While Google’s Chromebooks are all about online services, sometimes you need an old-fashioned printout to accompany your digital adventures.
Printing from a Chromebook has gotten a lot easier over the years, but it’s still not always clear how to get started or which paths to follow. Follow this guide and with any luck, you’ll be producing paper from your cloud-centered computer in no time.
[Note: unfortunately, the Cloud Print system, which made it a lot easier to print using any cloud-connected device, was relegated to the Google graveyard in 2020. This means that some older printers may not be able to print from a Chromebook, period. Before purchasing a printer, especially a used one, make sure it’s compatible with ChromeOS. Google lists some compatible printers on this page.]
Add a current wireless printer
Provided you have a fairly recent printer that can connect to the Internet, you should be able to add it directly to your Chromebook without needing any additional services.
First, make sure the printer is turned on and connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your computer. The procedure for connecting a printer to Wi-Fi varies from model to model, but generally there is a “Wi-Fi” or “Internet” option somewhere on the printer’s screen, either as an icon on the main screen or as an option in the settings menu. This should guide you through the process.
Do you have the printer online and ready? Here’s what to do next:
- Click the clock in the lower right corner of your Chromebook screen. Then click the gear icon to open the settings.
- Type print in the search box at the top of the settings panel, then select Add Printer from the drop-down menu.
- Click the name of your printer in the list that appears and click the Established button to complete pairing.
- An older printer may appear in the list but not be configured automatically. Try adding the manufacturer and model in the pop-up window that appears. If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to add it manually.
Add an older wireless printer
If your printer is not in the list (which can happen if it is an older device), click the Add Printer knob.
- Give the printer whatever name you want.
- Enter the IP address in the Address box. (You can usually find the IP address somewhere in the printer’s display menu. Look in the settings for a section on network or wireless configuration.)
- Leave the other two fields as they are and click on the blue one To add knob. Type your printer manufacturer (eg “HP”) and model (eg “Officejet Pro 8600”) and select the appropriate options as they appear. Click on the blue To add button when you are done.
Physically connect a printer to your Chromebook
If you’re using a much older printer that isn’t internet-enabled, or if it is internet-enabled, but you’re having trouble manually connecting it as described above, don’t worry. You can physically connect your printer to a Chromebook using a USB cable.
- Connect the cable to your printer, then connect the other end to your Chromebook. (You may need an adapter depending on what kind of cable you have and what kind of ports your Chromebook offers.)
- You may get a pop-up message asking you to configure the printer. Click on the popup, select Add Printerand follow the directions.
- Otherwise, open your Chromebook’s settings and type “print” in the search box.
- Select Print†
- Click on the name of your printer and click on the blue To add button to finish.
That is it! Now just press Ctrl-P from any browser tab or search for the Print command in any app. (Note: In the Print box that appears, you may not immediately see the name of your printer in the Destination field. If not, click in the field and if you still don’t see your printer, click View more… You should see your printer there.) Then get ready to print to your heart’s content.
Update May 28, 2022, 9:00 AM ET: This article was originally published on April 17, 2019 and has been updated to explain that Google has eliminated its Cloud Print feature.