How to print from a Mac computer, either wirelessly or with a USB cable

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  • Macs can be connected to a printer via both wireless and hard-lined connections, so printing is always an option even when you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection.
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  • A Mac can remember multiple printers at the same time, so you can configure your computer to print seamlessly at work, at home, at a friend’s house, and so on.
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  • You can customize a number of settings so that your computer and chosen printers will always use the print preferences you prefer.
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Wireless printing has been around for years, and I couldn’t possibly count how many articles, emails, pictures, and spreadsheets I’ve printed using it, but I’m still impressed by the technology.

It’s comforting to know, though, that even in the days of rapid wireless printing, you can still physically connect a computer to a printer for offline printing as well.

To print from a Mac, there are just a few simple steps and a few quick keyboard commands or mouse clicks to master before you’ll be ready to start.

How to print wirelessly from a Mac

Assuming your computer and printer are already connected, then printing from a Mac is pleasantly simple. Once you have the document, webpage, picture, or other type of file you wish to print selected, just:

1. Hit “Command + P,” or click the word File from the top taskbar and then select “Print…”

2. In the popup window, check your settings and, if they’re what you want, click print.

And that’s it. Unless that nearby printer isn’t yet setup with your computer.

If you don’t see a printer available (or at least not the printer you want to use), on the Print popup window, click the taskbar next to the word Printer, then select “Add Printer…”

The computer should then be able to locate any printers nearby that are on the same Wi-Fi network. If your printer doesn’t appear, then go to the printer itself and check its settings (this might require the use of an app) and make sure it’s turned on, online, and on the right network.

If all that fails, or if you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection, you can always connect to the printer through a wired connection.

How to print from a Mac with a USB cable

Before you print via a wired connection, make sure your Mac is up-to-date software-wise; this will save time, letting your computer quickly identify the printer you’re about to connect. For info on how to do this, check out our article, ” How to manually update your Mac computer.”

1. Connect the USB cable to the printer, then plug it into your Mac.

2. Hit “Command + P” or click File, and then Print…, and the wired printer should be set as your default choice. Go ahead and print.

If you are prompted to download more software, go ahead and do it. And if your computer can’t handle the same connection as the Mac, you can buy a multiport adapter to allow a USB output to connect to your Mac’s USB-C (or other) input.