Print from Your Mobile Devices from Smartphone and Tablet to the printer

Smartphones, tablets, and eReaders have become standard devices for surfing the Web, reading emails, and helping us get things done. But one of the major thorns in the side of mobile users is that, up to this point, it’s been inconvenient—and often impossible— to print out documentation, attachments, and pictures from our mobile devices. This situation is changing. Take a look at how you can network your printer and configure your mobile devices to quickly and easily produce printouts.

Smartphones
Smartphones

What You Need

The first requirement is a wireless home network, because your smartphone or tablet will usually send data to your network printer via a Wi-Fi connection. Next, you’ll need a printer that can connect, either wired or wirelessly, to your home network. (Note that those with iOS devices will need to purchase a printer that’s compatible with Apple’s AirPrint technology.) A printer that connects via Wi-Fi is more convenient than a wired model, as you’ll have the freedom to place the printer anywhere within the wireless coverage area. A wired connection can work, but you’ll need to have both an Ethernet cable and an AC outlet nearby.

To connect a printer to your network using a wired connection, you’ll need to run an Ethernet cable from your router to the printer. For a wireless connection, just enter the network name and security credentials when you set up the printer. Wireless printers typically support the 802.11b/g/n standard, which should work with just about any wireless router purchased in the last few years. Of course, you’ll also be able to use the wireless printer with any traditional PC that’s connected to your home network.

Use A USB Printer

It’s also possible to use a shared printer that’s connected to a network PC via USB cable, but it’s not as convenient as a network printer. First, the computer that’s physically connected to the printer must always be left on. Secondly, you’ll need to configure the printer such that it’s publicly shared on your home network. A true network-ready printer makes it easier to produce printed documents from your mobile device.

Produce Prints

Those with iOS devices can use the AirPrint technology built into their iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch to print directly to any AirPrintcompatible printer. The same can be said of Android devices printing to a Google Cloud Print-enabled printer. With this technology, you’ll just need to ensure that the wireless printer is turned on; when you’re in a mobile device app and select Print from within the app, it should recognize and automatically connect to your AirPrint- or Cloud Print-enabled printer.

If your printer isn’t AirPrint- or Cloud Print-enabled, look for an app in the Google Play or Apple Store made by the printer manufacturer to help connect it to your mobile device. These apps offer direct wireless connection to the printer and may also add additional print and scan options. For example, Epson offers iPrint, Canon has Easy-PhotoPrint, HP provides ePrint, LexMark provides Mobile Printing, and Samsung offers Mobile Print. In addition, HP and Epson both offer Email Printing, which assigns an email address to the printer itself. You can use this free email address to send attached documents directly to your printer. This means that you can actually print from anywhere.

For now, you won’t find as many printing tools for Windows 8 or Windows RT devices, but keep in mind that tablets running Windows 8 Pro can use the same printer drivers and USB connections that a Windows 8 PC would use, so those tablets won’t need any special apps or tools to enable printing from those devices.

Tablets
Tablets

Print Via Bluetooth

Some mobile printers, such as HP’s Officejet 100 Mobile Printer, include built-in Bluetooth technology, allowing you to send documents and images to the printer from any Bluetooth-enabled device. In addition, USB Bluetooth print adapters are also available for some printers to let you add Bluetooth connectivity to the printer itself. For example, Epson’s Bluetooth Photo Print Adapter 2 works with many models in Epson’s Stylus Photo, PictureMate, Artisan, and Workforce lines.

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