You can directly print any document from your Android phone without saving the file or transferring it to a computer.
There are three ways of taking such printouts: 1) using a company plugin app available in Play Store, 2) using a third-party cloud printing app, and 3) connecting your Android phone to a printer-enabled computer over a USB cable.
Note: if you have a newer Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi direct printer, you may use any of these methods, preferably the first two. If you have an older wired printer which cannot connect to wireless networks, the last method is best.
Note: For printing from your iPhone or iPad, follow the steps here.
1. Connecting Your Physical Printer with Its Android Plugin App
Depending on your printer brand, you will have to search for its official plugin app at the Play Store. For this example we will use the HP Print Service plugin which is shown below.
You can easily find the company plugins for Canon, Samsung, Xerox, Brother, Lexmark, and other printers. The syncing steps will be different.
If using the HP Print service plugin, install the app, go to “Settings” and select “Discovery.”
For a Wi-Fi direct printer, enable Wi-Fi direct to automatically sync your printer with the app. Otherwise, go to “Manage added printers.”
Add a printer on a Wi-Fi network as shown below. Click “directly to the printer” in case a printer has already been added.
Before proceeding to the next step, you must know your printer’s IP address. There are more than a few ways to obtain it.
- If you have a new printer with a prominent menu display, use the physical arrow keys to navigate to its IP address from a “Network status” option.
- You can find the printer IP by logging into your router as shown here.
- Open the command prompt on a computer and enter
netstat -rto discover all devices (including printers) which connect to its Wi-Fi network.
The third step is shown here for a printer connected to a Windows computer.
You need to make sure your printer has been enabled for network sharing. In Windows 10, go to “Printer properties” and click “Change Sharing Options.” Once done, go back to the app and add the IP address. Give the printer a name of your choice.
If both your phone and the printer are on the same Wi-Fi network, they will sync. You can now use the app to take printouts directly from your Android phone.
2. Using a Third-Party Cloud-Printing App
If your printer does not have an official plugin in the Play Store, you can use a third-party cloud-printing app such as Cloud Printer.
After installing the app, the cloud printer will access your Google account.
To add the printer to the app, go to “Settings” and enter its IP address obtained in the previous section.
You can also use Google cloud printing to take printouts of Google Drive, Google Photos, and other services.
3. Connecting Your Android Phone to a Printer-Enabled Computer Using USB Cable
If you have an older printer which does not connect in wireless mode, you can connect your Android phone to a printer-enabled computer using a USB cable.
On a Windows 10 PC, go to the Start menu and look for “Bluetooth & other devices.” The Android phone should be visible here.
Make sure the Android phone is visible on your computer.
Download PrintHand Mobile Print app and go to “Manage Printers -> Print Setup Wizard.”
For choosing a desired printer, use the option “Connected to a computer.”
In the next step, choose your operating system: macOS, Windows, or Linux. As shown in the first section, sharing has to be enabled for the computer-connected printer.
Once the printer is set up, go back to your Android phone. Open the PDF, image file or any other document. Click the three-dot menu on your phone which has the “Print” setting. Select the shared PC printer, and take any printouts directly from the phone.
That’s it. Want more help using your Android phone? Check out how to stop Android apps running in the background.
Image credit: Close-up of Businessman Holding Cellphone for Printing Graph Paper by DepositPhotos