem.


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