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IT Essentials: a Practical Guide

Devices & Printers

Devices and printers

Desktop computers and smartphones will likely be your most used devices. You might also use printers, scanners and other peripherals that provide additional functionality. This page looks at the practicalities of using multiple devices and working on shared devices at York. We also provide some tips for setting up multiple screens and printing.

Click Next Steps for how to put the tips into practice.


Someone using a photocopier

York Print Plus is the printing, copying and scanning service for staff and students and is available across the university. For more information, visit the IT Services information on printing.

Next Steps...

Make sure your computer is connected to a printer. If it already is, try printing from a mobile device (laptop, tablet, phone) using ePrint.

Formatting for printing

When you go to print something from a device, it is important to check the Print settings and/or Page Setup before clicking 'Print'. Make sure that you have checked if you're printing in Colour or in Black & White. Consider whether you want to print on A4 or if you can print on another paper size (if your printer has that option). If you don't need separate sheets, print double sided to save paper.

Using multiple devices

If you have access to multiple devices, you will need to consider which device is best for which task. For example, a small laptop or tablet would be more suitable out of the office, whereas you may want a multi-screen setup at a desk for more complex tasks.

Lots of applications can be used across different devices. For example, Google has a range of apps that sync across your devices using an internet connection.

IT Services has guidance on using a variety of desktop and mobile devices with university services on the Mobile Devices page.

Working on shared devices

Often when working in the university you will used shared devices, whether in an office, a teaching room, or an IT classroom. If you're a member of staff, you may also share devices with other members of your team or department. There are some things to consider when using shared devices to keep your information and account safe.

Things to consider

  • Save your file(s) in the cloud and you can then access on any device with internet access. Use Google Drive or your personal filestore.
  • We recommend you browse privately when using a shared device, to protect personal details.
  • If you don't have access to the internet, USB sticks can be a quick way of accessing your files remotely. When you've finished, make sure you safely eject the USB stick. Remember to not store confidential data on USB sticks.
  • Make sure you log off whenever you finish using a shared device. If you don't, whoever uses it next will be able to use your account, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

Next steps...

Log in to a shared computer and open an incognito window in Chrome. Try sending an email then sign out of the computer.

Multi-screen setup

A desk with multiple screens being used at once

If you've got a multi-screen setup with your desktop or laptop, here are some tips to get the most out of all that extra screen space:

Things to consider

  1. If you prefer to see your email and calendar at the same time, now you can! Pull out Gmail and Calendar so they're in separate windows, then resize so you've got them looking how you like.
  2. If you need to monitor multiple email accounts, pull out both inboxes into separate windows and place side-by-side.
  3. Position your note-taking app next to your document when typing up your notes.

N.B.1 You could also create this kind of setup if you have multiple devices, such as a phone, laptop and/or tablet, each displaying different apps/information.

N.B.2 Get beautiful, free dual-monitor wallpapers for your computer from Unsplash.