Microsoft's Universal Print feature enters private preview

Universal Print
Universal Print (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft announced the private preview of Universal Print.
  • Universal print moves Windows Server print functionality to the cloud.
  • Universal Print allows IT departments to manage devices over the cloud.

Microsoft announced that Universal Print is now available in private preview. Universal Print allows IT departments to view and manage printers through the cloud and eases printer management. Microsoft announced Universal Print and breaks down how it works in a recent post (opens in new tab).

Universal Print takes Windows Server print functionality and moves it to the Microsoft 365 cloud. As a result, organizations don't need on-premises print servers. Additionally, Universal Print makes it, so you don't have to install printer drivers on devices. Universal Print also adds security groups for printer access, location-based printer discovery, and a "rich administrator experience," according to Microsoft.

IT departments can use Azure Active Directory to discover printers. Microsoft highlights that people "can continue to print from their Windows devices or Office as they always have, with no learning curve."

To get the best Universal Print experience, Microsoft recommends printers that natively support Universal Print. At the moment, there are no printers that natively support the feature, though Microsoft states that it is "working with [its] partner ecosystem to bring you the latest printers with native support." Specifically, Microsoft mentions that it is "excited to be working with Canon Inc.."

To use Universal Print right now, or on any printer that doesn't natively support it, you can use a Universal Print proxy application that connects printers to Universal Print. Additionally, organizations and schools need to have Windows 10 Enterprise or Education version 1903 and have an Azure Active Directory.

To participate in the private preview, you need to follow the steps outlined at the bottom of Microsoft's announcement post (opens in new tab).

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

4 Comments
  • Is this a rival of google cloud print?
  • I guess. But that would be like saying Google has universal skateboard wheels while Microsoft has universal car wheels. Given that Microsoft is imbedded in a vast majority of enterprises, MS's offering would extend the existing network infrastructure while Google would be a net new thing.
  • Good words, but is this any better? We have occasional Mac issues with our networked printers.
  • The best solution is windows server with PaperCut mobility print. Specially now that google has left the print scene. Their universal print driver works great with most printers and machines.