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Go to TopPrinting Images

Before printing any photograph think about the paper it is to be printed on. In particular consider the ratio of the height to width. All digital cameras default to producing an image with the ratio 4:3, the same as a traditional computer screen. A few, very few, may offer an option to save images in  a 3:2 ratio, echoing the 35mm camera's 36x24mm frame proportions.

Now consider common paper sizes for photographs: A4 (297x210mm), 150x100mm and perhaps 18x13cm. None of these echo the 4:3 ratio and only one echoes the 3:2 ratio of traditional 35mm cameras. This means that either your prints will have borders of uneven size or the image must be cropped with the loss of some of the original image.

If your image has been carefully composed in the viewfinder and you wish to retain all the elements round the edge of the frame, then you cannot print that full image without uneven borders, and certainly not using any "borderless" printing feature your printer may have.

Your choices are either to trim the paper after printing to even up the borders or for you to make the decision what to crop to fit the image to your chosen paper. If you do not make the decision on what to crop then the printer will crop a pair of opposite sides evenly to obtain the correct ratio for the paper. In some cases this may lose important detail, so you should always make the choice of what to crop!

Go to TopThe Print Wizard

Having cropped your images to echo the proportions of the image to appear on paper, open "My Pictures", or the folder where the image file is stored, select the image file(s) to be printed and do one of the following:

1. Open the File menu and select "Print".

2. Under "Picture Tasks", in the blue panel to the left of the window, click on the "Print this picture" option ("Print the selected pictures" when more than one is selected).

3. Right-click the chosen picture and select "Print" from the menu.

Context Menu on selecting an image

Any of the actions above start the Photo Printing Wizard. On the opening screen, shown below, click the "Next >" button.

The Print Wizard - Page #1

Context Menu on selecting an image

The Print Wizard - Page #1

The wizard takes you through three steps. In the first, Picture Selection, the images from the selected folder are shown as thumbnails. Each selected picture will have a ticked checkbox beside it. You can clear or check individual boxes or use the "Select all" and "Clear all" buttons for major changes to your selection of images to be printed. Once satisfied with your choice, confirm the images you wish to print by clicking the "Next >" button.

The Print Wizard - Page #2

The next step, Printing Options, is to choose your printer and importantly the printing preferences. If you have more than one printer attached to your computer select the one to be used from the drop-down list.

If you are printing on photo paper it is CRUCIAL that you then click the "Printing Preferences" button and select the correct paper size, type and quality settings. Printers normally default to A4, plain paper and normal or economy printing settings and you will need to change these for EVERY photo printing job you do.

The design of the dialogues and wording for theses settings vary with every model of printer, so you will need to refer to your printer's help file or documentation for further information about the options your printer offers. When you click the OK button on your printer's dialogue, you will be returned to the screen shown below. Click its "Next >" button...

The Print Wizard - Page #2 The Print Wizard - Page #3

The Print Wizard - Page #3

Now, on the Layout Selection screen, you will get a varying number of options, depending on the size of the paper that you selected and the facilities offered by your printer. With each choice a preview will show on the right of the dialogue. If you need to, you can use the option box to print multiple copies of every image. Once satisfied with the layout selection, click the "Next >" button.

The Print Wizard - Page #4 The Print Wizard - Page #5

NOTES:1. With larger prints it should be possible to make out the effects of automated cropping. (See the dog image and compare with the thumbnails in the images above!)
2. The printer here is incapable of borderless printing and you can see the wider bottom margin that always appears with this printer.

The Print Wizard - Page #4

Once the button is clicked the printer should start and the final screen of the wizard appears. Click the "Finish" button to close the dialogue.

The Print Wizard - Page #5

As a final thought, be aware of the expense of printing your own images. If you plan to print a large number consider commercial high street or on-line printing services, which often work out considerably cheaper than personal ink-jet printing. These days they offer a range of specialist printing options, including printing up to large poster sizes, ready framed, and bound albums with your chosen text on a title page. They may also be able to print on various objects, from T-shirts, to mugs and mouse mats.

Go to Top Page updated: 8 October 2009