While most of us are living in the cloud, there are still some things that need to be printed out on paper. Printing from a Chromebook is possible, but you will need to have the right equipment and set up.

Buy a Google Cloud-compatible printer

If you don't already own a printer — or you want to replace your existing model — the best thing you can do is buy a printer that works with Google Cloud Print. Google Cloud Print lets users print from a Chromebook, Windows or Mac computer using the Chrome browser, and iOS and Android devices. You'll need to tie your Gmail account to the printer before using it for the first time, but after that just keep the printer connected to a network and you can print from any of your devices. Better yet, Google Cloud printers aren't very expensive: Amazon has models as low as $38.

Even if you have other laptops or desktops, you can still use these printers over Wi-Fi, Ethernet or USB.

See Google Cloud printers at Amazon

Convert an old printer to a Google Cloud printer

Let's say you have an older printer that you really love. There's no need to throw it out, but there is some work you'll need to do to use it as a cloud printer. The printer itself will need to be able to connect over WiFi, so you may need to buy an adapter from your printer's manufacturer. You'll also need a desktop computer running Windows or macOS and the Chrome browser to act as your print server.

If this computer is turned off or not connected to WiFi, you won't be able to print anything to your classic printer. Once you have that set up, visit the Google Cloud Print homepage to set the printer up and connect it to your Google account. The same screen can be used later to manage your printers and print jobs.

Plug in a USB cable — with some major caveats

Chrome OS is super light compared to Windows and macOS, meaning it runs much better on low-powered hardware compared to those operating systems. A major part of this is because Chrome OS was built from the ground up less than ten years ago, while the others have decades of legacy code to enable certain functions. One of these functions is printing, and you can plug a USB printer into a Windows or macOS computer and have it up and running in just a minute.

The same is not true for Chrome OS. If you plug a USB printer into your Chromebook, they just won't talk to each other. If you have an HP printer, you may be in luck: HP makes an extension that lets Chromebook users print over USB to some HP printers. In my experience, this doesn't always work out. I've tried HP Print for Chrome a few times — both personally and professionally — and it just isn't stable enough for me to recommend using it. Save yourself the headache and buy a $38 cloud printer.

How to print from your Chromebook

Now that the printer itself is set up, you can print your documents, pictures, and anything else. On your Chromebook, simply press Ctrl + P to print your content. You can also click the three dot menu in the upper right corner, then select "Print."

What say you?

How often do you have to print a document? Let us know down below!

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