How to Print from a Chromebook

While many of us have strived to move into an all digital world, printing is still a necessary evil for most people. If you’re a Chromebook user, printing can be a bit of a pain, but thanks to some recent changes by Google, it just got a little bit more convenient.

RELATED: Seven Useful Chromebook Tricks You Should Know About

Traditionally, Chromebooks have relied exclusively on Google Cloud Print for all printing needs. The biggest problem there is that not all printers are Cloud Print ready, which can cause issues for anyone trying to print from a Chromebook. Fortunately, Google recently added a way to add local printers to Chromebooks—it’s not as simple as it is on other PCs, but at least it’s something. We’ll cover both local and cloud methods in this post, so you’ll be covered either way you go.

How to Use Google Cloud Print on a Chromebook

Before we get into how to add your printer to Cloud Print, l want to note that this assumes you’ve already gone through the necessary steps to set your printer up on your network. Each manufacturer is different, so I’ll direct you to their instructions to learn how to get yours set up.

If Your Printer Is Cloud Ready

If your printer is cloud ready, you can easily do everything you need to do from your Chromebook. To find out if your printer is cloud ready, jump over to this list and look up your particular model.

There are two different generations of cloud ready printers: version 1 and version 2. These versions are noted on the Cloud Ready Printers page—if it doesn’t have a “V2” indicator, then it’s a V1 printer. V2s are easier to set up, so we’ll tackle that first.

Once you’ve confirmed that your model is V2 cloud ready, you can add it to your Chromebook by doing the following:

  1. Open the browser, type chrome://devices in the address bar, and press Enter.
  2. Find your printer in the New Devices menu and click the “Manage” button next to it.
  3. Click “Register” to confirm your printer.

Back on your printer, it should ask you to confirm that you want to add it to Cloud Print. Click “OK” (or whatever button) to make it happen.

Jump over to Google Cloud Print on the web to make sure your printer has been added. Done and done.

If your printer is V1, things get a little tricker and more proprietary. Unfortunately, you’ll need to find how to add it specifically from the manufacturer. Sorry. You could always just buy a new printer, which honestly might be easier.

If Your Printer Isn’t Cloud Ready

Technically, you can add any printer with Wi-Fi to Google Cloud Print, regardless of whether it’s “cloud ready” or not. The problem here is that you can’t add a non-cloud ready printer to Google Cloud Print from a Chromebook—it requires Chrome on a Windows PC or Mac. I, too, am confused by this.

So, if you have a PC or Mac handy, you can add that printer to Google Cloud Print by doing the following:

  1. Add your printer to your computer.
  2. Open Chrome, type chrome://devices in the address bar, and press Enter.
  3. Under “Classic Printers,” click Add Printers.
  4. Select the printer you want to add and click “Add Printer”.

From there, you’re ready to print from a network-connected, non-cloud ready printer. Woo!

How to Use a Local Printer on a Chromebook

You know what’s neat? Local printers now work on Chromebooks! This has been a long time coming, and you can finally bypass the Cloud Printer requirement and straight up add a printer to your Chromebook.

In Chrome OS version 59, Google added this feature to the stable channel, so pretty much everyone running Chrome OS on a relatively modern device should be able to access it now. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple adding a printer to a Windows PC or Mac, but at least it’s possible now.

RELATED: How to See Who’s Connected to Your Wi-Fi Network

Before you try to add the printer, you’ll need to know its IP address. There are many ways to do this, and we’ve outlined some of them in this guide. So find the IP address of your printer, write it down, and come back here.

Then, jump into your Chromebook’s settings menu by clicking the system tray, then the gear icon.

Scroll down and click “Advanced,” then scroll some more till you see the “Printing” section. You’re almost there.

Click on “Printers,” then Add Printer.

From here, give the printer a name and input its IP address that you found earlier. All the other settings should be fine left at the default.

On the next screen, you may have to enter your printer’s model information if it can be automatically detected. This is where things can get a little hairy—my printer info wasn’t listed here. I assume it’s because mine is cloud-ready, but I can’t be sure.

From there, you can just click “Add” and in theory it should connect. Of course, these are printers we’re talking about, which are also known that “the world’s most difficult tech.” So things can (and probably will) go wrong. If that happens, you’ll just have to troubleshoot your specific model of printer, unfortunately.

Once everything does get lined out, however, you should be good to go.

Cameron Summerson is a die-hard Android fan, Chicago Bulls fanatic, metalhead, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at HTG, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, spinning legs on the bike, chugging away on the 6-string, or being disappointed in the Bulls.