Want to know how your printer is being used? You can easily keep track of printed document history. All you have to do is enable print history in Windows. Let me show you how.
Steps to Enable Print History in Windows
There are two ways you can keep a history of all printed documents. The first method is useful if you just want to keep printed documents history for the next few runs. If you want the print history to be longer, then the second method is the way to go.
Depending on what you need. i.e, short-term or long-term history, follow the method of your choice.
Method #1: via Printer Properties (short duration)
If you just need a short history, you can make it so that the documents in printer queue are not automatically removed. That way, you can track printer history.
1. First, open the PC Settings app by pressing Win + I keyboard shortcut or by clicking on the "All Settings" button in the Notification Center.
2. In the PC Settings app, go to the "Devices → Printers & Scanners" page.
3. On the right-panel, you will see a list of all your printers. Click on the printer for which you'd like to keep the history and then click on the "Open Queue" button.
4. The above action will open the printer queue. Here, click on the "Printer → Properties" option on the navigation bar.
5. In the properties window, go to the "Advanced" tab and select the "Keep Printed Documents" checkbox.
6. Click on the "Apply" and "Ok" button to save changes.
With the above action, Windows stops from clearing the print queue for that specific printer. This simply means that you just need to take a look at the print queue to see the printed document history.
The downside of is this method is if you have multiple printers, you need to manually enable the feature for each individual printer.
Method #2: via Event Viewer (longer duration)
If you want a long-term history then you need to use the Event Viewer to log all the printer activities including the print requests.
1. Open the start menu, search for "Event Viewer" and click on the result to open Event Viewer.
2. Once the Event Viewer has been opened, you will see a folder structure on the left panel. Expand the tree and go to the following location.
Event Viewer (Local) → Applications and service logs → Microsoft → Windows → PrintService
3. On the right panel, find and double-click on the "Operational" entry and select "Properties".
4. In the properties window, select the "Enable Logging" checkbox and click on the "Apply" and "Ok" buttons to save changes.
That is it. From now, Event Viewer will log all printer activities including the printing documents.
When you want to see the logs, filter the logs by Event ID "307" or Task Category "Printing a document". This action will list all the printing activities.
That is all. It is that simple to enable print history in Windows.
Keep in mind that the second method will show meta-information like date and time a document is printed. It will not save the actual documents in history for obvious reasons.
Hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.