The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Chromebook Printing
You’ve got your classic printers and your Cloud Ready printers. Contrary to popular belief, Chromebook printing is possible with old printers that are not Cloud Ready… and, no, it’s not by plugging in your printer directly to the Chromebook as you may have already, undoubtedly, tried. But with the help of Google Cloud Print; it brings the best of the old and the new in one technological and manageable tandem. Read our step by step instructions below.
If you’re shopping for a new Chromebook printer, be sure to check out the Best Chromebook Printers guide.
Old School Printing
Not all Chromebook users have Cloud Ready printers. There are people who still have the classic printers that need to be connected to a laptop or PC in order to get hardcopy outputs. Fear not, Chromebook user. If you think that you need a Cloud Ready printer to print in Chromebook, you’re sorely mistaken. To break that urban legend of Chromebooks not accepting classic network-attached printers, you need three things that will make printing in Chromebooks work. The first one is a computer hooked to the internet to act as a print server; second one is a wired printer connected to the said computer and lastly is an enabled Google Cloud Print on your Google. Chromebooks support keyboard, mouse, Ethernet adapter and USB storage in their USB ports but not printers since Chrome OS doesn’t offer print stacks (a piece of software that converts the data to be printed to the form specific to a printer) and since adding further hardware outside of the previously mentioned items will likely cause problems with the operating system’s “self-knowing” security.
10 steps to using older printers with your Chromebook:
- Turn your printer on.
- Log in to your user account on the Windows or Mac computer.
- Open Google Chrome.
- Click the Menu on the toolbar. (Hint: It’s that three bars on the right side of the browser.)
- Select Settings.
- Click Show advanced settings.
- Scroll down to the “Google Cloud Print” section and click Manage.
- The next screen will show a list of devices already registered with Google Cloud Print, and new devices available in the network.
- In the “Classic printers” section, click Add printer(s).
- A confirmation will appear that Google Cloud Print has been enabled. Click Manage your printers to learn more.
And, voila, you have yourself a Chromebook-compatible conventional printer as long as your laptop or computer is connected to the internet.
Raspberry Pi cloudprint server
Thanks to Shachar and christophertyler we have a solution that is a variation of the above. Instead of using a Windows or IOS computer you can also use a Raspberry Pi B+, which is a very small computer that is only as small as a credit card. Some technical knowledge is required for setting up your Raspberry Pi B+, but of you are attached to your old printer it can be worth it… Specially if you want low energy consumption and low cost; these minicomputers retail for far less than the cost of a cloud ready printer.
Follow these 4 steps and you will be on your way to cloudprinting with your Raspberry Pi minicomputer:
- Buy a Raspberry Pi B+ starter kit (click here).
- Set up Linux using the NOOBS SD card that comes in the above starter kit.
- Connect your printer (click here for instructions)
- Run the Python cloudprint script (find it here)
There… and energy efficient, portable and cool way to connecting your old printer to the cloud!
Chromebook Printing with the Cloud
Cloud Ready printers, on the other hand, connect directly to the internet and register to Google Cloud Print by either following the instructions according to brand online or the instructions your Chromebook manual. These cloud-enabled printers are convenient machines that do not require the omniscient connection of a PC and print drivers, enabling them to print over wireless networks. In addition to that, Cloud Ready printers can keep their drivers and firmware up to date since they’re always connected to the internet.
Google Cloud Print benefits
Now, what’s next after linking to Google Cloud Print? Since Chromebook users are encouraged to live in the cloud, Google Cloud Print definitely makes life easier as it is accessible on demand on any device that has an internet connection whether you’re in the same room as your printer or on another continent. It saves a lot of energy for the user, less hassle when it comes to wires and, definitely, more immediate.
How to print using Google Cloud Print:
Printing with the help of Google Cloud Print can be condensed down into six easy and dummy-proof steps.
- Click the Menu on the toolbar of the Chrome Web browser.
- Select Print from the drop-down menu.
- Choose the desired printer by clicking Change under Destination within the menu on the left side.
- Click the destination printer that you’ll use.
- Choose your desired settings (Pages, Copies, Layout, Margins, etc).
- Select Print.
Last step is to wait for your prints, whether you’re relaxing on the couch with your Chromebook, in Hawaii for a vacation, in the train on the way to the office, or wherever as long as you and your printer are connected to the internet.
So, there you have it. Chromebook printing step by step. Do remember to print responsibly!
UPDATE: added the Raspberry Pi cloudprint server solution.
Now to you… Do you thing Google should make it possible to just plug in your old printer? Or do you like the convenience your Chromebook is giving you by letting you have access to printing in both classic and Cloud Ready printers through Google Cloud Print? Comment below and let me know!