If you mislay the CD that came with your printer and need to re-load the driver for a particular printer (for example, when you replace a computer), you can usually download the necessary driver from the website of the manufacturer of your printer. You may also require a new driver when you upgrade your computer’s operating system. Drivers are usually found on the Support page.

Printer drivers are software applications that enable the computer to communicate the data to be printed into a form that can be used by the printer. Each printer has its own specific driver, which is supplied on the software disk and automatically loaded into the computer when you run the disk as part of setting up the printer. Drivers are usually specific to the computer’s operating system and your computer will automatically recognise and upload the appropriate driver when the software disk is inserted.

If you mislay the CD that came with your printer and need to re-load the driver for a particular printer (for example, when you replace a computer), you can usually download the necessary driver from the website of the manufacturer of your printer. You may also require a new driver when you upgrade your computer’s operating system. Drivers are usually found on the Support page.

As well as allowing printer and PC to interact, printer drivers contain ‘profiles’ (or mathematical descriptions) of each type of paper that can be used with that printer. However, they are only for the papers that carry the printer manufacturer’s brand. These ‘canned’ profiles set the printer’s operating parameters to match the requirements of the selected paper, giving the user the best possible chance of making colour-accurate photo prints. (Click here for more information on ICC profiles.)

With a colour managed set-up (see Practical Colour Management), selecting the correct paper profile should ensure the print matches the image displayed on the computer monitor. If you don’t use the printer manufacturer’s paper the correct profile will not be loaded in the printer driver. Reputable paper manufacturers provide profiles for all popular printers on their websites – and they’re usually downloadable free of charge. Information on how to download and apply them is provided in ICC profiles.

The Driver Interface
Driver interfaces differ with each printer, although each printer manufacturer has its own characteristic style for presenting the adjustable settings to users. In most cases, there are three sections (or ‘pages’). The Main page covers output quality settings, paper (or media) parameter settings (size, type, orientation and source) and any editing adjustments or enhancements the driver provides.


A typical driver Main page.
Some contain an ‘Advanced’ button that opens a sub-menu providing adjustments for colours, brightness and saturation. You may also find Colour Management controls and a variety of ‘Print Options’ including speed settings, greyscale, edge smoothing and print preview. Gamma (contrast ratio) settings may also be provided. Groups of user-selected settings can also be saved for future use, allowing you to set-up different groups of parameters for different paper sizes and types.


The Advanced button provides adjustments for other printing parameters.

Some recently-released printers – particularly models targeted at photo enthusiasts and professional photographers – combine all these settings into a single Main page, making them easier for photographers to access. They may also provide a status window that enables users to check the current settings.


An example of a Main page that presents a wide range of adjustable parameters and provides a status window for checking printer settings.

The second page of the printer driver usually carries page layout settings. These can include paper orientation (Portrait or Landscape), rotation and mirror-image settings, border adjustments and duplexing (double-sided printing) if it is supported. Users can also select from the range of paper sizes the printer supports and choose between sheet and roll feed (if the printer supports both).


A typical Page Layout interface.

The final page usually covers maintenance items like head cleaning, nozzle checking and print head alignment. It may also carry buttons for monitoring the speed and progress of a print job, checking printer status and saving, exporting and importing customised groups of settings.


The Utility page of a recently-released photo enthusiasts’ printer.

How to Use a Printer Driver
Selecting ‘Print’ when you have a digital photo open in an image editor normally takes you to the main page of printer driver. Many image editors interact seamlessly with the driver software to make printing more straightforward and users may be unaware when they switch between applications. Printing a digital photograph usually involves most of the following steps – although they may not necessarily be the order in which we have presented them here.

1. Check that the correct printer has been selected.

2. Use the Paper and Orientation controls to adjust the paper size and orientation settings, if required.

3. Fit your image onto your paper, using the Output Size settings. Select Border-free or Borderless to print the picture to the edges of the paper. Select Fit on Page to fit the image to the paper. This may allow a small margin on two sides or all around the image. To produce a larger margin, use the Custom Size setting and key in either the image dimensions you require or the percentage of the paper you wish it to cover.

4. Selecting ‘Print’ will take you to the printer interface. Then click on ‘Preferences’ to open the printer driver interface and access the paper and printing settings.

5. Match the paper type to the paper you are using.

6. Select Print Preview. This displays how the final print will look and allows you to check that the image is correctly positioned and sized. Note, the image is usually displayed at low resolution so it may look grainy and its colours and brightness levels probably won’t match the final print.

Using Advanced Driver Settings
Some more sophisticated printers include a range of ‘Advanced’ settings that give photographers more control over the printing process. To use them effectively, it’s important to understand how they work.

When making photo prints, to ensure the very best photo quality:

– Uncheck high speed.

– Use the Colour settings to tweak brightness, contrast or saturation levels, if required. Some drivers also provide colour circle or slider adjustments that allow you to vary individual colour levels. (Note: it’s better to make these adjustments in editing software because more precise settings can be achieved and the visual feedback better reflects the changes you have made.)

– If you’re printing from Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, make sure you select the appropriate paper profile and set Colour Handling to Photoshop Manages Colours.
Then click on Print and in the printer driver, set the Mode to Custom then check No Colour Adjustment. (Note: for older printers you may need to click on the Advanced driver setting then select ICM in the Colour Management section and click on Off (No Colour Management) in the ICC/ICM Profile section.)

– For B&W prints, use any special settings the printer provides, such as PhotoEnhance neutral/warm/cool grey or sepia in the Epson Photo printers settings or the Advanced B&W Photo setting on Epson’s professional and enthusiast printers. (See Monochrome Printing for more details.)


Epson’s Advanced B&W Photo driver provides a wide range of adjustments for tweaking image settings and adding subtle colour tones to monochrome prints.

Special Driver Features
Some printers offer a range of additional settings, including greyscale, sepia or neutral/warm/cool grey options for monochrome prints, hue, saturation and brightness adjustments and ‘Photo Enhance’ settings that optimise the printer for different image types. The latter include settings for smoothing skin tones, boosting the greens and blues in landscape shots, sharpening controls and monochrome printing settings (B&W and/or sepia).


The following websites provide links to software applications mentioned in this chapter.

www.epson.com.au/downloads/ for printer driver downloads.
www.photoreview.com.au for articles on digital printing and printer reviews.



For all your printer needs visit www.epson.com.au. Exceed your vision.