How To Print from Microsoft Surface with Windows RT

Windows 8 and RT include a built-in printer class driver framework that automatically installs the right drivers for printers. This makes printing from the Surface easy.

Microsoft’s Surface tablet includes Office 2013 that allows you to get serious work done on documents and spreadsheets. And sometimes, you’ll need to print those documents or photos from your Surface. Printing from a Surface with Windows RT is more accessible than other tablets. It includes a USB 2.0 port to connect a printer. Windows 8 and RT also have a built-in printer class driver framework that will automatically install the appropriate drivers for modern printers.

Connect a Printer to Surface

Here I’m connecting a Canon MP495 wireless printer. The easiest way to get the correct drivers is by plugging the printer into the USB slot on the right side of the display. Then power on your printer.

Connect Printer Surface

Go to the desktop, and you should see Windows is looking for the correct drivers and installing them. The drivers for most modern printers are supported, but if you’re trying to use an old legacy printer, your results will vary.

Installing Drivers

After the drivers are installed, you might want to make this your default printer. Hit WinKey + W and type: devices and printers and click the icon under results.

Devices and Printers

Right-click the printer icon and select Set as Default Printer.

Set as Default

Now you can print from metro-style apps and Office 2013 or IE 10 from the desktop.

Print IE 10 Surface

If you want a compatible app for your printer, go into Devices, and select the link to get the recommended app from Windows Store.


After it’s installed, you’ll be able to access the utility from the Start Screen. It will allow you to get support, find the ink model number, and manage other features of your printer.

Canon Utility

You’ll also be able to control various settings on your printer too. Again, the options available will vary depending on the printer’s manufacturer.

Screenshot (92)

To make printing in Office 2013 easier, add the Quick Print icon to the Quick Access bar. Another thing I always do is set the Quick Access bar to display below the Ribbon.

Quick Print

That’s all there is to it. Printing from the Surface and Windows 8, in general, is a reasonably straightforward process. It doesn’t require finding the right drivers online for a specific version of Windows. It’s now a plug-and-play experience, no more CDs with extra crappy software!



  1. Birch

    August 4, 2013 at 7:32 am

    What if your printer is listed as compatible, but there is no “Get recommended app” choice whatsoever?

  2. kay

    November 24, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    I have tried this with my Surface tab, the printer (HP Deskjet 1050a) installed fine and let me choose to print a document, however the document wouldn’t actually print out. I could open the dialog box that would show the document name -printing, but nothing actually printed!

    Any ideas?

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