How to Network Your Printer – It’s Easier Than You Think

Setting up a computer-to-printer network is easy. There’s just nothing to it, honest.

There is no need to have a printer for every desktop and laptop in the house when you can network them all to a single central printer.

Enable Printer Sharing

You first need to set things up by turning on File and Printer Sharing from the Control Panel. The following directions are based on Windows XP/7/Vista, and they assume your computer and printer have wireless connectivity.)

  1. Click on your Start icon.
  2. Click on Control Panel.
  3. When the Control Panel, type network into search window at top right.
  4. Click on Network and File Sharing at top of list.
  5. Click on Change advanced settings in panel on left.
  6. Scroll down to File and printer sharing.
  7. Check box to Turn on file and printer sharing.
  8. Click on Save changes.


And, you’re ready to go forward – as easy as changing your HP ink cartridges.

  1. Click Start in the bottom left corner of your display screen.
  2. Click Devices and Printers.
  3. The available printers will appear in a list.
  4. Right click the printer you want to network.
  5. Click on Printer properties in the dropdown list.
  6. Click on the Sharing tab.
  7. Double click on the Share this printer check box.
  8. And, click Next.

On platforms other than XP/Windows 7/Vista
If you are not using Windows, there are other system approaches.

  • Mac OS X has a utility called Print Center. You can plot connection through Print & Fax in System Preferences.
  • Apple AirPrint facilitates wireless printing on Apple iOS devices, such as iPad or iPhone using specialized printers.
  • Unix/Linux provides generic support for network printing, based the Unix printing mechanism called CUPS.


Why Bother?
Networking computers in a home group saves money on multiple printers and multiple ink sources, drives work to the best printers, and permits printing from several locations.

  • This process allows you to work in one room with your laptop and print to your home-office printer.
  • It lets you save on your HP ink cartridges by printing presentation documents to your laser printer and other documents to your ink jet printer.
  • It enables your children to do homework in their rooms and print to a central computer where you can review their work.
  • And, it lets your spouse work at the same time as you and print to the central computer queue, assured that it will print quality product in its turn.

You can free yourself up to move about the house or office. Networking allows you and family or staff to share files. Sharing printers allows you to select among printers if you have more than one. And, it lets you monitor the printing of others on the network as to quantity and content.

Finally, networking one or more printers lets you direct users to a preferred printer to make the most of your ink cartridges or free up other machines with FAX and copying functions. Sharing printers makes an office – home or business – run smoothly and efficiently.