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While we don't usually focus on tech support issues here on the Office Blog (that's what the Microsoft Answers forums are for), let me shine a quick light on a recurring issue that has caused some of you to scratch your heads and write in about.
In a nutshell, the problem appears to be that OneNote 2010 (or OneNote 2007) intercepts all of your print jobs whenever you try to send any information from your other programs or your Web browser to your trusty printer. While you must admit that this is a great way to save paper and finally "go green," it's no laughing matter when your boss expects you to hand him or her a printed report and you can't seem to do that.
Until recently, you've always been able to print anything from your computer to your printer. Now, your print jobs seem to suddenly bypass your printer completely and go straight into Microsoft OneNote, where they appear like scanned images. You really want things to go back to the way things were and have your print jobs sent to your actual printer once again.
Microsoft OneNote comes with a nifty little utility called the Send to OneNote print driver. A print driver is a small piece of software that directs output from a computer to a printer. Typically, the operating system controls such software, so it can monitor how a computer talks to hardware devices like a printer. In the case of OneNote, a special print driver is installed that lets you send your print jobs as images into your OneNote notebooks.
The OneNote print driver wasn't designed to override your printer settings and assume you want every print job sent to OneNote 2010. Instead, it's intended to be waiting in the wings, available whenever you want to use it, and taking a backseat again whenever you're done sending a particular print job to OneNote.
However, the OneNote print driver may have accidentally promoted itself to top dog in any of the following conditions:
Even if you're not really sure how it may have happened, there's an easy solution.
When the Send to OneNote 2010 print driver is marked as shown, print jobs will be sent to OneNote as images.If you have a real printer installed, right-click its icon, and then click Set as Default Printer on the shortcut menu.Your printer is recognized as the preferred printer for future print jobs when it has the check mark icon next to it.
On any edition of Windows 7, do the following:
If you're using Windows Vista, the steps are nearly identical:
If you do not see an icon for your actual printer, it's likely that your printer is not correctly installed. Check the printer manufacturer's website for any updated drivers that are specific to your version of Windows (for example, a 64-bit edition of Windows) and make sure that the printer is properly connected to your computer.
Even if you had a bad first impression of the OneNote print driver hogging all of your print jobs, don't be too quick to dismiss it even after you demote it from being your default "printer." You might be surprised how useful it is to have the ability to print certain information right into OneNote.
Although digital printouts in OneNote are image files that you can't edit, you can right-click such images in OneNote 2010 and extract the text from them with the Copy Text from Picture command. As long as the text in the image is large enough and legible, this works really well. You can then paste and use the copied text into your notes or elsewhere in your work.
When you're properly introduced to it, the OneNote print driver is a pretty cool feature! ;-)
Remember, whenever you have a technical support issue, head on over to Microsoft Answers — the official Support forums for OneNote and Office. It is monitored daily by knowledgeable and helpful members of the Microsoft MVP community, Microsoft Support, and the Office product teams.
-- Michael C. Oldenburg
Thanks for the post, Michael. I find that printing to OneNote is the perfect solution for all those transaction notices and receipts that I'm supposed to print so I have a copy for my files. I print them to OneNote, where they take up almost no room.
Great tip, Joannie! I do the same whenever I shop online. Though my default printer is my HP Deskjet, I temporarily select the "Send to OneNote 2010" print driver in the Print dialog box of my browser whenever I want to capture an online receipt or confirmation page. It's so convenient (and saves on paper).
I would be thrilled to be able to print to OneNote, but it hasn't worked since our office upgraded to Windows 7, no matter what our tech guy tries. I really miss this feature.
zhawk: What version of OneNote and Windows are you using? If you upgraded to a 64-bit edition of Windows and you're still running OneNote 2007, the print driver will not work. You'll need OneNote 2010 to get the print driver feature on 64-bit Windows.
If you are already running OneNote 2010, then a clean reinstallation should restore the print driver if it disappears for some reason. Note that the "Send to OneNote" features can be omitted during Setup, so if you're not doing the OneNote 2010 or Office 2010 reinstall yourself, be sure to have your tech guy do a Custom install during Setup to make sure everything is included. If you're still having trouble after trying that, head on over to the OneNote forums on Microsoft Answers: http://bit.ly/eCtJUx and post your issue. The OneNote team monitors and responds on those forums every day. Good luck, and thanks for stopping by the OneNote blog!
Thanks for those suggestions, Michael. I am running Office 2010, so it's not that. I'll see if I can sweet-talk the tech guy into doing a clean reinstall of Office 2010. It's worth a shot! Thanks again.
zhawk: My pleasure. Hope it's a quick fix for you. ;-)
I totally agree with Joannie. I purposely set my default printer to Send to OneNote 2010. It serves two functions for me. First, it prevents me from getting "click happy" and accidentally sending documents to a physical printer (I seldom print unless absolutely necessary). Second, it provides a convenient way to get almost any document into OneNote for reference and additional markup.
Greg Edwards: Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I'm glad to know that there are more of us who print less and less to actual paper. Once I started doing that, I've never really looked back. Glad to be in good company. ;-)
Thanks for this Michael. I would probably have the problem you described since my printer is not compatible with Windows 7 on my desktop (no pilot update available). My laptop is never linked to a printer. So I do print to OneNote a lot and that is all I do for now.
I consider that printing as much as possible to OneNote is part of the whole OneNote experience. In the past, my little notes, including one-liners, confirmations, receipts, instructions and screen-shots, saved in documents would be lost within my files, taking unnecessary space. OneNote now simplifies saving and organizing small and long notes of any kind, whether they were written by myself or copied or printed from another source. Even this note, I will keep. That is part of what I love about OneNote! A place for everything and everything in its place is possible and very easy!
Michelle, thanks so much for your comment and sharing a bit of how you use OneNote. It was the same for me in the past — for things that weren't enough to print out on a whole page, I'd often create dozens of files to capture bits of information in case I needed them again. Having a litter of unrelated files all over my hard drive was as annoying as having stacks of printouts sitting on shelves and in file cabinets. Now I just send everything to OneNote and let the instant search take care of things when I need to look something up again. What's great about the OneNote print driver is that you can still print something out later if you need to. I also love showing people that OneNote can find text in pictures, such as in scanned receipts. Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your appreciation for OneNote! :-)
Hi, everyone. We had a variation on this problem. We have a new Gateway Windows 7 64-bit system. After installing One Note 2010 (via Office Home & Student), suddenly our CanoScan 8800f's copy button was sending scans to One Note rather than directly to the printer. Our default printer, an older HP Deskjet 990c, stayed the default, and print jobs for other programs weren't hijacked. Only the output from the scanner copy button. I couldn't fix it, so I ended up deleting the One Note virtual printer from 'Devices and Printers'. Has anyone else seen a problem like this?
Not hatin' here, but the problem is when my network printer goes offline, Windows or Office always changes the default to OneNote. Is there any way to fix it? I want to keep my network printer default even when it's offine.
I attempted to change the default printer to the printer I used before the one note was installed, but it won't give me the option to change the default to it. I can't get it to not have one note as default. What do I do??
Im trying to change my default printer back to the printer itself, but it won't give me he option to do that when I right click on the printer I want. I only get the default option when I right click on the onenote. How can I get it to change back to my regular printer?