With the release of Windows 8.0, I considered it an oversight. When Win 8.1 was launched, I figured Microsoft was in such a hurry to make the Windows XP/7 purists happy it fell to the back burner. For sure I expected this to be fixed with Win 8.1.1 and all its little refinements. But it was not to be. Now that a new preview release of Windows is mere days away, I think it’s time to stand with the tall trees in the forest and take action.
What the hell am I talking about. The inability to select which pages to print using the Devices/Printing charm in Windows 8.x. That’s what. Every day I deposit precious paper in the circular (now, mostly rectangular) file needlessly. Actually, one of the biggest culprits on more than one front is Microsoft. Ever try printing an XBox, Zune or Microsoft receipt for; apps, music or videos. Every single receipt is two pages, with a couple lines of unimportant legalize on page 2. The receipts can easily be compressed into a single page. But what would be better for me, and the millions of others who use Modern Mail on a Windows 8.x PC, would be the ability to only print the first page. Period. This is one of the primary reasons I almost never use Modern Internet Explorer. Who want’s to print a 6 page receipt from Staples, when all you need is page 1. And then there is Reader, with the inability to print selective pages from a PDF document. This becomes especially important for tablets and other devices that are being released to avoid the Windows desktop (and real print drivers) entirely. Paper, paper, everywhere. Stop it already!
Not only is Microsoft destroying trees. They’re causing all of us to consume more energy, usually precious battery energy, to send multiple page print jobs to our printers. They’re causing those printers to consume more power to print extra, needless pages. They’re also causing those printers to consume more, expensive & hazardous ink and toner. And of course, the extra printed pages are winding up in our landfills. Unless you save that useless printed paper for scrap/note paper. In that case, this missing option is impacting 3M’s, Mead’s & Oxford’s bottom line. Not having the ability to select which pages to print is a lose-lose for everyone.
I’m sure all of those Microsoft programmers have seen the vast dense forests in our Pacific Northwest. Do they really believe these tall trees are an unending resource. It’s time for Microsoft to step up and make this problem go away on multiple fronts. First, “assume” that everything you email to consumers is going to be printed, even if it never is. Sacrifice a little “pretty” for “efficiency”. Second, and most important, add the option to select pages and page ranges to print. I think this was available in Windows 3.1. How hard could it be.
Then again, this may all be part of Microsoft Zen. We print extra pages in Windows 8 because we still lack the ability to print anything natively with Windows Phone. Maybe it’s all about balance. Or not.