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Branch Office Direct Printing Overview


Applies To: Windows Server 2012

This topic introduces the Branch Office Direct Printing feature in Windows Server 2012 and describes how it can reduce your network costs if you have branch office printers combined with a centralized Print and Document Services environment.

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Feature description

Branch Office Direct Printing can reduce Wide Area Network (WAN) usage by printing directly to a print device instead of a server print queue. This feature can be enabled or disabled on a per printer basis and is transparent to the user.

This feature requires a print server running Windows Server 2012 and clients running Windows 8. It is enabled by an administrator using the Print Management Console or Windows PowerShell on the server.

Practical applications

Branch Office Direct Printing may be able to save your organization money by reducing network traffic on expensive WAN links and by reducing the workload on busy print servers centrally located in your datacenter.

Important functionality

Branch Office Direct Printing may benefit your organization in the following ways:

  • Client computers running Windows Server 2012 obtain printer information from the print server, but send the print jobs directly to the printer. The print data no longer travels to the central server and then back to the branch office printer.

  • The printer information is cached in the branch office, so that if the print server is unavailable for some reason (for example if the WAN link to the data center is down), then it is still possible for the user to print.

  • The client computer renders the print job before sending it to the printer. The major difference between Branch Office Direct Printing and Client-Side Rendering (CSR) is that Branch Office Direct Printing does not send the print job to the server. Instead the job is sent directly to the printer, resulting in a significant reduction in network bandwidth usage when the printers are centrally managed.


    CSR, first supported with Windows Server 2008, allows print jobs to be fully rendered on the client when targeting a shared printer hosted on a Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 computer acting as a print server. After being rendered on the client, the print job is sent to the print server for queuing and printing by the print spooler without additional server-side rendering. This feature is enabled by default on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, and is not available on earlier versions of Windows.

  • Scalability may be improved as server load will be reduced, but exact amount depends on your organization’s printing environment and setup.

Software requirements

Branch Office Direct Printing requires the following operating systems:

  • Windows Server 2012

  • Windows 8

See also

For more information about Branch Office Direct Printing, see the following topics:

Content type


Product evaluation

Branch Office Direct Printing Technical Details


Configure Branch Office Direct Printing

Related technologies

Print and Document Services Overview