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How do I share a printer with multiple computers?

Answer: Many households now have multiple computers, but only one printer. Therefore, it makes sense for several computers to be able to share a single printer. Fortunately, most modern operating systems include a feature called "printer sharing" that allows you to do just that.

Below are instructions for Windows and Macintosh computers. Follow these steps on the computer the printer is plugged into.

Windows 7

  1. Open the Windows Control Panel.
  2. Select "Network and Sharing Center."
  3. Click "Change advanced sharing settings."
  4. Click the downward facing arrow to expand the current network profile.
  5. Under File and printer sharing, select "Turn on file and printer sharing."
  6. Click "Save changes" and enter your password if necessary. This will turn on file and printer sharing.
  7. Click the Start menu, then select "Devices and Printers."
  8. Right-click the printer you want to share, then click Printer properties.
  9. Click the Sharing tab, and check the box next to "Share this printer."

Once you have completed the above steps, other computers connected to your local network will be able to access the shared printer. In order to use the printer, each user will need to add the printer by following the steps below.

  1. Click the Start menu, then select "Devices and Printers."
  2. Select "Add a printer."
  3. Click "Add a network, wireless, or Bluetooth printer."
  4. Select the shared printer and click Next.
  5. Follow the instructions on the screen to set up your printer.

Macintosh

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Select the "Print & Fax" option.
  3. Check the box next to "Share this printer."
  4. If printer sharing is off, click the Sharing Preferences… button. (This preference can also be accessed by selecting the "Sharing" option in System Preferences.)
  5. Click the checkbox next to "Printer Sharing" to enable printer sharing.

Once you have completed the above steps, other Macintosh computers connected to your local network will be able to access the shared printer. Windows users can also access the shared printer if they install "Bonjour for Windows." If In order to use the shared printer, each user will need to add the printer by following the steps below.

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Select the "Print & Fax" option.
  3. Click the "+" icon in the underneath the list of printers on the left side of the window. If the network printer is available, it should should up in the "Add Printer" window.
  4. Select the printer from the list and click the Add button.

Important: In order for a shared printer to be accessible, the printer must be plugged into a computer and the computer must be on and awake (not in sleep mode).

Entered: September 17, 2011 – by Per Christensson

Category: Software

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