Even though Google’s Chromebooks are all about online services, sometimes you need a good old-fashioned printout to go with your digital adventures.
Printing from a Chromebook has gotten a lot easier over the years, but it’s still not always clear how to get started or which paths to take. If you follow this guide, you should be able to print from your cloud-based computer in no time.
[Note: The Cloud Print system, which made it easier to print from any device that was connected to the cloud, was put to rest by Google in 2020. So, some older printers might not be able to print at all from a Chromebook. Make sure a printer works with ChromeOS before you buy it, especially if it’s used. On this page, Google lists some printers that work with it.]
Add a Wireless Printer You Already Have
As long as your printer is fairly new and can connect to the internet, you should be able to add it directly to your Chromebook without needing any extra services.
First, make sure the printer is turned on and connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your computer. How to connect a printer to Wi-Fi depends on the model, but there’s usually a “Wi-Fi” or “internet” option somewhere on the printer’s display, either as an icon on the main screen or as an option in the settings menu. This should show you how to do it.
Have the printer set up and ready to go? What you should do next:
- Click the clock in the bottom right corner of the screen of your Chromebook. Then click the icon that looks like a gear to get to its settings.
- Type print into the search box at the top of the settings panel, then choose Add printer from the drop-down menu.
- Click on the name of your printer in the list that comes up, and then click the Setup button to finish pairing.
- An older printer might show up on the list, but it might not set itself up automatically. Try putting the maker and model number in the box that pops up. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to do it by hand.
Add an Old Wireless Printer
If your printer is an older model and doesn’t show up on the list, you’ll need to click the Add printer button.
- You can call the printer whatever you want.
- In the Address box, type its IP address. (You can usually find the IP address in the display menu of the printer. Check its settings for a section on how to set up a network or wireless connection.)
- Leave the other two fields blank and click the blue button that says “Add.” Type in the name of your printer’s maker (for example, “HP”) and model (for example, “Officejet Pro 8600”) and then choose the right options as they appear. When you’re done, click the blue “Add” button.
Connect a Printer to Your Chromebook in Person
Don’t worry if you have an old printer that can’t connect to the internet, or if it can connect to the internet but you can’t connect it manually as described above. With a USB cable, you can connect your printer to your Chromebook.
- Connect one end of the cable to your printer and the other end to your Chromebook. (Depending on the type of cable you have and the ports on your Chromebook, you may need an adapter.)
- You might get a message that says you need to set up the printer. Click the pop-up, choose Add Printer, and then do what it says.
- If not, open the settings menu on your Chromebook and type “print” into the search box.
- Choose to print.
- To finish, click on the name of your printer and then click the blue “Add” button.
All done! Now, just press Ctrl+P from any browser tab or look for the Print command in any app. (Note: In the Destination field of the Print box that pops up, you might not see the name of your printer right away. If not, click in the field, and if you still don’t see your printer, click on See more… You should see it there.) Then get ready to print as much as you want.
Printing from a Chromebook is easy, but it’s not always clear how to get started. If you follow these steps, you’ll be printing from your cloud-based computer in no time. Some older printers might not work with ChromeOS, so you’ll need to do it manually. With a USB cable, you can connect your printer to your Chromebook. Click the pop-up, choose Add Printer, and then do what it says.
Open the settings menu on your Chromebook and type “print” into the search box. Then get ready to print as much as you want.