Windows 8 app printing features explained

Print is not dead, at least not yet. That means people will still want to print out certain documents. Microsoft is giving Windows 8 app developers a way to add printing features to their software, even from touch screen user interfaces.

In a new post on the official Windows 8 app developer blog, Microsoft says, "To print in Windows 8, you swipe from the right-side of the screen to see the charms. If an app supports printing, you will see all the printers installed on your computer when you tap on the Devices charm." You can see an example of that in the image above.

The Windows 8 app print platform also has support for showing a preview of the print content in the print window. Microsoft says that only three printer settings (Copies, Orientation, and Color) are shown by default in a Windows 8 app.

Windows 8 apps can use the print contract to communicate to the print platform of the OS. Microsoft recommends that app developers give some thought to the kinds of content that their users might want to print out from their app. It states:

If your app captures photos, for example, would she appreciate being able to print a copy and frame it in her home? Thinking through your app’s scenarios will help you choose the content that needs to be printable from your app and help you design the best printing experience for your customers.

The blog offers up some example code for developers to add print support in both  HTML-based and XAML-based Windows 8 apps. Microsoft said that app developers who work in XAML will have more work to do in order to supporting printing. It states:

You need to define how the print content is laid out for your app and determine what pagination means. This way you can control the content of each page to determine exactly what content you want your app to print. As you might expect, you use XAML to define the layout of your app’s printed content just like you use XAML to define the layout of what goes on the screen.

Source: Windows 8 app developer blog | Image via Microsoft

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16 Comments

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They Put Second screen device next to printer???? What The f*** Really? Is this the best their UI/UX designer can do? sometimes I think they just f*** kidding people. ohh holly cr*** there is also a small link of internet explorer in devices just above printer. :D

Edited by trojan_market, Sep 27 2012, 5:45am :

I remember when I first installed the Consumer Preview, I was losing my mind trying to find the print button. Because my printer wasn't detected correctly it didn't show up in devices. I would have eventually "discovered it" if it were there, but discoverability is the problem in certain areas.

There seems to be so much available screen real estate to clue people in on stuff. I'm still wondering what the "help" section is going to look like because in the RTM, this is what it says to print in the help section:

""To see if the printer is already installed and working
1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.)

2. Enter Devices in the search box, tap or click Settings, and then tap or click Devices.""

Ok, now anyone with RTM, put on your dumb hat, and go try that. How do you think grandma will feel about that process? Isn't this 2012, don't we have video now? How hard is it to show someone how to do somethign rather than explain in a paragraph.

Stop using grandma as an example. This generic dumb grandma is equally frustrated by trying to print regardless of OS.

Joshie said,
Stop using grandma as an example. This generic dumb grandma is equally frustrated by trying to print regardless of OS.

It's not just grandmas that are going to have problems. My printer doesn't show up under devices, only my second monitor does - pretty strange considering the printer works fine from the desktop.

The charms bar is a nightmare, especially on desktop. I'll be upgrading to Windows 8 on release (I'm already using it now) but some parts of it - especially relating to Metro - are poorly implemented.

theyarecomingforyou said,

It's not just grandmas that are going to have problems. My printer doesn't show up under devices, only my second monitor does - pretty strange considering the printer works fine from the desktop.

The charms bar is a nightmare, especially on desktop. I'll be upgrading to Windows 8 on release (I'm already using it now) but some parts of it - especially relating to Metro - are poorly implemented.

The concept of the charms is sollid. Bringing those common features together will make for a much easier experience, especially for the casual user. Tonight I spend an hour explaining how to navigate through maps and copy/paste content in Windows to a colleague of my father and his wife.

The basic functionalities of Windows were compleetly lost to them because of the hundred buttons visible on screen. Once people understand what the charms can do then basic functions become easier. For example they wanted to copy pictures from both Outlook and a USB stick to their Picture map and then upload it to a social website (a local facebook competitor). Explaining this to them was really hard and both windows explorer and outlook use similar design! Add the weird way how this (thirdparty) website goes about uploading content and these people were compleetly lost.

With Windows 8 you can just explain to them that they can use the 'share' charm from both their email app to upload to facebook or bring it to their picture app. It cuts out the middle man. Modern apps will use all charm functionality. Once people understand this they will instantly know how to search for content, change settings, print something, etc within any application. They will no longer have to search for these most used features among the countless of other options. And even if they find what they're looking for, each application does things differently so chances are they will stil fail.

Understandably experience users think this is dumbed down, they don't need to see it simplified. However I don't *need* it simplified either but it stil makes things easier for me. This is why I won't go back to Windows 7. Especially the search and share charms make everything so much easier. Devices isn't very useful but I imagine it will become much better once current hardware gets software updates required to use it.

jimmyfal said,
I remember when I first installed the Consumer Preview, I was losing my mind trying to find the print button. Because my printer wasn't detected correctly it didn't show up in devices. I would have eventually "discovered it" if it were there, but discoverability is the problem in certain areas.

There seems to be so much available screen real estate to clue people in on stuff. I'm still wondering what the "help" section is going to look like because in the RTM, this is what it says to print in the help section:

""To see if the printer is already installed and working
1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.)

2. Enter Devices in the search box, tap or click Settings, and then tap or click Devices.""

Ok, now anyone with RTM, put on your dumb hat, and go try that. How do you think grandma will feel about that process? Isn't this 2012, don't we have video now? How hard is it to show someone how to do somethign rather than explain in a paragraph.

Strange, I don't get that functionality, I have an XPS and have tried both the Dell and Synaptics drivers. I know it definitely supports multi touch, guess I will just have to wait for official Windows 8 drivers.

TheDisneyMagic said,

Strange, I don't get that functionality, I have an XPS and have tried both the Dell and Synaptics drivers. I know it definitely supports multi touch, guess I will just have to wait for official Windows 8 drivers.


I think this reply went to the wrong place...

I'm not sure what the particulars are of the behavior. I don't think you're doing anything wrong--the behavior surprised me when I encountered it, so it might not be 100% there yet.

I see it on my Lenovo Thinkpad X230T. I can say one thing: I disabled edge scrolling. I HATE that feature with a passion. That may have done the trick.

theyarecomingforyou said,

It's not just grandmas that are going to have problems. My printer doesn't show up under devices, only my second monitor does - pretty strange considering the printer works fine from the desktop.

The charms bar is a nightmare, especially on desktop. I'll be upgrading to Windows 8 on release (I'm already using it now) but some parts of it - especially relating to Metro - are poorly implemented.

Um, the printer will ONLY show up in Apps that support printing... Hence they have the printing contract (interface)

If the App does NOT support printing, only the secondary monitor shows up.

This is true of other 'devices' as well and what the 'App' supports.

I think blood just dripped out of ears reading these posts. Grandma will do just fine, it is idiots that will not.

thenetavenger said,
Um, the printer will ONLY show up in Apps that support printing... Hence they have the printing contract (interface)

I'm well aware of that but it doesn't show up in any app.

SnaveZ said,
*swipes finger on right side of screen*

it doesn't work for my monit....oh wait...

You place your cursor on the top right or bottom right corner of the screen to see the charms if I'm not mistaken. I could be wrong though, that's just what I've read.

MidTxWRX said,

You place your cursor on the top right or bottom right corner of the screen to see the charms if I'm not mistaken. I could be wrong though, that's just what I've read.


Top right corner, yes. There are also some other triggers I've discovered that people don't talk about much:

If you have a laptop with a trackpad and Synaptics drivers, you can use the pad identically to the screen. Swiping in from the right on the trackpad will open the charms. Swiping in from the left will cycle open apps. Swiping in from the top/bottom performs the respective behaviors as well.

Joshie said,

Top right corner, yes. There are also some other triggers I've discovered that people don't talk about much:

If you have a laptop with a trackpad and Synaptics drivers, you can use the pad identically to the screen. Swiping in from the right on the trackpad will open the charms. Swiping in from the left will cycle open apps. Swiping in from the top/bottom performs the respective behaviors as well.

Do you have a heads up where I can get the Windows 8 Synaptics drivers?

TheDisneyMagic said,

Do you have a heads up where I can get the Windows 8 Synaptics drivers?


Beats me. I'm using the Windows 7 ones and the functionality is still there.

If you do things the way a lot of us are used to after a clean install (hit anything missing under Device Manager), you might miss this one. Windows 8 will install a generic input device driver for your trackpad, which lacks all of this extra functionality.

Once Windows 8 drivers are officially available, this will likely be fixed by Windows Update. Until then, replace the default with the Windows 7 drivers (should pose no problem) and you're golden.