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Dan DiGiacomo

Universal Print Drivers: The Key to Simplifying Device Management

Jan 27, 2012 11:22:28 AM

As large-scale organizations and enterprises amass a fleet of printers and MFPs, managing myriad print drivers can be a headache for administrators and a source of frustration among end users, especially as new output devices are added that need to be accessed. The potential problem can also extend to smaller and mid-size organizations seeking compatibility between varying devices and software. Fortunately, universal print drivers (UPDs) can make life easier for IT departments seeking a way to provide end-users with the ability to output to virtually any printing device, without needing its specific driver. Even better, most device OEMs offer UPDs at no cost. Some UPDs tested by Buyers Lab work across devices from all manufacturers, while others are specialized for devices of a particular brand.

Ricoh’s Driver for Universal Print is an example of the former, allowing users to print to almost any output device on the network without requiring the machine’s dedicated driver to be installed locally. This UPD works in conjunction with Ricoh’s PrinterSwitcher, a utility that automatically searches for available printing devices on the network and adds them to a list of print destinations that users can choose from when printing a document. By removing the need to change drivers between MFPs and laser printers while also providing a consistent printing interface, Ricoh’s Driver for Universal Print reduces unsuccessful printing, saving time for users and IT departments.

Sharp’s Universal Driver (UD), on the other hand, provides simplified management and ease of use for IT administrators by offering one driver for all Sharp devices. Sharp’s UD offers automated discovery of Sharp MFPs and printers on the network, full range of finishing support, color management, Job ID support, the ability to create a printer list, save a default printer and more. It’s offered free of charge as part of Sharps MFP and printer value proposition, and helps lower the overall cost of ownership for Sharp devices.

If you have clients seeking to simplify management of their device group, read our recent Solutions Briefs for Ricoh’s Driver for Universal Print and Sharp’s Universal Driver.