Why is My Printer Trying to Save Instead of Print?

Having printer issues where it’s trying to save files instead of printing them? This problem can be frustrating, but it’s usually an easy fix. In this article, we’ll go over the main reasons why your printer may be trying to save instead of print, and the steps you can take to get it working properly again.

Why is My Printer Trying to Save Instead of Print?

Main Causes of “Saving Instead of Printing”

There are a few common causes for this printing issue:

Incorrect Printer Settings

The most likely culprit is that you have an incorrect setting enabled within your printer preferences or print dialog box. Many printers have an option to “print to file” – which saves the file instead of printing it. Make sure this setting is disabled.

Outdated or Incorrect Printer Driver

An outdated printer driver can also cause this problem. Printer drivers allow your operating system to communicate with your printer. But if it’s outdated, it may malfunction and change your print settings. Updating to the latest printer driver for your model should resolve this.

Print Spooler Issues

The print spooler is a system service that coordinates print jobs between your printer and computer. If it’s damaged or configured incorrectly, it could lead to your printer trying to save files rather than print them. Restarting this service can often fix print spooler problems.

Faulty Printer Firmware

Lastly, the firmware installed on your printer could be faulty. Printer firmware is software that runs on the printer itself and controls its functions. Use your printer manufacturer’s instructions to check for and install any firmware updates.

How to Fix “Saving Instead of Printing”

Now that you know what’s most likely causing the issue, here are specific steps to get your printer back to printing properly:

1. Check Your Printer Settings

Open your computer’s Devices/Printers settings or go into the printer properties dialog box. Look for any setting along the lines of “print to file” and make sure this is unchecked or disabled.

While here, you may also want to set your printer as the default if it’s not already selected. Choose your printer model, right-click, and choose Set As Default Printer.

2. Update Your Printer Driver

Go to your printer manufacturer’s website and look for the downloads page. Look up your specific printer model and download the latest driver available for your operating system.

Install the updated driver and then try printing again as normal. This will overwrite your existing driver and may resolve any issues caused by it being outdated.

3. Restart the Print Spooler Service

On Windows, search for Services and open it. Look for the Print Spooler service, right click it, and choose Restart. This will quickly restart it, which often fixes spooler issues that can lead to saving instead of printing.

On Mac, open System Preferences > Printers & Scanners and click the Options & Supplies button. Click the Open Print Queue button, then restart the print system by clicking start and stop.

4. Update Printer Firmware

Every printer manufacturer has different instructions for checking and upgrading firmware, so you’ll need to lookup the steps for your specific model.

Generally, you’ll visit the manufacturer’s site, find the Downloads page, and look for firmware under your printer’s model. Download and run the firmware update file, which will install the latest firmware.

5. Try a Test Print

After going through these troubleshooting steps, attempt a test print from any application to see if the issue is resolved and your printer now prints normally. Make sure to try printing several different file types too.

If it still tries saving the file instead of printing, you may need to contact the printer company or manufacturer for additional support. Provide them the steps you’ve already tried when describing the issue.

Key Takeaways and Suggestions

  • Double check that any “print to file” settings are disabled both in your printer preferences and when you choose print within applications.
  • Keeping your printer driver updated is crucial to avoid technical printing issues.
  • Restarting the print spooler service can quickly fix problems related to it.
  • Outdated firmware on the printer itself could be causing glitches – update to the latest.
  • After updating drivers and firmware, do print tests with different file types to ensure the issue is fully resolved.
  • If problems persist, contact the printer manufacturer and inform them of the troubleshooting steps you took.


Printer trying to save your files rather than print them? In most cases, this problem can be easily fixed on your own by following the troubleshooting tips outlined in this article.

First, verify that no “print to file” settings are enabled. Second, update your printer driver and firmware to the latest versions. Third, restart your computer’s print spooler service to reset it.

After taking these steps to check your settings, drivers, firmware, and print system, you should once again see your printer properly printing files as expected. Just be sure to keep your printer software updated going forward to avoid a recurrence of the issue.

With the right troubleshooting approach, you can overcome annoying “saving instead of printing” problems and get back to seamless printing in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Why does my printer save PDF files instead of printing them?
This is likely due to an incorrect print setting enabled for PDF files specifically. Make sure “Print to file” is unchecked for PDFs in your printer preferences. Also update your PDF reader app and printer driver.

2. How do I disable Print to File on Windows 10?
Open your Windows 10 Devices settings > Printers & Scanners. Right-click your printer > choose Printer Properties > Preferences tab. Uncheck the “Print to file” box and click OK to save. This will disable printing to file.

3. Why is my HP printer saving files instead of printing?
For HP printers, the issue is usually caused by the HP Print to File feature being enabled. Access your HP printer properties, go to the Device Settings tab, and disable this feature. Also update your HP printer driver.

4. Why does my Canon printer keep saving documents instead of printing?
Check for a Print to file setting on your Canon printer driver preferences. Disable this and update to the latest Canon printer driver. Outdated drivers commonly cause this problem with Canon printers.

5. How do I check print spooler on Windows 10?
Open the Run dialog by pressing Windows Key + R. Type “services. MSc” and press Enter. Find Print Spooler in the services list. Right-click it and choose Restart to restart the service. This fixes many printing issues.

6. Where do I update printer driver Windows 10?
Go to Start > Settings > Devices > Printers & Scanners. Right-click your printer and choose Manage > Printer Properties > Driver tab. Click Update Driver and follow the prompts to update your printer driver in Windows 10.

7. Why is my Brother printer saving files instead of printing?
Check for a “Save Print Job” or “Print to File” setting within your Brother printer preferences and uncheck it. Also make sure you have the latest Brother printer driver installed, as an outdated driver can change print settings.

8. My printer is connected but won’t print – just saves documents?
If your printer is connected but saving files instead of printing, try disabling any “Print to file” settings, updating your printer driver and firmware, restarting the print spooler, and testing with a print to rule out connection issues.

9. How do I update my printer driver Mac?
On a Mac, open System Preferences > Printers & Scanners. Select your printer and click the Options & Supplies button. Click Driver and check for updates. If an update is available, download and install it to update your Mac printer driver.

10. Why does my printer keep saving files to a folder?
If your printer keeps saving print jobs to a folder rather than printing, the most likely cause is that you have the “Print to file” option enabled. Check both your printer settings and printing preferences within applications to disable this and prevent saving.

11. Where are my printer saves located?
Printer saved print jobs are usually located in a folder called “Print Jobs” within your personal user account folders or libraries. The exact location can vary between Windows and Mac operating systems. Searching your files for “Print Jobs” should locate them.

12. How do I print a document that saved instead?
Navigate to the Print Jobs folder where the printer saved the file. Right-click on the document, choose Print, and confirm your printer. This will allow you to print the saved file as normal once you’ve fixed the settings to prevent saving instead of printing.

13. Can you print a saved print job?
Yes, you can still print a document even if it was previously saved by the printer instead of printing. Simply navigate to the saved print job, right click it, choose Print, and send it to the printer again. Just be sure to disable any settings causing it to save instead.

14. Why does my printer create a PDF instead of printing?
If your printer is creating PDF files rather than printing, you likely have a PDF print setting enabled such as “Print to PDF” or “Save as PDF.” Disable these settings and make sure “Print to file” is also unchecked. This should prevent creating PDFs and return to normal printing.

15. How do I reset print spooler Windows 7?
On Windows 7, click Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools. Open Services, right-click the Print Spooler, and choose Restart. This will reset the print spooler service to fix issues with saving instead of printing in Windows 7.

16. Why does my printer say saving instead of printing HP?
For HP printers, check the Device Settings tab in your printer properties and disable the “HP Print to File” feature if enabled. Also update to the latest HP printer driver. Enabling this setting and outdated drivers commonly cause HP printers to save instead of print.

17. What does it mean when printer is stuck on saving print job?
If your printer status stays stuck on “Saving print job,” it usually indicates there is a problem with the print spooler preventing jobs from printing. Try restarting your computer and printer to reset the print system. Also restart the print spooler service itself.

18. How do I clear print jobs stuck in queue?
Go to your operating system’s Devices/Printers settings page. Right-click your printer, choose See What’s Printing, and delete any stuck print jobs. On Windows, open services. MSc and restart the Print Spooler service. On Mac, restart the print system in printer prefs.

19. Why does my printer say processing print job forever?
If your printer status says “Processing print job” indefinitely, there is likely a stuck job preventing new jobs from printing. Delete all jobs from the queue, restart your computer/printer, and restart the print spooler service to fix this issue.

20. How do I reset my printer to factory settings?
Refer to your printer manufacturer’s instructions to reset the printer to factory defaults. There is usually a reset/restore defaults option in the printer settings, utility, or preferences. Or you can reset to defaults by holding certain printer buttons on bootup.


In summary, troubleshoot “saving instead of printing” issues by double checking for incorrect print settings, updating printer drivers and firmware, restarting the print spooler service, and performing print tests. With some simple software checks and updates, you should be able to resolve this problem and get your printer back to properly printing files again.

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