Mac Printer Sharing With Windows 7

Set up printer sharing on an old Mac

Mac Printer Sharing - Mac Printer Sharing With Windows 7

Printer sharing is one of the most common uses of a home or small business local network. Printer sharing can keep costs down by reducing the number of printers you need to buy.

As of January 2020, Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows 7. We recommend upgrading to Windows 10 to continue receiving security updates and technical support.

In this step-by-step tutorial, we will show you how to share a printer attached to a Mac running OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) with a computer running Windows 7.

Mac printer sharing is a three-part process: making sure your computers are on a common workgroup, enabling printer sharing on your Mac, and adding a connection to a network printer on your Win 7 PC.

What You Need

  • A working network, either Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet.
  • A printer that is connected directly to a Mac running OS X 10.6.x (Snow Leopard).
  • A common workgroup name for the PCs and Macs on your network.
  • About half an hour of your time.

Configure the Workgroup Name

Mac Printer Sharing: Configure the Workgroup Name

Windows 7 uses a default workgroup name of WORKGROUP. If you haven't made any changes to the workgroup name on the Windows computers connected to your network then you're ready to go, because the Mac also creates a default workgroup name of WORKGROUP for connecting to Windows machines.

If you have changed your Windows workgroup name, then you'll need to change the workgroup name on your Mac to match it.

How to Change the Workgroup Name on a Mac

  1. Launch System Preferences from the Dock or Apple menu.

  2. Select Network.

  3. From the Location dropdown menu, select Edit Locations.

  4. Select your active location from the list in the Location sheet. The active location is usually called Automatic and might be the only entry in the sheet.

  5. Select the sprocket button, then select Duplicate Location from the pop-up menu.

  6. Type in a new name for the duplicate location or use the default name, which is "Automatic Copy."

  7. Select Done.

  8. Select Advanced > WINS.

  9. In the Workgroup text field, enter your workgroup name.

  10. Select OK > Apply.

After you click the ‘Apply’ button, your network connection will be dropped. After a few moments, your network connection will be re-established, with the new workgroup name you created.

Enable Printer Sharing on Your Mac

Mac Printer Sharing: Enable Printer Sharing on Your Mac

For Mac printer sharing to work, you will need to enable the printer sharing function on your Mac. We will assume you already have a printer connected to your Mac that you wish to share on your network.

Enable Printer Sharing

  1. Launch System Preferences from the Dock or Apple menu.

  2. Select Internet & Networking > Sharing.

  3. The Sharing preferences pane contains a list of available services that can be run on your Mac. Place a checkmark next to the Printer Sharing item in the list of services.

  4. Once printer sharing is turned on, a list of printers available for sharing will appear. Place a checkmark next to the name of the printer you wish to share, then close System Preferences.

Your Mac will now allow other computers on the network to share the designated printer.

Add the Shared Printer to Windows 7

Mac Printer Sharing - Add the Shared Printer to Windows 7

The last step in Mac printer sharing is to add the shared printer to your Win 7 PC.

Add a Shared Printer to Win 7

  1. Select Start > Devices > Printers.

  2. In the Printers window, select Add a printer from the toolbar.

  3. In the Add Printer window, select Add a network, wireless, or Bluetooth Printer.

  4. The Add a Printer wizard will check the network for available printers. Once the wizard completes its search, you will see a list of all available printers on your network. Select the shared Mac printer from the list of available printers, then select Next.

  5. A warning message will display informing you that the printer does not have the correct printer driver installed. That is fine because your Mac does not have any Windows printer drivers installed. Select OK to begin the process of installing a driver in Windows 7 to talk to the shared Mac printer.

  6. The Add a Printer wizard will display a two-column list. Under the Manufacturer column, select the make of the printer connected to your Mac.

  7. Under the Printers column, select the model name of the printer attached to your Mac, then select OK.

  8. The Add a Printer wizard will finish the installation process and present you with a window allowing you to change the printers name as it appears on the Windows 7 PC. Make any change to the name you wish, then select Next.

  9. The Add a Printer wizard will present a window asking if you would like to set the new printers as the default for your Windows 7 PC. The same window also allows you to print a test page. This is a good idea, as it allows you to ensure that printer sharing is working. Select Print a test page.

  10. Select Finish to complete the printer sharing process.

Using Your Shared Printer

Mac Printer Sharing: Using Your Shared Printer

Using your Mac's shared printer from your Windows 7 PC is no different than it would be if the printer were directly connected to your Win 7 PC. All of your Win 7 applications will see the shared printer as if it were physically attached to your PC.

A Few Points to Keep in Mind

  • Your Mac must be turned on in order for the shared printer to be accessible on the network.
  • Some printer properties may not be accessible over the network. For example, you may not be able to determine the status of consumables on the shared printer, such as how much ink is left or whether the paper tray is empty. This varies from printer to printer, as well as from printer driver to printer driver.
  • Printing from the network may keep your Mac from going to sleep.
  • A sleeping Mac may not be able to respond to printer requests from networked PCs.