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Network printing demystified

Marco Tabini | Oct. 1, 2010
Depending on your configuration, therefore, making a printer available to all your devices can become a challenge, which is why we put together this handy guide to printer sharing for you.

Connecting from a PC
Despite its near-magic simplicity, Bonjour is and remains an Apple technology that is not available on Windows by default. This means that connecting a PC to a printer that has been shared from a Mac requires a few extra steps.

The easiest approach consists of installing Bonjour Print Services for Windows, a free utility that can be downloaded from Apple's website. This makes your PC Bonjour-capable and allows you to find and add shared printers without spending time learning arcane commands. Once Bonjour Print Services is installed, you can just go ahead and browse your network using an interface that, while Windows-specific, is very similar to the one available on your Mac.
If installing additional software on the PC is not an option, you can also connect directly from your Mac—in this case, you will need to gather a bit of information on the way the Windows machine is configured and use a slightly more manual method.

Printing from mobile devices
Using a shared printer from an iOS device is, unfortunately, more art than science, since Apple won’t build native support for remote printing—called AirPrint—into its mobile operating system until November, when version 4.2 will be released to the public.
However, not all hope is lost: a number of enterprising app developers have come up with their own solutions that bridge this particular gap, though with varying degrees of success. Until AirPrint support is built into a large number of iOS apps—these ad-hoc applications are your best bet for printing from your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.


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