Universal Print - frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Find answers to commonly asked questions about concepts and scenarios related to Universal Print.

Universal Print basics

Q. What is Universal Print?

For organizations committed to the Microsoft 365 cloud, Universal Print is the modern, cloud-based print solution that provides robust and centralized print management capabilities and a straightforward end user experience, while eliminating the need to maintain traditional on-premises print servers, active directory, or install printer drivers. Universal Print is a multi-tenant print solution service hosted on Azure. For organizations that are committed to Microsoft 365 cloud, it replaces the Windows Server print server functionality.

  1. It is fully cloud based: setup, configuration, management and troubleshooting
  2. It works with new ‘UP ready’ printers, but provides a transition for existing printers
  3. It offers a familiar Windows print experience for users (discover, install and print)
  4. It enables extensibility for an ecosystem of managed print service providers

Universal Print allows IT departments to configure their organization's printers so that employees can print seamlessly from any device, and for organizations to lower the cost of printing, while supporting their business needs. Printer manufacturers, software providers, and service providers can build on the cloud service to deliver advanced functionality.

Q. Who is Universal Print for?

Universal Print is for customers who are moving to the cloud and need the ability to print using a cloud service, as Azure Active Directory joined devices are unable to discover printers on local print servers. Therefore, customers seek a solution from Microsoft to remove the need for on-premises print servers and gateways.

Q. What are Universal Print ready or compatible printers?

A Universal Print ready / compatible printer is a printer that has a Universal Print compatible firmware. Printer manufacturers are releasing new printers that are Universal Print ready. Printers currently in the market may become Universal Print ready with firmware updates. See the Universal Print web page to find out more about Universal Print ready printers and print solutions from our partners.

Q. Does Universal Print also work with hybrid setups where devices are joined to Active Directory and Azure Active Directory?

For Universal Print, Windows devices must be connected to Azure Active Directory. Hybrid joined devices will work too provided they are joined to Azure Active Directory. You can check if a device is joined to Azure Active Directory by launching command prompt and running the following command:

dsregcmd /status

Licensing and Pricing

Q. How will Universal Print be licensed/priced?

Universal Print will be licensed through Microsoft 365 Business, Enterprise E3 and Education A3. Details will be announced at a later date.

Q. Does the private preview cost anything, or is it just a trial until GA?

Customers don't need to pay for getting access to Universal Print private preview. To express interest, please refer to the Universal Print announcement blog post.

Universal Print connector

Q. What is the Universal Print connector?

We have a connector for current printers that have no updated firmware. The connector is a small Windows application that can connect many printers to the Microsoft 365 cloud, and can run on any Windows PC on the network. Refer to Installing the Universal Print connector for more information.

Q. Can I install the connector on Windows Server? What is the minimum server version?

Yes, the connector can run on a Windows Server. Windows Server 2016 or later is required. Refer to Installing the Universal Print connector for more information.

Q. Can I install the connector on an Azure Virtual Machine (VM)?

Yes, if the VM has network access to the printers on the organization's network.

Q. Can I install the connector on a Linux OS?

No, the connector is only available for Windows 10 and Windows Server.

Q. What is the maximum number of printers the connector can support?

There is no enforced maximum. It depends on available resources on the connector machine as well as the number of print jobs. In other words, on the same network and for the same number of print jobs, a Windows Server 2019 machine with eight cores and 64GB of RAM will be better at routing jobs to more printers than a Windows 10 machine with two cores and 2GB of RAM.

Q. Is the machine with the connector installed on it required to be on-premises and always on?

Connector needs to be connected to the same network as printers, available 24x7 and connected to internet. Connector is a solution to support your existing printers. As new printers that support Universal Print natively are launched, the connector won’t be required for those printers.

Security

Q. What kind of encryption is used?

All the data in transit is encrypted using SSL (https) with TLS 1.2. In the cloud, print data is stored the Office storage partitioned for each customer - this is same storage used for mail, OneDrive etc.

Q. How is the print job stored in Universal Print service when its queued?

Universal Print stores all print queues in Office data storage. This is the same storage that stores customer's Office 365 mailboxes and OneDrive files.

Q. Does the job remain on the Universal Print service after printing? If the printer cannot be reached, is there a pruning schedule?

A job stays in the print queue for a few days. If job is not claimed at the printer within three days, it gets marked as aborted. Even after printing, a job may stay in Universal Print for a few more days (up to a total of 10 days).

Q. Does Universal Print support pull printing capabilities?

Universal Print currently does not have these capabilities, but we are working on coming up with new features to address customer needs. Please file new ideas or vote for the existing ones at Universal Print Feature Requests

Q. Does Universal Print work with Role based access control (RBAC)?

Azure AD users and groups are used for assigning access to printers.

Q. Are firewall exceptions required for Universal Print to access on-premises printers? Does it work through a proxy server?

None! There are no incoming requests to printers or connectors (all requests are outgoing). As long as Universal Print endpoints are not blocked, everything will work.

Q. Is Universal Print available for US Government Community Cloud (GCC) or/and other sovereign clouds?

No. During preview Universal Print is available only in Azure public cloud. We are actively investigating the requirements for supporting sovereign clouds. Adding sovereign clouds is on our roadmap.

Printer Locations

Q. Can this be configured to manage many printers over multiple locations?

Yes. With Universal Print, users can print to any printers within their organizations by just connecting to internet.

Q. Are users required to be on local network or connected to Virtual Private Network (VPN) to print with Universal Print? There is no need for VPN or being on same local network.

Q. My user has rights to use hundreds of printers in various locations. How does Universal Print offer the nearest one to the user?

Universal Print offers multiple ways in which a location can be specified. You can use the Country, City, Building, Floor etc. Alternatively, we have built GPS based location proximity. If admin specifies the latitude and longitude of the printer in Universal Print portal, and same is available for the user, we will do the nearest match.

Q. Will Universal Print be able to automatically map printers based on location like third-party solutions?

Yes. If the user has GPS location, and admin has specified printers' locations with latitude and longitude, then the printers can be found based on proximity.

Q. Can print administrator set default Printing Preference when using Universal Print?

Yes, the Universal Print section in administrative portal allows you to configure default printing preferences for each printer.

Q. Can we script access control for each printer to a group of users, say in the Azure PowerShell?

PowerShell is on our roadmap. Details will be shared soon. Tools can also use Graph API. To learn more, visit Universal Print cloud printing API overview.

Q. What reporting functionality is available through Universal Print?

Currently administrators have access to a basic set of reports that include print usage grouped by user or printer.

Q. Is multi-tenant management possible?

Universal Print has been validated to work within the same Azure AD tenant. To enable printing across tenants, you may create a new feature ask or vote for an existing one at Universal Print Feature Requests.

Q. Can the registration process be done via a script or other batch type to register a large amount of printers?

Some bulk capabilities already exist (like registering multiple printers at the same time on a single connector). We are working on PowerShell support which will enable writing scripts for bulk jobs. Additionally, we are considering bulk scenarios for UI improvements as well. For specific ideas we recommend you to create a new feature ask or vote for an existing one at Universal Print Feature Requests.

Q. Does printer assignment support nested and dynamic Azure AD groups?

Yes, access control to the printer supports them.

Hybrid Cloud Print (HCP)

Q. Why should an organization choose Universal Print over Hybrid Cloud Print?

Universal Print is a replacement for Hybrid Cloud Print. Universal Print addresses additional scenarios, and is much easier to set up and scalable.

Q. User is unable to add Universal Print printers from a Windows device that was configured for Hybrid Cloud Print. Is there anything required to be done on the device?

For Windows device to work with Universal Print, HCP settings need to be cleaned up. Delete the following registry key to clean-up HCP settings:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\PolicyManager\current\<SID>\EnterpriseCloudPrint

If Intune or any other MDM solution was used to deploy the HCP setting, then ensure that the corresponding policy is removed. Otherwise the HCP setting will be pushed again on the Windows device.

Miscellaneous

Q. Can we choose PostScript (PS) vs. PCL driver types that get pushed to user's machines?

There is no driver pushed to the users' machines. Support to print to Universal Print is built into Windows.

Q. Does Universal Print driver support PCL, PS or other PDLs?

Universal Print is based on PWG's IPP standard, and supports IPP PDLs. We are working through the list of those PDLs. In preview we support PDF.

Q. Are printers installed as local TCP/IP devices?

Universal Print printers connect to internet and spool jobs in cloud using the service hosted in Azure.

Q. Does the print job always go via Azure even when the client and printer are on the same Local Area Network (LAN)?

Currently all jobs are spooled in cloud and routed via Azure. For new feature ideas or to vote for the existing ones, please go to Universal Print Feature Requests.

Q. Can a user still print if their device is not connected to the internet?

No, user will not be able to print unless the device is connected to internet. Connector needs to be connected to the Universal Print service via internet as well to get the print jobs that are spooled in the cloud.

Q. Does Universal Print support label printers?

Universal Print currently supports page printers only. We made these printers the higher priority because they are more widespread and versatile.

Label printers are a totally different class of printers that use different print job description protocols and different document formats. We plan to investigate adding support for label printers in Universal Print. We currently have no projected date of when they will be supported.

If you still have a question that is unanswered, reach out to the Universal Print technical community