Print docs without opening them

By David Dagley | January 16, 2013 | Last updated on September 21, 2023
2 min read

Instead of opening a document to print it, you can save time by setting up automatic drag-and-drop printing.

To set up drag-and-drop printing:

1. Click Start>Control Panel and open Printers and Faxes.

2. Drag the printer to your desktop.

To print a document using drag and drop:

Drag the document file over the desktop printer icon created in the previous step. The document will print using the default settings of the printer.

Use the previous steps to set up automatic drag and drop printing for multiple printers.

Since the printer icons you drag to your desktop are shortcuts, you can rename them whatever you want (e.g. “Colour” and “Black and White”).

Read: Conquering paperwork problems in your office

Suppose you have a colour laser printer and you want to set up one drag-and-drop for black and white printing and another for colour.

You can’t simply drag the printer to your desktop twice — both shortcuts point to the same printer — so the drag and drop method will print using the default settings of that printer.

Instead, install the printer again using a different name. Follow these steps:

  • Click Start>Control Panel and open Printers and Faxes.
  • Right click inside the window and select add printer.
  • Make sure you deselect automatically detect and install my plug and play printer in the installation wizard and follow the steps.
  • Use the same printer but name it differently.
  • When finished, drag the icon of the new printer to the desktop.
  • Double-click the desktop printer icon to open the printer settings.
  • From the toolbar select Printer>Properties.
  • Make sure the correct printer port is selected under the Ports tab.
  • Change the default settings as desired.

Repeat the process above to create different settings for colour, paper size, etc.

When you want to print a document without opening it, simply drag the document file to the correct printer icon on your desktop.

You can drag multiple files simultaneously and they will print, but not in any particular order. Next week’s tip will explain how to set up a drag and drop PDF creator.

David Dagley

David Dagley , CFP®, is a software developer and Adobe javascript expert, with 15 years of financial planning experience. He is the owner and president of Forms Doctor Inc., a company specializing in workflow automation solutions and financial planning calculators for investment dealers, financial advisors, and investment firms.