If you are like many people today, your smartphone often serves as a substitute or even a complete replacement for your usual laptop or desktop computer. Today’s smartphones make replying to emails, surfing the web and performing many other tasks that once required a computer a breeze to perform on the go. However, you might think that there is one task for which you still need a traditional computer: printing. With a little know-how, though, you can use your smartphone to easily send print jobs.
Some smartphones include pre-installed printing programs. However, if that is not the case with yours, you can easily add one, such as PrinterShare, PrinterOn, iPrint, CyPria or PoGo. In fact, many printer manufacturers now offer an app designed specifically to work with that company’s printers. Some of these apps are available for free, others cost a few dollars and still others allow you to choose between a free app and a paid version that includes additional functions.
There are two basic means by which these apps can handle print jobs. The easiest is to send the job directly to your printer; of course, this only works if you have a printer with wireless or Bluetooth capability. If this is true of you, once you have located the printing app on your phone, open it and select the “Add a Printer” option. If the printer is turned on with its wireless capability enabled, you should see it listed on the phone screen. The app will then direct you to choose what type of item to print, including pictures, PDF files, documents, web pages and so on. You can then choose the specific location of the item you wish to print, make any necessary adjustments to the number of pages to be printed and release the job to the printer.
Even if your printer does not have any type of wireless connectivity, you can still send print jobs to it from your smartphone. The only difference is that you will need to send them via the internet, using a computer as a go-between, instead of sending them directly to the printer. Even if you do have a wireless printer, this setup can be useful if you wish to send a job to be printed while you are away from your home or office (and therefore, out of range of the printer’s wireless signal). Many smartphone printing apps, such as PrinterShare, can handle both printing modes, switching from one to the other on the fly.
If you want to be able to print without using a wireless printer, you will need to install a small software program on the computer that is connected to the printer. After you connect the app on your phone to the program on the computer, you will be able to launch a print job using the app; it will then send the job to the computer, which will send it to the printer.
Finally, if you frequently have to print on the go from your smartphone, consider the possibility of buying a portable or mobile printer you can take with you. You might not be able to carry this type of printer around in your pocket along with your phone, but it will fit easily into a briefcase or backpack.
The author of this article Kate Jones is going out next week to buy herself a smartphone that she has been saving up for.
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