How to automatically switch default printers based on your location

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Managing printers can be a pain especially if you're shifting a laptop between home and work and dealing with different printers on each network. Fortunately, Windows has a built-in tool just for you that lets you automatically switch between default printers based on the Wi-Fi network you're connected to.

If you have a Hewlett-Packard printer at home and a Canon at work, for example, Windows would automatically send print jobs to the Canon whenever your laptop was on the work network. The beauty of this feature is you only have to set it up once and never think about which printer is where again.

This tip should work for all users on Windows 8.1, but Windows 7 users will only have this option available to them if they are running Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise.

Defaulting printers


Windows lets you switch between default printers based on location.

Open the Control Panel, go to Devices and Printers and then scroll down to the Printers section. There you'll see a list of all the printers your PC is familiar with. At least one of them should have a green check mark next to it, which is your default printer.

Click any printer you want to set as a default at a given location, then click Manage default printers at the top of the Control Panel window.

In the new window that opens, make sure the Change my default printer when I change networks radio button is selected.

Below that you'll see two drop down menus and a list of printers that are already selected as your defaults. To add a new default printer, select a Wi-Fi network from the first drop down menu and a printer from the second.

In the example above, I'm making Google Cloud Printer the default when I'm on my Mother's network. Next, click Add and you're done.

If you use printers in more than just two locations, add those as well—you'll never have to think about which printer you're sending to again.

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