How to Print Microfilm

By Cassandra Tribe

You can print pages from books and periodicals archived on microfilm easily.
i notebook and books image by Sergey Galushko from

Microfilm is used by many libraries and institutions to record documents but save on storage space. Users can load microfilm into a reader and then view the material. The reader allow the microfilm to be quickly searched and scanned for relevant information. When the correct material is found, the the microfilm can be printed. Printing requires a digitizing or non-digitizing printer that is already connected to the reader. The process to print microfilm is easy.

Step 1

Set the microfilm reader so it is displaying the page to be printed.

Step 2

Select the "Print" option on the microfilm reader. In some institutions, most commonly universities, an account is required to log in through a connected computer and access the printing option.

Step 3

Adjust the printing options to get the best results. Change the film type from "automatic" to the specific type of microfilm you are viewing: positive or negative. A positive film will show pages as if they were a normal (black text on a white background) while a negative film shows the reverse (white text on a black background). If possible, chose a non-digitizing printer for material that has a lot of smudges or unclear spots on it to print a clearer copy. A digitizing printer will try to "fill in" the gaps on random smudges as if they were letters and the result will be a copy that is difficult to read. Set the contrast of the print: go lighter for dark microfilm and darker for faint pages.

Step 4

Print the microfilm. Print a few of the same page but set to different contrasts if it is hard to read the entire page.