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How to select a default printer

Some programs -- and PowerPoint's one of them -- misbehave if you don't have a default printer driver installed on your computer.

You don't need the printer itself, just the driver (the software that allows your computer to talk the printer's language).

You should always have at least one printer driver installed and set as your default printer. This should be a "normal" printer driver, not a fax driver or "generic text" printer driver.

If your default printer driver is a network printer that's temporarily unavailable, it's the same as having no printer driver at all. If you use network printers, it's a good idea to install another local driver you can select as default when the network is down, the printer is offline or when you and your laptop computer have made like Elvis and left the building.

Again, you don't need to have the printer itself installed. You don't even need to own it. You're just installing the printer software to keep PowerPoint happy.

If you're just installing a printer driver to make PowerPoint happy when your real driver's not available, we recommend the HP Laserjet 4M PostScript or an HP LaserJet III driver. They're tested, highly reliable and available on the Windows CDs.

See How to install a local printer driver for driver installation instructions.

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How to select a default printer
Last update 07 June, 2011