Applies to

Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro 3, Surface 3, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro.

Applies to

Surface 2, Surface RT.

Applies to

Surface Pro 3, Surface 3, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro.

Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2.

Operating system:

Troubleshoot printing

Find solutions to common printer problems including hardware issues like disconnected cables, software issues like printer settings, and compatibility issues.


If you’ve followed the steps in Print and scan from Surface and you still can’t print, here are some things to try:

Check your printer setup

Things to check first

First, make a few preliminary checks. Make sure that:

  • The printer’s electrical cord is plugged in to a working electrical outlet and the printer is turned on. If your printer is plugged in to a surge protector or a backup power supply, make sure that’s plugged in and turned on, too.
  • The printer cable is connected from your printer to your Surface (for a USB printer), or the printer is connected to your Surface over a wireless connection (network or Bluetooth®).

Make sure your printer is installed

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

Step 1:Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > Devices > Printers and scanners.
Step 2:If your Surface recognizes your printer, it should appear under Printers. If your printer isn’t listed, select Add a printer or scanner under Add printers and scanners and choose your printer from this list to install it.
Note
To learn more about adding printers, including how to add a printer manually,
see Connect to a printer.

For wireless or network printers

  • Make sure you’re connected to the network that has the printer. Select wireless network Wireless network icon to see the network you’re connected to and the signal strength.
  • Network indicator in Wireless Network panel
    To learn more about network connection problems, see Why can’t I get online?

Make sure sharing is turned on, so your Surface can find and connect to printers or other PCs on your wireless 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.

For Bluetooth printers

Make sure that Bluetooth® is enabled and turned on and that your Bluetooth printer is discoverable. To learn more, 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 your 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:Select the search box in the taskbar, enter default printer, and in the search results, select Change default printer.
Step 2:Press and hold (or right-click) the printer you want to use and select Set as default printer.

Check your software

Surface and Windows updates

Installing the latest updates for Surface and Windows can help fix printing issues. Here’s how:

Step 1: Turn on your printer, and make sure it’s connected to your Surface with a cable (for a USB printer) or wirelessly (for a network or Bluetooth® printer).
Step 2: On your Surface, go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > Update and security > Windows Update.
Step 3: Select Check for updates. If updates are available, select Details.
Step 4: Select the updates you want to install, and select Install.
You may need to restart your Surface after the updates have installed.

Printer drivers

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

Troubleshoot printing

Find solutions to common printer problems including hardware issues like disconnected cables, software issues like printer settings, and 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 select 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.
Look for a green check mark Compatible check mark icon in the Windows RT 8.1 column.

Note
If you’re still using Windows RT 8.1, see Get Windows 8.1 RT Update 3.

Check your printer setup

Things to check first

First, make a few preliminary checks. Make sure that:

  • The printer’s electrical cord is plugged in to a working electrical outlet and the printer is turned on. If your printer is plugged in to a surge protector or a backup power supply, make sure that’s plugged in and turned on, too.
  • The printer cable is connected from your printer to your Surface (for a USB printer), or the printer is connected to your Surface over a wireless connection (network or Bluetooth®).

Make sure your printer is installed

If you see only 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, and select Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and select Settings.)
Step 2: Select Change PC settings > PC and devices > Devices.

If your Surface recognizes your printer, it should appear under Printers. If your printer isn’t listed, select Add a device under Add devices, and choose your printer from this list to install it.

Note
To learn more 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 select 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 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. For more info, see HomeGroup from start to finish.

    For Bluetooth printers

    Make sure that Bluetooth® is enabled and turned on and that 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 your 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 select Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and select Search.)
Step 2: In the search box, enter default printer, and from the search results, select Change default printer.
Step 3: Press and hold (or right-click) the printer you want to use, and select Set as default printer.

Check your software

Installing the latest updates for Surface and Windows can help fix printing issues. Here’s how:

Step 1: Turn on your printer, and make sure it’s connected to your Surface with a cable (for a USB printer) or wirelessly (for a network or Bluetooth® printer).
Step 2: On the desktop, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and select Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and select Settings.)
Step 3: Select Change PC settings > Update and recovery > Check now.
Step 4: If updates are available, select View details.
Step 5: Choose the updates you want to install, and select Install.
You may need to restart your Surface after the updates have installed.

Run a printing troubleshooter

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

Troubleshoot printing

Find solutions to common printer problems including 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 models and Surface 3: 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 setup

Things to check first

First, make a few preliminary checks. Make sure:

  • The printer’s electrical cord is plugged into a working electrical outlet, and the printer is turned on. If your printer is plugged into a surge protector or a backup power supply, make sure that’s plugged in and turned on too.
  • The printer cable is connected from your printer to your Surface (for a USB printer), or the printer is connected to Surface over a wireless connection (network or Bluetooth®).

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

If Surface recognizes your printer, it should appear 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.

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. For more info, see HomeGroup from start to finish.

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 tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Search.)
Step 2: In the search box, enter default printer, and tap or click Change default printer.
Step 3: Press and hold or right-click the printer you want to use, and 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. Here’s how:

Step 1: Turn on your printer, and make sure it’s connected to Surface with a cable (for a USB printer) or wirelessly (for a network or Bluetooth® printer).
Step 2: On the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings.
Step 3: Tap or click Change PC settings, and tap or click Update and recovery.
Step 4: Tap or click Check now.
Step 5: If updates are available, tap or click View details.
Step 6: Tap or click to select the updates you want to install, and 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 models and Surface 3: 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.


Troubleshoot printing

Find solutions to common printer problems including 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 models and Surface 3: 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 setup

Things to check first

First, make a few preliminary checks. Make sure:

  • The printer’s electrical cord is plugged into a working electrical outlet, and the printer is turned on. If your printer is plugged into a surge protector or a backup power supply, make sure that’s plugged in and turned on too.
  • The printer cable is connected from your printer to your Surface (for a USB printer), or the printer is connected to Surface over a wireless connection (network or Bluetooth®).

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

If Surface recognizes your printer, it should appear 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.

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. For more info, see HomeGroup from start to finish.

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 tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Search.)
Step 2: In the search box, enter default printer, and tap or click Change default printer.
Step 3: Press and hold or right-click the printer you want to use, and 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. Here’s how:

Step 1: Turn on your printer, and make sure it’s connected to Surface with a cable (for a USB printer) or wirelessly (for a network or Bluetooth® printer).
Step 2: On the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings.
Step 3: Tap or click Change PC settings, and tap or click Update and recovery.
Step 4: Tap or click Check now.
Step 5: If updates are available, tap or click View details.
Step 6: Tap or click to select the updates you want to install, and 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 models and Surface 3: 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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