Customized Print Settings Made Simple and Effective

Printing on plain paper is pretty straight forward. We invoke the “Print” dialog (by going to File > Print… or using the Command+P keyboard shortcut), adjust the quantity and click “Print”. That’s it.

When we print to speciality paper (glossy, cardstock, etc.), it’s usually advantageous for us to adjust those settings slightly to accommodate those paper types. Adjusting for cardstock, for example, will adjust the rollers and print heads slightly to allow for the thicker paper to pass through. Believe it or not, as subtle as these adjustments are, it does make a difference in print quality. Manually adjusting these settings once in a while isn’t too bad, but if you find yourself printing to specialty paper often, this post is for you!

The printing system in OS X is actually pretty sophisticated (yet remarkably easy to use). To create a more automated workflow when printing to specialty paper on a frequent basis, we are going to explore using printing “presets”. A preset is a set of options that define how the page will be printed. These options include:

- border styles
- single-sided vs. double-sided (if supported)
- color matching using profiles
- source tray selection
- print quality
- media type
- paper size
- inclusion of watermarks
- so much more…

To create a preset, we first need to open the print dialog by going to File > Print… or using the Command+P keyboard shortcut. This can be done in any application (printer presets are system-wide).

Note: if you don’t see print options, be sure to click the “Show Details” button at the bottom of the print dialog.


Next, let’s make all the changes we need to to our options. This may include one or two options such as paper size and source tray, or a slew of options to create a totally custom print environment.

Next, well click the drop-down menu next to “Presets” at the top of the print dialog and choose “Save Current Settings as Preset…” and give our preset a name.

In this example, I created a custom preset for printing images to glossy cardstock. 

Now, let’s use this new preset. To do this, we’ll open an image to print (since this preset is geared towards images), and open the print dialog (File > Print… or Command+P). Next, we’ll use the Preset dropdown list to choose our new preset.

Lastly, we print our image. That’s how we make customized printing simple and useful!

In this example, we customized settings to print an image, but this same principal would apply for virtually any scenario... images, business reports, hard copies of invoices... anything! Let your imagination run wild.

Posted on February 5, 2016 and filed under Design, How To, Mac.