With the growing use of smartphones and tablets, the need to print from anywhere has become a major concern for many people. We no longer have the luxury of waiting until we get back home or to the office to print out the documents we need, whether it be a boarding pass or the huge spreadsheet you’ve just received and can’t read on your device.
Printer manufacturers have been keeping up with this trend, bringing out more and more printers capable of connecting to the web or communicating with your mobile device. And smartphone manufacturers are making it easier and easier for you to print via the cloud.
Google’s Cloud Print and Apple’s AirPrint apps are leading the pack, but several printer manufacturers are also bringing out their own proprietary applications to help your device communicate with their older models.
So how can you make sure you can print from anywhere? We outline a few handy hints and tips to keep your printing mobile.
The days of having to plug your printer directly into your computer are long gone, thanks to wireless printers. Using Wi-Fi to connect to your home network, newer printer models can act as a central printing hub for the whole family, as long as each computer has the correct drivers installed.
Installing the drivers is fairly easy as long as you know your printer’s model and have a good internet connection for the initial download. The biggest problem with letting everyone have free-reign access to the printer could be higher printer cartridge and paper use.
Make sure you put some rules and restrictions in place and make sure everyone knows how to print on both sides of a page and how to print in black and white (we show you how in our post How To Save Money by Setting Your Printer to Print in Black and White Only). To make sure that people who are not a part of your network don’t use your printer, make sure your network is secure and check the strength of your password. If you think someone has gained access to your network, change your password immediately.
Print from the Cloud
Using apps like Google’s Cloud Print or Apple’s AirPrint allow your printer to communicate with your smartphone. AirPrint will allow you to print on any printer connected to the same wireless network and works best with AirPrint compatible printers. Cloud Print allows you to connect a printer to your account in seconds and works most efficiently with Cloud Print Ready printers.
You can also use manufacturer-specific printing apps. Newer HP ink and laser printers come equipped with HP’s ePrint technology. OKI has also just brought out their own mobile printing app to work with the full range of OKI laser toner printers and There are also new Samsung toner printers that communicate via NFC with newer Galaxy smartphones and tablets.
The only issue you may run into with these apps is that what is printed may be slightly different than what is shown on your screen. For example, your font may be different or some of the page has been cut off. If you want total control over how your prints look, it might be best to print directly from your computer.