Mac 101: How to Print on Your Mac

It is almost certain that you will need to print on your Mac sooner or later. While it may seems like an easy task, many users fail to see what is possible with printing on Mac. From adjustments to colour to being able to change page orientation, many Mac users don’t know enough about this aspect of their Mac. Today, let’s take a look at how to be an expert on printing with your Mac computer. It’s easier than you think, and once we dig in, you’ll feel right at home with printing on your Mac.

The Easiest – Pages, Paper Size, and Orientation


This is a very simple part of the printing settings page, and it is the same regardless which OS you use. The pages section is split into “All” or by the page. If you select all, you’ll print every page of the document. If you are in the select pages page, you can choose to only print a certain range of the document. For example, you can print pages 10 – 12 instead of all 20. Page size allows you to optimize the printing for only a document or envelope, etc. This allows you to make the settings work for what ever project you have going on. Orientation allows you to choose whether you’d like to have the page printed horizontal or vertical.

Print Settings – Unlocked

The printing sections are the area that allow you to change according to color settings and to designate according to the type of paper you are using. If you are printing on an envelope, or a photo paper, this is the section, under “Media Types”, where you can change paper settings. If you can’t find the ideal paper settings, Apple allows you to create custom paper sizes. Speed is also a setting that is adjustable, allowing you to compromise printing quality over a quicker printing process. However, with the automatic printing settings, the printer will be able to figure out the best printing time and quality for your printer.

Adding a Printer


There are of course two types of printers that we all know about – wired and wireless. Wired printers are easier to configure than a wireless printer. To connect a wired printer to your Mac, simply connect the USB cable to your Mac’s USB port. Your Mac should recognize it at once. If it is not recognized, it could be that the printer is too old or not supported. Wireless printers can be added by ensuring that the printer and your Mac are under the same WiFi connection. After that, install any necessary software, and you’re all done.

The Printing Queue Page


When it comes to the printing queue page, there are a few things that you need to know:

  • First, you have a Delete button allowing you to delete a printing job.
  • Hold allows you to pause an upcoming job.
  • Job info allows you to know more about what you are printing, in terms of how many pages, etc.
  • Pause printer stops your printer in its tracks, mostly used to stop a current job without having to physically press the button on the printer.
  • Supply Levels allow you see how much ink is in your printer, allowing you to know when a replacement cartridge is needed. Apple even gives you a link to the page for the cartridge for your specific printer.

Sharing a Printer


Mac allows you to share your printing so other machine can send their print jobs to this printer too. Go to the Sharing section of System Preferences. Simply check the “Printer Sharing” box. From there, you have the ability to share the printer anywhere that is sharing the printer’s WiFi connection. Note that this feature is only possible for wireless printers.

You can select which printers can be used, if there are multiple printers on the connection. From there, you can even adjust who can share the printer. For example, that everyone can print, or just those signed into a certain account. Apple automatically sets the “Everyone” print setting to “No Access” to prevent any unwanted printing jobs. This allows you to set the settings yourself.

Alert, Alert!


Lastly, let’s look at the various alert icons that the Mac uses in alerting the user of a printing problem or situation. The first icon is the badge with a number. This allows you to know how many jobs are currently in the queue. The printer with a green pause button shows that your printer is currently paused, waiting to continue. If there is an important warning, hindering your Mac from continuing a printing job, you’ll get an icon with a yellow triangle and a white exclamation point. An offline or unconnected printer will have a yellow circle with an offline symbol. Any problems with a more complicated solution will have a red octagon with an exclamation point.

As you can see, there are many things that Apple allows your printer to do, making your next printing job less complicating. Let’s start a conversation below, comment with any questions or problems you may have about printing.

Ari Simon
Ari Simon

Ari Simon has been a writer with Make Tech Easier since August 2011. Ari loves anything related to technology and social media. When Ari isn't working, he enjoys traveling and trying out the latest tech gadget.

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