Currently, there are only a very limited number of ways to print files that are created on Windows Phone. Many of the options only provide a way to print photographs that were clicked from a windows phone, while others provide some kind of subscription based service where you upload or email a document to the service and the service sends the file to a networked printer.
I recently read a really great article, called “Print Files from any Mobile Phone using Dropbox” on the digital inspiration blog. I modified some of the steps that are laid out in the article to clarify how you’d use this method with a Windows Phone.
Step 1: If you don’t already have a Dropbox account, go sign up for one and install the Dropbox software on the computer that is connected (either by wired or network connection) to a printer.
Step 2: Download the ePrint.zip file from digital inspiration’s website. Unzip the file and click on the eprint.vbs file. This will create a PrintQueue subfolder within the My Dropbox folder on your computer.
Step 3: Email the files you want to print from your phone to your unique “sendtodropbox” email address. If you haven’t already connected the “send to dropbox” service up with your Dropbox account and gotten a unique email address, go to the “SendtoDropbox” website and do it now; then create a contact on your phone called “Dropbox” and input your unique email address into the email field. (The SendtoDropbox service provides you with a unique email address to use to send documents to your Dropbox account – emailed files will be automatically uploaded and stored in an Attachments folder).
Step 4: Move the files that you want to print from the Attachments folder to the PrintQue folder in your online Dropbox account. I’m using a third party application called BoxFiles for Dropbox on my phone to manage my online Dropbox files and this application makes it really easy to move or copy files from one folder to another:
- Open up the BoxFiles for Dropbox app and find the file you want to share
- Tap the icon to the left of the file name, then tap “Copy” or “Move” (see the fifth & sixth options in the screenshot to the right)
If your computer is turned on the files will be synced from your online Dropbox account to your computer and the files in the PrintQue folder will be automatically queued up and printed on the local default printer that is connected to your computer.
Go over to digital inspiration’s blog and read through the article there to watch a video and learn more about how the PrintQueue folder and the eprint.vbs file works.
Okay, I know you’re not really printing files from a Windows Phone…you’re actually printing files from your desktop computer, but the process sure makes it easy to download and print files that you create on your phone. If you are away from your office, but leave your computer turned on, you could queue up files to print from your phone while you’re on the go and then when you return to your office your printed files will be waiting for you in the printer tray.
BTW, you can also use this method as a quick and easy way to print files while you’re seated at your computer…just copy the files you want to print from any folder on your computer to the My Dropbox > PrintQueue folder.