A network printer is a printer that is connected to a computer network and can be accessed from many different computers. This can come in handy if you have more than one computer in your home or business but do not want to have a separate printer for every computer. There are several ways you can go about installing a network printer, depending on the capabilities of the printer and the types of computers connected to the network.

Installing a Standalone Printer

1 Connect your printer to your network. The process for this varies from printer to printer. Most modern printers can connect to your network via Wi-Fi. Some printers may be able to connect via Ethernet cable, though this requires that they be close enough to the router for Ethernet to be viable.

  1. If your printer is Wi-Fi capable, you can generally connect it to the network using the built-in menu display. Refer to your printer’s documentation or look up the model online for exact instructions.
  2. Make sure your Wi-Fi printer is close enough to the router to get a solid signal.

2. Connect to the printer (Windows). Now that the printer is on the network, you can use the Windows “Add a Printer” wizard to automatically install the necessary software on your computer to use it. If you are using OS X, skip down to the next step.

Click the Start menu and select Control Panel. Windows 8 users can press ⊞ Win and type “control panel”.

  1. Select “Devices and Printers” or “View devices and printers”.
  2. Click Add a printer at the top of the window.
  3. Select “Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer”.
  4. Select your network printer from the list and click Next.
  5. Install the necessary drivers if prompted. Windows should be able to find and install the correct drivers for most printers.

3. Connect to the printer (Mac OS X). Note that when attempting to connect to a network printer in OS X, it must support AirPrint or Bonjour. Check the documentation for your printer to ensure that it meets these specifications. If it doesn’t, you should still be able to connect via IP address (See the Troubleshooting steps at the end of this section).[2]

  1. Click the Apple menu and select “System Preferences”.
  2. Click the “Print & Scan” option.
  3. Click and hold the “+” button at the bottom of the printer list.
  4. Select the printer you want to add from the menu that appears. If the printer you want isn’t listed, see the Troubleshooting steps at the end of this section.
  5. Click the Download & Install button if prompted. OS X includes the necessary software for many printers, but also provides downloads for printers that aren’t built-in. Clicking this button will allow OS X to download the necessary drivers from Apple.

4. Print to the network printer. Once you’ve added the printer to your operating system, you can print to it just as you would a printer connected directly to your computer. Simply select the printer from the “Print” window of any program.

  1. Make sure that the printer is turned on and that you are connected to the same network.

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