Rather than transport all of your files and printable projects to the sole computer that’s connected to your only printer, you can streamline the process by implementing USB printer sharing in your home or office. In this instance, every computer within a local network will conveniently connect to the same designated printer, no matter where each computer is located.
USB printer sharing is possible for PCs, Macs and even networks that use a combination of both. In each case, it is possible to use your existing printer so you can avoid the expense of purchasing a new one, so long as it can connect to the computer via a USB cable. Proper, up-to-date drivers also play an important role in a successful sharing connection.
For Windows systems:
USB printer sharing for PCs is done through two primary steps: adding a printer to the network and connecting a computer to the printer. Both the printer and computers should be powered on. Each step will ask you to open the menu’s Control Panel.
You will need to click that computer’s Control Panel and open the Printer’s icon. You may need to right click or select Sharing. To share the printer you may need to name it. Additional computers that are a part of the USB printer sharing will also need compatible drivers. Your computer will show you if additional driver downloads for shared computers are required. To connect the computer to the printer, you’ll have the option to pick the desired printer you want through the Add a Printer choice. Firewall settings may have to be changed in order to allow the shared printing data to travel through the network.
For Mac systems:
For USB printer sharing with Mac systems that are versions 10.2 and later, you will encounter similar connection steps with just a few variations.
Once you’ve powered on your system and printer and attach the USB cable, you’ll choose System Preferences in the Apple Menu. You’ll select the Sharing option, open Services and choose Printer Sharing. The printers listed in the Printer Center are subsequently ready for network use.
Updated OS versions from 10.3 to 10.5 will give you expanded options in network printer selections, enabling you to share more than one printer.
When you have both PC and Mac systems:
USB printer sharing is possible with a hybrid of computers. It can get problematic due to the number of variables you may encounter; Internet connection, printer type, computer model and OS version. Some computers and devices don’t know how to operate if they’re required to be fluent in PC and Mac-speak, like in the instance of USB printer sharing. Therefore, it’s a matter of trying to bridge the communication gaps between Ethernet/WiFi and USB.
The easiest, least expensive solution can likely be accomplished with just a USB printer and a network connected computer. You can connect the printer to the PC that links to your router and add a local printer from the Control Panel. Here you may be prompted to install drivers. Among the Printer Properties, enable the Share tab. A PC netbook will take similar steps to share a printer.
However, adding a Mac to the PC mix will take some extra steps. On your Mac, go to the System Preferences and click on the Add Printer section. Navigate to Customize and click on Advanced. Place your printer’s URL in the address bar (which you may have to get from your PC) and then Add. From here, you may be instructed to install printer drivers. In order for this method to work, the computer must be powered on.
Another USB printer sharing option for your Macs and PCs include the purchase of a USB router and its compatible printer sharing software. By simply plugging the printer into the router and following the software installation commands, you can quickly and wirelessly connect all of your systems to the printer.