Friday, January 18, 2008

What the heck is Document Writer?

This occasionally pops up on your computer when you want to print. Instead of a printer, you'll see "Microsoft XPS Document Writer." You may not even notice it until you are asked to specify a file name and location. So what is this?

Both a problem and an opportunity.

The problem: Document Writer is the default printer for all Windows XP/Vista computers. If you're suddenly printing to it, it means that for some reason, your default printer is unavailable. Either it has been uninstalled, the settings for the default printer have been changed, or it was mapped properly on your computer. For most computers, you can check your printers to make sure the correct one is listed as your default (on the list of printers, right click on the printer and select "Set as Default Printer").

If installing the printer as the default doesn't work, contact I&TS about your printer mappings.

As an opportunity, since XPS is on all XP/Vista computers, you can use it to create documents for other users, even if they don't have the same software as you do. This works in the same way Adobe Acrobat does, except that you don't have to install anything to read the document -- it's read in Internet Explorer.

Mac users will need to install Adobe Acrobat 8.1, which reads XPS files.

This can be a great quick tool for sharing documents, especially if the recipient doesn't have the same software, and you don't have Adobe Acrobat or PDF creation software. (Office 2007 has a "Save as .pdf" add-in, so you probably won't need to use Document Writer if you've switched over.