Publishing Printers in Active Directory

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Publishing your shared printers in Active Directory can make locating printers across a network more efficient for your users. In Windows Server 2003, the print subsystem is tightly integrated with Active Directory, making it possible to search across a domain for printers at different locations. By using the standard printer object that Windows Server 2003 provides, you enable users to search for printer-based attributes such as printing capabilities (including PostScript, color, and paper size) and printer locations (allowing users to find printers located near them).

If you plan to publish printers to Active Directory, follow the naming standard that the print services design team created when you fill out the location fields on the printer properties pages across your network. This enables users to enter a standard string to search for printers by location. If you use subnets to define the sites within your organization, Active Directory can find nearby printers – a process that has formerly been difficult for both administrators and users.

For example, if you are in Los Angeles and want to find all the Los Angeles printers in your deployment, search for a network printer by using the Add Printer Wizard and type US/LAX in the Location dialog box. If US/LAX matches the printer location syntax in Active Directory, your search might return the following results:

  • US/LAX/1/101

  • US/LAX/2/103

These results indicate that two printers are available in Los Angeles, located in buildings 1 and 2, in rooms 101 and 103.

Printer publishing is controlled by the List in the Directory check box on the Sharing tab of the Properties sheet for each printer. Printers that are added by using the Add Printer Wizard are published by default, and the wizard does not let you change this setting. If you do not want to publish a printer in Active Directory, after adding the printer, open the printer property sheet, and clear the List in the directory check box on the Sharing tab.

The printer is placed in the Computer object in Active Directory on the print server. After publishing the printer in Active Directory, you can move or rename the object by using the Users and Computers snap-in in Active Directory.

To publish a printer in Active Directory

  1. In Control Panel, open the Printers and Faxes folder.

  2. Right-click the icon for the printer that you want to publish in Active Directory, and click Properties.

  3. On the Sharing tab, select the List in the directory check box.