How to Add a Printer to Your Chromebook

A man using a printer on a desk.

 

moodboard / Getty Images 

Adding a printer to your Chromebook is probably different than what you may have experienced in the past on traditional operating systems such as Mac or Windows, as everything is managed by the Google Cloud Print service as opposed to the OS itself. This allows you to send documents wirelessly to printers that reside at your location or somewhere else far away, as well as take the traditional route with a printer physically connected to your Chromebook in some cases.

If you've ever tried to print something from Chrome OS without having a printer configured, you may have noticed that the only option available is to save the page(s) locally or to your Google Drive as a PDF file. While this feature can come in handy, it's not exactly printing! The tutorial below will show you how to add either a cloud-ready or classic printer for use with your Chromebook.

Cloud Ready Printers

To determine whether or not you have a Cloud Ready printer, first check the device itself for a logo usually accompanied by the words Google Cloud Print Ready. If you cannot locate it on the printer, check either the box or the manual. If you still cannot find anything stating that your printer is Cloud Ready, there is a good chance that it is isn't and you'll need to follow the instructions for classic printers found later in this article. If you've confirmed that you do indeed have a Cloud Ready printer, open your Chrome browser and continue with the steps below.

  1. Power on your printer if it is not already running.

  2. Navigate the browser to google.com/cloudprint.

  3. After the page loads, click on the Add Cloud Ready Printer button.

  4. A list of Cloud Ready Printers should now be displayed, categorized by vendor. Click on the name of your printer's manufacturer (i.e., HP) in the left menu pane.

  5. A list of supported models should now be listed on the right-hand side of the page. Before continuing, look to ensure that your particular model is shown. If it is not, then you may have to follow the classic printer instructions below.

  6. Each manufacturer provides a different set of directions specific to their printers. Click on the appropriate link in the center of the page and follow the steps accordingly.

  7. After you've followed the instructions provided by your printer vendor, return to google.com/cloudprint.

  8. Click on the Printers link, located in the left menu pane.


  9. You should now see your new printer in the list. Click on the Details button to view in-depth information about the device.

Classic Printers

If your printer is not classified as Cloud Ready but is connected to your local network, you can still set it up for use with your Chromebook by following these steps. Unfortunately, you will also need a Windows or Mac computer on your network in order to establish a connection to Google Cloud Print.

  1. Power on your printer if it is not already running.

  2. On your Windows or Mac computer, download and install the Google Chrome browser (google.com/chrome) if it is not already installed. Open the Chrome browser.

  3. Click on the Chrome menu button, located in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window and represented by three vertically-aligned dots. If Chrome requires your attention for an unrelated reason, these dots may be temporarily replaced by an orange circle containing an exclamation point.

  4. When the drop-down menu appears, click on the Settings option.

  5. Chrome's settings interface should now be displayed, overlaying your browser window. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Show advanced settings link.

  6. Scroll down again until you locate the section labeled Google Cloud Print. Click on the Manage button. Note that you can bypass steps 3 through 6 by entering the following syntax into Chrome's address bar (also known as the Omnibox) and hitting the Enter key: chrome://devices.

  7. If you are not already logged in to your Google account, click on the sign-in link found at the bottom of the page under the My devices heading. When prompted, enter your Google credentials to continue. It is important that you authenticate with the same Google account that you utilize on your Chromebook.

  8. Once logged in, a list of available printers should be displayed under the My Devices heading. Since you're following this tutorial, we'll assume that your classic printer is not in this list. Click on the Add printers button, located under the Classic printers heading.

  9. A list of printers available to register with Google Cloud Print should now be displayed, each accompanied by a checkbox. Ensure that a checkmark is placed next to each printer that you wish to make available to your Chromebook. You can add or remove these marks by clicking on them once.

  10. Click on the Add printer(s) button.

  11. Your classic printer is now connected to Google Cloud Print and tied to your account, making it available to your Chromebook.

Printers Connected via USB

If you're unable to meet the criteria described in the above scenarios, you may still be in luck if you have the right device. At the time of publication, only printers manufactured by HP can be connected directly to a Chromebook with a USB cable. Don't worry, as more printers are added we'll update this article. To configure your HP printer in this fashion, first install the HP Print for Chrome app and follow the instructions provided.

Printing From Your Chromebook

Now, there's just one final step in order to print. If you're printing from within the browser, first select the Print option from Chrome's main menu or use the CTRL+P keyboard shortcut. If you're printing from another app, use the appropriate menu item to initiate the printing process.

Once the Google Print interface is displayed, click on the Change button. Next, select your newly configured printer from the list. Once you're satisfied with the other settings such as layout and margins, simply click on the Print button and you're in business.

The next time you go to print something from your Chromebook, you'll notice that your new printer is now set as the default option and that you no longer have to hit the Change button to proceed.