How to Find Out What Was Printed on Your Printer

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When you print a document, the chances are good that a record of this action is created on your computer or within the printer itself. Although this may seem like an unnecessary feature of modern printers, activity logs such as these can give individuals a complete overview of their hardware usage. If you have an interest in exploring your print history, you can find this information even if you have limited computer experience. Before you can access your printer's activity history, you must enable document tracking and archiving within the printer settings panel on your computer.

Exploring Your Print History

Depending on how your printer is being used, you may be able to access some or all of the device's print history. For example, if you are using a printer at an office or another professional environment, you may have the ability to access a history of documents you have printed while simultaneously being restricted from viewing the complete printer log. However, individuals who use a personal printer should be able to access their comprehensive activity history when necessary.

To get started, go to the "Devices and Printers" menu in the Control Panel of your Windows computer. On a Mac computer, this menu is entitled "'Printers & Scanners." When using a Windows computer, you select the specific printer that is connected to your computer, right-click the icon associated with it, and then select the "Printer Properties" menu. From there, you click on the '"Advanced" tab to access the options associated with activity tracking.

Finding Your Printer Activity

When the Advanced tab opens, check the box next to "Keep Printed Documents" to ensure that all documents sent to your printer are recorded and archived. When this feature is enabled, you can access your document history by opening the "Devices and Printers" menu, right-clicking the printer you are currently using and selecting the "See What's Printing" tab that appears in the associated menu. You can also explore upcoming print jobs for your printer by selecting the "Open queue" option in the "Printers and Scanners" menu.

Assessing the Purpose of Document Tracking

As you can imagine, these features are particularly useful if you are attempting to find old print jobs or recover unsaved printing documents. In a professional setting, these features allow you to find out who printed to the network printers, assuming you have permission to review this information. Whatever your particular needs may be, you will likely discover various practical uses for this information, which keeps you constantly informed regarding when and how your printer is being used.