Printing in Windows 8

We’ve started getting questions about printing in Windows 8 and if Win2PDF will work with the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system.  The short answer is yes* and we have a pre-release version available today.  We’ll have an official release available once Windows 8 is officially released.

*Except for Windows 8 RT – the version of Windows 8 for ARM-based devices.

UPDATE (10/25/2012):  Win2PDF 7.5 is now available and it officially supports Windows 8

Today’s post will be an overview of what’s different about printing with Windows 8, and how that will affect Win2PDF users specifically.

1)  What is Windows 8?

Windows 8 is the latest operating system from Microsoft (following Windows 7) and it has been specially adapted to support a greater array of hardware devices, especially touch screen tablets, laptops, and desktop monitors.

While the underlying operating system is built on the Windows 7 foundation, Windows 8 is going present some changes for most users (at least in terms of interface).  This is particularly true when it comes to printing.  And since Win2PDF installs a printer, this interface change will be noticed by Win2PDF users.

2)  Windows 8 and Printing

Windows 8 introduces a new architecture for printers.  This architecture change won’t greatly affect the way Win2PDF works from the end-user’s perspective so we won’t go into the details here.  But, if you’re interested,you can read an in-depth overview from Microsoft’s developer blog.

Window 8 also introduces a completely new application interface for many software programs, something they refer to as Windows 8 style apps.  (This interface style was formerly known as Metro style apps, but Microsoft has since discontinued the use of this term). This will be a tiled, full-screen interface that works for all computers but optimized for tablet computing and touch-screen laptops/ultrabooks/displays.  Windows 8 will also support the more traditional desktop apps, which is the same interface most applications used in Windows 7 or Windows XP.

3) Win2PDF Support

The good news is that we do have a version that currently works with Windows 8 (both desktop and Windows 8 style apps) and it can be downloaded from our Win2PDF hotfix download page.

Once Windows 8 is officially released by Microsoft, we’ll have a version that officially supports it directly on our main download page.  There will not be a charge to upgrade to the Windows 8 compatible version of Win2PDF for users of Win2PDF 7 or above.

Lastly, Microsoft introduced a version of the operating system called Windows 8 RT, which is the operating system used on ARM-based computers.  This version of Windows 8 will only work with Windows 8 style apps that are either pre-installed or that are available through the Microsoft app store.  Win2PDF will not support Windows 8 RT at the time of the Windows 8 official release.

4)  Printing to PDF using Win2DPF in Windows 8

To use Win2PDF with desktop apps, not much has changed.  Here’s a short video that shows Win2PDF creating a PDF file from a desktop app (or see our Win2PDF support page on this topic):

To use Win2PDF with Windows 8 style apps is a bit different.  Here is a short video that shows Win2PDF creating a PDF file from a Windows 8 style app (or see our Win2PDF support page on this topic):

The key differences with printing to Windows 8 style apps are:

  1. Printers are accessed as Devices, which can be found in the Charm bar.  You can access the Charm bar by moving the cursor to the right side of the screen and swiping up in a Windows 8 style app.
  2. From Devices, you choose the printer named ‘Win2PDF’ and then print.  Immediately after printing, you will receive a notification in the upper right corner of the screen.  “The printer requires your attention.  Go to the desktop to take care of it.
  3. Click on this notification.  This will bring you to the desktop where you will see the normal Win2PDF file save window.
  4. Then you can set the file name and and save the PDF as you normally would.  If you click ‘View PDF’ and your default PDF viewer is a Windows 8 style app, then it will open up back in the Windows 8 full screen interface.
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