While most of us are living in the cloud, there are still some things that need to be printed out on paper, like boarding passes, return labels, and term papers. Despite what you may have heard years ago, printing from a Chromebook is possible, and these days, it's pretty easy to get started.
Products used in this guide
- Affordable printer: Canon MX492 ($200)
- Our favorite Chromebook: Lenovo Chromebook C340 (11.6") ($354)
What you need to know about Google Cloud Print
For a while Chromebooks didn't have printing built in. Since Chromebooks can't download and install the tens of thousands of printer drivers in existence, Google created the Google Cloud Print service. Google Cloud Print is an internet-enabled printing standard that allows users to print on any of their devices — Chromebooks, Macs, PCs, Android phones, iPhones and iPads — whether they're trying to print from the next room or the next state over.
Google Cloud Print has been around for the better part of a decade and the majority of printers on the market today are "Cloud-ready printers" that just need to be registered with your account before you start printing. That said, not all printers have it yet, so check and see if your existing printer is Cloud-ready or if you'll need to grab a printer that is.
Unfortunately, as great a service as Google Cloud Print is, it will be going away at the end of 2020.
Thankfully, Google recently introduced a native print management tool in an update to Chrome OS that allows you to print directly from your Chromebook to a printer on the same Wi-Fi network (or over USB cable) with no complex setup or shenanigans. We'll show you how add your printer to your Chromebook and start printing in no time!
How to connect your local printer to your Chromebook
Now that Chrome OS has native printing baked in, all you have to do is add your printer through the Chrome OS settings and then start printing. Here's how.
- Click the time and battery indicator on the right side of your Chromebook's dock.
Click on the gear icon to open up the settings window.
When the settings window pops up, scroll down and click on Advanced.
- Click on Printing.
Click on Printers.
Here you can manually add a new printer or search your network for Wi-Fi printers. This works for Cloud Print-ready and local devices.
- Find your printer and click Add.
Once you've added a printer, open a Chrome tab or document to prepare printing your document.
Now you are ready to print from your Chromebook.
If you added a Cloud Print-ready device, you can double-check that the printer is indeed attached to your account by going to the Google Cloud Print dashboard. Your new printer should appear in the Printers list, where you can manage your print jobs, printer settings, and share your printers with friends and family members. Just remember that this feature will go away at the end of 2020.
How to print from a Chromebook
Printing the document is easy, and the methodology hasn't changed since before native printing was added to Chrome OS.
- Type Ctrl + P in the page you wish to print, or click the three-dot menu in the top right corner of Chrome and click Print.
The print window will appear with your most-recently-used printing location selection pre-selected. To change the destination you're printing to, click the drop-down arrow next to Destination.
- Click your desired printer.
- Verify your print job settings, such as Portrait/Landscape Layout and Color. If you don't see the settings you want to change, click More settings or Advanced printer options.
Once your print jobs settings are correct, click Print.
If you are printing with the native tool, just go pick up your copies as soon as you hear the printer finishing.
If you're printing via Cloud Print, you'll still be able to monitor your print jobs on the Google Cloud Print dashboard under Print Jobs. This allows you to see if your job has actually printed before you walk all the way to the other end of the house to pick up your printed pages.
Our printing partners
Google Cloud printing is still available through the end of 2020, so you won't hurt yourself by getting a wireless printer that works with the service. You can also always use the native printing tool in Chrome OS through a device like the Lenovo Chromebook C340, our favorite all-around Chromebook.
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