Universal Print (Preview): First Impressions

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Universal Print is currently in private preview. More details can be found in the announcement blog:
https://aka.ms/announcinguniversalprint

Long time ago I signed up our organization to join this preview of Universal Print, and today I finally got the welcome mail . So, I’ve been playing around with Universal Print for an hour or so, and so far I’m pretty impressed. This post is just about my first impressions of Universal Print.

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Universal Print is a new modern print service experience in Azure. This portal allows administrators to manage their print devices without deploying print servers.

  • Register printers with Azure Active Directory
  • Control printer properties and configuration from one central location
  • Manage user and group access to printers across the organization
  • Users seamlessly discover and print via their AAD credentials

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Prerequisite

The preview requires Window 10 1903 or later. This might change later, but for now its 1903.

Assign licenses

Once Universal Print is enabled for a tenant, a Universal Print license needs to be assigned to every user who will be using it, including administrators who manage it. You can manage this like any other user license in Azure.

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Set up the Universal Print connector

Current in-market printers cannot communicate with Universal Print directly, and require a proxy Universal Print connector. In this test I just installed this my own laptop, but a dedicated device will most likely be recommended for most customers.

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Register printers using Universal Print connector

Before a printer can be managed using Universal Print, Universal Print must be made aware of that printer. This involves creating a device object for the printer in Azure Active Directory.

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After the connector registration finishes, the app displays a list of available printers that are ready to be registered with Universal Print.

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Assign permissions and share printer

Registered printers need to have permissions assigned to Azure AD users and security groups. Once the permissions are configured, the printer needs to be shared for the users to be able to add it to their device for printing.

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Add a Universal Print printer to a Windows 10 client

To add a Universal Print printer to a Windows 10 client, simply use the built-in Add Printer feature in Windows 10. Pretty simple…

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When I learn more about this, I’ll create a new blog post on how to assign the printers using Microsoft Endpoint Manager (Microsoft Intune).

Print job status

The print job status is displayed per printer in the administrative portal. Each print job includes a job ID, the user who created the job, the status of the job and the date the job was created.

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Printer usage reports

Universal Print provides downloadable printer usage reports for the last 30 days of printer usage. Each report should include the Print ID, Usage Date, Completed Black and White Job Count, Completed Color Job Count and Incomplete Job Count.

I don’t know how often this statistics is updated, but after 5 hours or so I still don’t see any data. I don’t expect these data to update more than once per day, so I’ll see what happens tomorrow…

Conclusion

As a 100% cloud native (Cloud Only) organization, I’m super excited to see this feature, and I’m looking forward to see what the future brings. But as a “version 1” feature from Microsoft, I’m pretty impressed.

Universal Print Resources (Learn more)

Microsoft Docs:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/universal-print/

Universal Print Connector:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/universal-print/fundamentals/universal-print-connector-installation

Universal Print community:
https://aka.ms/UPCommunity

That’s it… Happy Printing

/Ronni

About Author

My name is Ronni Pedersen and I'm currently working as a Cloud Architect at APENTO in Denmark. My primary focus is Enterprise Client Management solutions, based on technologies like AzureAD, Intune, EMS and System Center Configuration Manager. I'm is also a Microsoft Certified Trainer and Microsoft MVP in Enterprise Mobility.

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