Tip: Print from Chrome OS and Android

Tip: Print from Chrome OS and Android

Those introducing non-Microsoft devices into their workflows may be worried about losing familiar functionality. Here’s a good example: Can you print to an existing printer from a Chromebook? How about from an Android phone?

In this week’s We Help Wednesday episode of the First Ring Daily podcast, one of the questions we received was about printing from a Chromebook.

A friend of mine asked me to help them pick out a new laptop. They said the really only need it to use the web and occasionally print things. So they said the wanted a cheap Windows laptop, or maybe a Chromebook. How compatible is a Chromebook with printers?

Off the top of my head, I observed that I do print to my network-attached printer from a Chromebook—could, in fact, do so from Android as well—but couldn’t remember the details off the top of my head. So I said I’d look at this again and write it up.

Let’s do this thing.

We have two printers in our home, a network-attached Dell 3130CN laser printer in my office, and a PC-connected HP OfficeJet All-in-One something in my wife’s office. I use the former.

When you try to print from a Chromebook for the first time, the default choice is “Save as PDF,” but Google also provides a “Save to Google Drive” option. Both of these stretch the boundaries of what I’d call “printing” but whatever. You can of course add a printer as well. It’s just not that obvious.

You do so using a system called Google Cloud Print. This system supports Cloud Print Ready printers—there’s a compatibility list—natively, but you can also connect to any printer as well. My network-attached printer is not on the list, so I attach it as a classic printer.

To do so—and this is where things get weird—you have to set it up first from a Windows PC (or Mac) that is running Chrome. So open up Chrome on your PC and type chrome://devices/ in the address bar, and press Enter. The Devices page appears.

Click the Add printers button to add one or more local printers to Google Cloud Print, thus associating them with your Google account.

In my case, the only one I want to add is the Dell, so I unchecked the other choices. Then click Add printer(s). When you do, you’re told that your printers are now registered with Google Cloud Print and you’re ready to go.

And you are: If you go back to the Chromebook and navigate to that same Devices page in the browser (chrome://devices/), you will see that your printer has been added successfully.

Likewise, when you try to print from a web app—Google Docs, Word Online, whatever—that printer is now available.

And it works as you’d expect. (Note that your PC must be powered on in order to print.)

What’s neat about this functionality is that it’s tied to your Google account. This means that any printers you add to Google Cloud Print like this will be available from other Google devices too … including Android phones and tablets. So once you’ve set up a printer this way, you can print from your phone if you want to.

Pretty cool.

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  • 8578

    16 February, 2017 - 11:25 am

    <p>I think the title should&nbsp;be "Tip: Print from Chrome OS and Android to Networked Printer".&nbsp;</p>

    • 5592

      16 February, 2017 - 12:09 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#42722">In reply to </a><a href="../../../users/skane2600">skane2600</a><a href="#42722">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>No, it really should be</p>
      <p>"<em>Tip: Print from Chrome OS and Android Through Google Servers and Your Existing Windows PC to Your Local Printers</em>"</p>
      <p>since you can’t print without&nbsp;Google Cloud Print and without&nbsp;using your existing local Windows PC as a Print Server.</p>

      • Waethorn

        16 February, 2017 - 1:29 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#42739">In reply to MikeGalos:</a></em></blockquote><p>Not true ONE BIT. See my comment in the Premium section.</p>

        • xxxdevxxx

          18 February, 2017 - 12:08 pm

          <blockquote><a href="#42769"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></blockquote><blockquote><br></blockquote><blockquote>I guess this applys only to network printers. In this case Google might use all Windows drivers in the Google cloud for device specific communication and sends it to the Chrome browser. Then, the Chrome browser will open a TCP connection and sends everything to the printer.</blockquote><blockquote><br></blockquote><blockquote>But I doubt that there is a way to plug a non network printer to a Chromebook via USB. Because this would require a driver.</blockquote><blockquote><br></blockquote><blockquote>Anyway, sending every confidential document to the Google cloud is a no way. Because this way you have zero control over your data.</blockquote><blockquote><br></blockquote>

      • PeteB

        16 February, 2017 - 2:28 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#42739">In reply to MikeGalos:</a></em></blockquote><p>FUD. You don't need Google Cloud Print or a local Windows PC. I print directly to my WiFi printer multiple times per day, have been doing it for years. </p>

      • hometoy

        17 February, 2017 - 8:18 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#42739"><em>In reply to MikeGalos:</em></a></blockquote><p>My HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus doesn't have any PCs connected to it and it is always available for my daughter's chromebook or my Chrome browser from anywhere (home, work, library, etc.)</p>

    • 5664

      Premium Member
      16 February, 2017 - 12:37 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#42722">In reply to </a><a href="../../../users/skane2600">skane2600</a><a href="#42722">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>I think the title should be "<em>Fun and Profit through Printing with Chrome and Android: A Layman’s First Guide by Golden Books</em>"</p>
      <p>Not that there’s anything wrong with yours. I’m just being silly.&nbsp;</p>

  • 217

    16 February, 2017 - 12:47 pm

    <p>Funny story. Years ago when Cloud Print was first introduced, I set it up on my (personal) account using a work network printer. Alerts were sent out throughout the company that a hacker penetrated our network, thus forcing them to go to DEFCON 1. I didn’t even think of it until a network admin was in our area when my document printed out of the printer (back then the delay was long). Apparently at the time it was using a port my company never allowed (? – not a networking guy so I have no idea). Two months later Chrome was abolished from personal use. Good times :)</p>

  • PeteB

    16 February, 2017 - 1:26 pm

    <p>Well ofcourse.. Ive been printing from Android for years.. </p><p><br></p><p>Next Paul is going to discover you can plug a keyboard and mouse into Android – and it "just works"! Lol, I kid, I kid. </p><p><br></p>

  • Waethorn

    16 February, 2017 - 1:42 pm

    <p>There are these additional options for Chrome OS devices:</p><p><br></p><p>If you have an HP printer, you can use the HP Print for Chrome app. HP printers are pretty good with compatibility, even if older models don't support Cloud Print. Many direct-USB printers support this method too, which is unusual for Chrome OS.</p><p><br></p><p>If you have a network printer connected to a Unix/Linux CUPS server, or one that supports Internet Print Protocol, you can also use one of a few different apps from directprint.io that support them.</p><p><br></p><p>There are additional apps for Ricoh printers, and Xerox has a web app called "Xerox Mobile Print Portal" that supports not just their brands, but several brands of non-Cloud Print network printers.</p><p><br></p><p>A lot of Android devices will see network printers without needing Cloud Print support too. Google is adding in local printer network discovery without the need for Cloud Print enablement in an upcoming Chrome OS release. Cloud Print is used for local network discovery (like Bonjour for Mac's), but the Internet printing support is what people often think of it as. Cloud Print guarantees that network printers are discoverable on Chrome OS within the local network. If a printer has a built-in print server, Chrome OS will *sometimes* detect it, but it's not guaranteed.</p>

  • 5530

    16 February, 2017 - 1:42 pm

    <p>I don’t find this to be an acceptable solution to printing on chrome os/android, you still need to turn on your windows computer that is connected to the printer to actually print anything – the print jobs are still sent to the printer from Windows, an inelegant solution.&nbsp;Unless you have a network&nbsp;printer that is directly connected to your network.</p>

    • Nicholas Kathrein

      Premium Member
      16 February, 2017 - 2:07 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#42774">In reply to rameshthanikodi:</a></em></blockquote><p>You don't need to turn on your windows computer. You have to get a newer printer. There are many great printers that don't cost much ($130) for an all in one that has Google Cloud print built in. You put in your Google username and password through the web browser and boom you have a printer that will print no matter where you are in the world provided your printer is on and the device your printing from is connected to the internet. Any more issues with this way of doing them are just because it's different and you do need to upgrade an old printer to a new one.</p>

      • rameshthanikodi

        16 February, 2017 - 7:08 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#42782"><em>In reply to Nicholas Kathrein:</em></a></blockquote><p>I know that. But yeaaaaah……nope. No one is going to get a new printer just for Google Cloud Print functionality built it. Printers are the last thing people upgrade tbh.</p>

        • Waethorn

          16 February, 2017 - 8:24 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#42878">In reply to rameshthanikodi:</a></em></blockquote><p>There are many solutions for Chrome OS and Android already that don't involve Cloud Print. See my posts in the Premium comments.</p>

    • hometoy

      17 February, 2017 - 8:11 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#42774"><em>In reply to rameshthanikodi:</em></a></blockquote><p>Look up the articles on setting up&nbsp;a Raspberry Pi to a USB printer that enables any printer to become printable from Chrome.</p>

    • CajunMoses

      21 February, 2017 - 1:55 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#42774">In reply to rameshthanikodi:</a></em></blockquote><p><strong style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38);">HP Print for Chrome</strong></p><p>https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hp-print-for-chrome/cjanmonomjogheabiocdamfpknlpdehm?hl=en-US</p><p><strong style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); background-color: rgb(241, 241, 241);">Easily connect and print to HP printers on the same network of your Chrome device.</strong></p>

  • Waethorn

    16 February, 2017 - 1:52 pm

    <p> Just FYI: Using the Cloud Print Connector requires that you be signed-in to the computer and Chrome.</p><p><br></p><p>If you want to use the Cloud Print Connector as a background service which doesn't require the computer be logged in (great for a print server), you can use this instead:</p><p><br></p><p>https://tools.google.com/dlpage/cloudprintservice</p><p><br></p><p>You will still need Google Chrome installed on the host machine to configure the printer through the service, and connect the background service to your Google Account. If you want a silent-install, deployable MSI version of Google Chrome for Windows, you can get a copy here:</p><p><br></p><p>http://enterprise.google.com/chrome/chrome-browser</p><p><br></p><p>FYI: You can configure this version of Google Chrome to be deployed through the Desktop App Converter as a "UWP" app. I have not tried the Cloud Print Services with it though, but I imagine the sandboxing will pose some problems with the connection to Chrome.</p>

  • TroyTruax

    16 February, 2017 - 1:55 pm

    <p>I have an Epson network printer. Installing the Epson Print Enabler app from the store is the equivalent of installing a printer driver on my Nexus. Now I can print normally from Word right to my printer.</p>

    • Darmok N Jalad

      17 February, 2017 - 12:13 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#42780">In reply to TroyTruax:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yeah, that was my experience as well. If your printer is properly supported by the manufacturer, then you just download their printer app and then the printer is added to the Android device. No need to go through a Google service. </p>

  • wshwe

    16 February, 2017 - 9:45 pm

    <p>Reading this article and the posted comments make my head spin. I'd rather just print from Windows. I don't have any animosity towards Chromebooks. I just prefer Windows.</p>

    • Waethorn

      16 February, 2017 - 10:02 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#42898">In reply to wshwe:</a></em></blockquote><p>Network printers have lots of different protocols. Chromebooks, like Windows, support *some* of those protocols natively, or have drivers built-in, and the rest of the support is up to what the printer manufacturer is willing to provide.</p>

  • martinp17

    Premium Member
    16 February, 2017 - 11:43 pm

    <p>I noticed that it turns printouts into PDF files first, what if I want to print to my label printer or simple Epson receipt printer?</p>

  • Jeff Jones

    17 February, 2017 - 1:21 am

    <p>Are there any good print servers with Google Cloud print built in? Seems like this should be an easy thing to add to a regular print server.</p>

  • Darmok N Jalad

    17 February, 2017 - 12:06 pm

    <p>Maybe there needs to be an article about how frustrating Windows' ancient print spooler can be. About 3 years ago, I bit the bullet and spend decent money on a dedicated inkjet, the HP Officejet Pro 8100. Not on did it support wireless printing, but it actually had an RT driver for the Surface 2 that I owned at the time. It has been a very good purchase, as it has been mechanically reliable, and we have been able to wirelessly and independently print to it from all sorts of devices, be it iOS, Android, MacOS, or Linux (the only thing I've not tried is Chromebook). Ironically, it's our Windows 10 machine that struggles the most with wireless printing. It frequently thinks the printer is offline, even though the printer will accept jobs from every other device in the house at that very moment. No amount of troubleshooting resolves it, so we resorted to the traditional wired connection because it had gotten so frustrating. Everything dies in the print queue, and because the jobs refuse to cancel from the printer's queue window, I have to manually shut down the print service and delete the stalled jobs from Windows Explorer. Even a reboot won't clear them.</p>

  • hometoy

    17 February, 2017 - 8:15 pm

    <p>I set up my HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus to cloud print.&nbsp; Not only does it work for my daughter's Chromebook, it works for my Chrome browser.&nbsp; </p><p><br></p><p>And it doesn't matter from where I am when I print to the cloud printer… so I can be at work and during my lunch break, print off some forms and stuff to the printer and they are ready when I get home.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

  • MEH

    22 April, 2017 - 12:20 pm

    <p><strong style="color: rgb(17, 17, 17);">I have an Acus Chromebox-M004U Deluxe with Chrome OS platform.</strong></p><p><strong style="color: rgb(17, 17, 17);">It has been a night mare trying to find a compatible wireless printer. I purchased a Canon IX6820 because it's Cloud print enabled and it's connected to my network. I no longer have all the original packaging so I am stuck with it.</strong></p><p><strong style="color: rgb(17, 17, 17);">Any help would be appreciated.</strong></p>


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