Change Default Printer Settings

printer icon in devices and printers

How many times have you printed in color when you wanted grayscale instead? OK, so a few here, too.

Color-capable printers usually default to print in color because printer manufactuers 1) don't want people calling tech support complaining that their printer won't print in color and 2) want everyone to print in color so they buy more ink. Even if your document is strictly black text—say, for a school assignment—the printer will print black text using color cartridges instead of the black cartridge. That, of course, means you buy LOTS of color ink. One alternative is to switch to grayscale mode in the print settings whenever you want to print a black and white document. You just have to remember to do so each time.

printer properties dialog for a print job

A better option is to set the printer to print in grayscale by default and only switch to color when needed.

To do so, close any documents or programs you have open (to avoid any conflicts or false expectations that current print jobs will change).

Open the Start Menu and go to Devices and Printers (Windows 7 shown, other versions will vary).

start menu and devices and printers

In Devices and Printers, right-click on your printer and select Printing Preferences.

right-click on your printer and select Printing Preferences

In the Printing Preferences dialog that opens, choose the settings you want to use by default.

set printing preferences to be used by default

When done, click OK to save your changes and close the dialog box. Applications will use those default settings to print future print jobs.

Of course, in that same dialog you can choose many other settings such as duplexing, default paper trays, and so on, but color/grayscale is the most common printer defaults that should be changed.