How to Connect a Printer to a Laptop

So, you have got a new printer, or a new laptop and the two devices now need connecting with each other?

You’d think that pairing electronics that are meant to work with each other would be a simple process, and 99% of the time, it is.

But occasionally, you do everything you think you were meant to do only to find error messages or a printer that sits silently on your desktop no matter how many times you smash that print button.

Sometimes you just need to double-check that all the basics have been followed. So, treat this article the same way you would when looking for your mobile, only to be told to check your pocket and find it there.

You’ll be tempted to say that there’s no way the solutions can be so basic – yet how often is it that the most simple fixes work?

1. Connecting a printer via USB

Yes, despite what you may have heard, it is still possible to buy printers that connect through this method. Wireless technology hasn’t fully taken over yet.

Also, it could just be that you own an older printer. So that’s why we are going to go through this process.

A. Check How the Printer Installs Drivers

If you do have an older printer, then it may have a disk with the driver on it. However, even the older printers now have their drivers available online. Newer printers should download these automatically. You may have to do a quick Google search if it is an older printer.

B. Turn The Laptop on First

Turn your computer on and make sure it is connected to the internet. Do this before connecting any USB cables to your laptop.

C. Turn on Your Printer

We know we shouldn’t have to tell you this, but it’s part of the step-by-step process, and if we didn’t, you’d tell us we didn’t know what we are doing.

D. Connect the USB Cable to Your Printer USB Port

This should be towards the back of the printer.

E. Connect The Other End of The USB Cable to Your Laptop

It might be a good idea to blow out any dust if your USB ports are rarely used.

F. Wait for The ‘Found New Hardware’ Window to Display

Once this displays, you just need to click install. This installs the drivers you need, and then you should be ready to print.

If this box doesn’t come up, you’ll have to manually search for the driver, download, and install.

To do this, just type your printer model into Google with the word ‘driver’ afterward. Make sure your virus checker is enabled so that you aren’t downloading anything malicious.

2. Connecting a printer and laptop through Wi-Fi

A. Find the Settings

When turning the printer on for the first time, you should be able to find your Wi-Fi network options on the LCD screen. Follow your specific printer manual instructions on how to get there. These aren’t the same on all printers.

Find the setup page that lets you adjust Wireless LAN Settings.

B. Link to Wi-Fi

After accessing Wireless LAN Settings, find your SSID (your Wi-Fi network) and select it.

To connect the printer to the Wi-Fi network, enter your network password, and your printer is ready to be connected to.

C. Find Printer Settings on Your Laptop

Click the Windows icon to bring up the start menu. Search for ‘Devices’.

D. Connect the Printer to The Laptop

On the ‘Devices’ screen, you will see ‘Add Printer or Scanner’. Click this, and you will see your printer name and model number appear. Click ‘Add Device’. Your laptop will do the rest of the set-up, and you are ready to print.

3. Connecting a Printer and Laptop with Wi-Fi Direct

Some printers come with a Wi-Fi Direct option. This is useful for those who don’t have a Wi-Fi network set up in their house or office.

A. Find Wi-Fi Direct Set-up on Your Printer

This may not be the same process on all printers, so check the specific manual instructions on how to get there.

B. Find Connection Setup

When doing this for the first time, you will be prompted to create a password.

C. Enter a Password

This will likely have to be between 8 and 22 characters long

D. Check SSID name

You’ll need this for the next step.

E. Connect Laptop

Find the SSID and click ‘Connect’. You’ll then need to enter the password you just created to complete the connection.

After the initial setup, all other devices can simply connect by finding the SSID and entering the password.

If you change the password, you will have to reconnect your laptop with the new password.

4. Connecting a Mac and Printer with Apple AirPrint

If you own a Mac, you have a really simple option for printing, so long as the printer you own is AirPrint enabled.

A. Connect The Printer to Your Mac

You can do this either by following the LCD menu on your printer to get to the Wireless Setup Wizard, or with the button only method assuming your printer supports this.

If doing button only, press the ‘Wireless’ button on the printer for 3 seconds. The wireless light should blink. Then press the WPS button on your router. This should connect the printer to your network.

B. Open a Document or Photo for Printing

When you try to print this, your AirPrint printer should now be in the menu. You are ready to print.

Final Word

Advances in technology have made it much easier to connect laptops to printers, but that doesn’t mean it is always plain sailing.

However, when there is a problem, it is usually relatively simple to solve.

If you haven’t been able to solve your issue by reading this article, then the best next step is to call the customer service line that deals with your particular brand of printer.

They are there to help and should have a solution for you.

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