Are you having trouble setting up or printing from a Chromebook?
So you’d think you could just plug in a printer on a Chromebook and it’ll work.
You’re frustrated and confused. You’re disappointed.
Maybe you plugged in your printer to your Chromebook via USB and you notice that chrome doesn’t respond to it.
Or maybe you’ve been trying to set up Google Cloud Print with no success.
You just want to learn how to print from a Chromebook (and nothing more). Something so basic.
How could it be so difficult?
Have no fear, we’re here to help you out and answer all your questions. This guide will get you up and running (or printing) in a snap.
Last updated: 1/29/21. Updated for 2021.
It doesn’t work like a PC
On a regular Windows computer, you can simply plug in your printer via USB and it works.
It’s simply just plug and play.
However, on a Chromebook, it’s not (though you’d probably expect it to).
You’ll have to use a network-attached or Cloud Ready printer. But the good news is that it’s just a matter of switching on a few settings using Google Chrome’s web-based interface.
This is one thing that confuses a lot of people who are used to using Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10. Chrome OS doesn’t function exactly the same way for printing.
The web-based interface is like a central command station that can send out printing tasks to whichever printer you’re targeting- whether it’s the one at home or the one at work. This means you can print from anywhere in the world to any printer. If they’re both connected to the ‘net, you have no boundaries.
Sounds cool huh? Here’s how to set it up.
Update: With a lot of people working from home now in 2021, printers have become a necessity for many workers. Thankfully, if your printer is Cloud Ready, you can print from ANYWHERE that has a WiFi connection. Doesn’t that sound easy?
How to set up and attach a printer to your Chromebook (via USB)
Here’s how to set it up:
First, we’ll set up a network-attached printer.
If you don’t know what this is- it’s your basic printer that connects via USB that’s attached to your network, which is what the majority of people have.
Step 1: You have to set up access via Google Print. To do this you want the first launch your Chrome Web Browser. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to sign into your Google Account.
Step 2: Click the menu button in the top-right corner. Go to “settings” on the drop-down menu. Click “show advanced settings” at the bottom of the screen.
Step 3: Click “sign into Google Print.” You should now see the Google Cloud Print option with a button to add printers. Go ahead and click this button.
Step 4: You now get a printer confirmation message. Go ahead and click “add printers.”
Step 5: After you register your printer click on “manage your printers.”
Step 6: Now you’ll see a list of printers. You’ll see a menu with a “printer management” option, and some other options on the left. You’ll also see the list of your printers and available devices on your right. Select your default printer and confirm it. It should automatically connect. You’re all set.
For Cloud Ready printers, the process is even easier and allows to print to any compatible printer from anywhere in the world. It’s literally a printer powered by the cloud.
How to set up a Cloud Ready printer on your Chromebook
Here’s how to set up a Cloud Ready printer:
You just need to add it to your list of printers. That’s it.
Thankfully Google makes it easy because they provide instructions for almost every printer manufacturer such as Canon, Epson, HP, and Dell.
Step 1: Launch Google Chrome and sign in to your account. Go to “settings” in the menu and then click on “show advanced settings.”
Step 2: On the left-hand side you’ll see an option that reads “add a Cloud Ready printer.” Go ahead and click it.
Step 3: You’ll be taken to a page that almost looks like a sales page featuring some various printers. On the left-hand side you’ll see a list. Click the manufacturer of your printer.
Step 4: Now you’ll see a list of detailed steps and instructions just for your specific printer. Go ahead and follow these instructions to set up your printer. It’s really not too difficult and you should be done in a jiffy.
Once you have your printer connected to the cloud, you can print using any device connected to that same network. This works across the world as long as your printer is connected to the Internet.
Print using Google Print
Okay, so now you’ve set up your printer and it’s connected to the cloud.
Ready for the next step? We’re going to print using Google Print (the fun part).
Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Open your Chrome web Browser if you haven’t done so. Select the menu icon in the top-right corner. Choose “print” from the drop-down menu.
Step 2: You’ll see a new window with your printer on the left-hand side and some specifications on the right (with a print preview). If you want to change your printer, click “change printers” on the left-hand side. If the default printer is the one you want then you’re all set.
Step 3: Make any changes to the specifications, such as your layout, your number of copies, print margins options, or specific pages you want to be printed.
Step 4: Click “print.”
Now your browser will automatically send your print job to your Cloud-connected printer via Google Cloud Print.
Wasn’t that easy?
How cool is that?
Sure, setting up a printer with Google Cloud Print may take a few additional steps compared to traditional plug and play on a Windows or Mac computer.
But once it’s set up it’s a lot more convenient.
You can connect to any printer no matter where you are as long as it’s added to your Cloud Print list. Whereas if you are using a traditional printer you would have to connect it and configure it every time you move location or you’re away from your default printer- assuming it doesn’t have any Cloud Print capabilities.
So now you’ve learned how to print from a Chromebook using Google Cloud Print.
I think you’ll like the sense of satisfaction every time you click that print button.
Don’t forget to check out our other Chromebook tips.
(Not working? Need help getting it to work? Check out this troubleshooting guide for printers.)
Thanks for reading.