With Windows 8, Microsoft is standardizing a lot of common tasks through new system-level features such as charms, contracts, and settings. But this standardization is causing some users fits, so I’m starting a new series of tips aimed at helping you overcome some common gotcha’s. In part 2 of this series: Printing from Metro-style apps.

The process for adding a printer in Windows 8 works much as it does in Windows 7, and you can still use the familiar Devices and Printers interface to connect to and configure printers, and the Homegroup- and legacy-based methods for sharing printers with other PCs on your home network.

devs_n_printers

The Metro environment, however, requires a different approach. In Metro, printers are managed, as you’d expect, through PC Settings, the new Metro-style partial replacement for Control Panel. You can view and remove connected printers and other devices, and add new printers and other devices, through PC Settings, Devices. And if a printer is already configured through the desktop environment, it will appear here as well.

pcsettings-devs

Most of this is fairly obvious even to new Windows 8 users. But the one thing that has clearly flummoxed many is this: How do you print from Metro-style apps?

Printing, like other similar system-level tasks, occurs consistently in all Metro-style apps, in this case through the Devices interface, which can be reached directly with the keyboard shortcut WINKEY + K or indirectly through Charms, by enabling Charms (WINKEY +C) and then picking Devices. Either way, you’ll see the Devices pane appear.

devicespane

What you’ll see in this pane is context sensitive—that is, it varies depending on which Metro app or other experience you’re currently view—and you’ll only see printers listed when the app or experience explicitly supports printing.

Note: You can often use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + P (as in desktop Windows experiences) to bring up a Print pane instead of a devices pane. This works just like the Devices pane except that it only lists printers (and printer-like devices, such as “Send to OneNote”).

print

To print, select the appropriate printer. This experience, too, will vary, in this case by printer. But you should see a Printer Settings pane that includes a print preview and basic printer settings, plus an optional More settings link that will deliver more advanced settings.

printer-settings
Printer Settings

advprinter-settings
Advanced Printer Settings 

To print, simply click Print from the Printer Settings view.

Voila!