So you’ve just bought a wireless printer – congrats! But how do you get it hooked up to your wifi so that you can start printing right away?
Join the club. Connecting printers to wifi networks is one of the most confounding things in the world and, despite what a lot of people think, installing a printer is not as easy as plug and play. We’re here to make life easier for all those who are struggling with their new wireless device by walking through the steps required to connect it in detail.
Doing so will not only get your printer hooked up and ready for you to start using it, but will also help you keep your new toy from sitting in a box unused.
So, for the purposes of simplicity, we’ll be working with a wifi-enabled Epson Expression XP-950 printer. This is a fairly common setup, but there are a lot of differences between printers and we can’t cover all of them here. So be sure to look up what your specific model needs before diving in as this article won’t work for all printers.
We’re also going to assume that you know how to connect a network cable from your computer to the printers network port. If you don’t, scroll to the bottom of this article for a quick and easy set up guide.
We’ll be using Windows 8 by way of PC to connect USB cable. If you’re doing this on a PC, check out our article on connecting one printer with a Mac.
Step 1: Go to Control Panel
In order for your computer to recognize the printer from within Windows 8 or later, you need to tell it what kind of networked device it is (Ethernet, wifi, etc). To do so in Windows 8 / 10 , navigate to the Control Panel . From here navigate to Network and Internet > View network connected devices . You should see your printer listed as “Epson Expression XP-950”.
Step 2: Select “Set up a new connection or network”
Select the “Set up a new connection or network” option and select “Connect to a workplace”.
You’ll be asked how you want to connect at this point. Select the option that says “Connect to an available network”. If you don’t see this option, go back to the previous screen and make sure your printer is selected as a device that you want to connect to.
You’ll then be prompted for your wifi password. Enter it and click next. We’ll skip over setting up security at this point since we’re assuming you already know how before coming here if you’re setting up your own printer.
If you’re having trouble connecting, check out our article on troubleshooting wireless setup problems.
Step 3: Type your wifi name and password
At this point, you’ll be asked to give your printer a name. This is the name that Windows and other programs will use to communicate with it. I’m using the same name as my network since we’re sharing an existing one so I could be a little more descriptive than “Epson Expression XP-950” (how many times do people get confused by this and wonder how in the heck do I know they have a printer?).
Make your choices here then click next.
Step 4: Enter your destination TCP/IP address
At this point you may be prompted to set up a “Virtual Server”. This is just a name for the printer and can be whatever you want. A common name to use is “Printers”.
Enter it however you’d like and click next.
It may ask if you want to enable DHCP (a really good idea) or if you’d rather use static IP on your printer. If you are using DHCP, enter the IP Address and Subnet Mask you’d like to assign. If setting up static IP, make sure your printer matches up with the IP Address given here. Note that if your network uses 192.168.10.0 as the default IP, changing it to 192.168.10.x means you’re using subnetting and will require you to enter that number in the beginning of your IP address.
Step 5: Enter your printer’s IP address
There’s not a lot we can do here but enter your routers IP Address (the one that shows up on both your computer and printer). I’m going to use 192.168.10.1 for my router, but you should keep in mind that this is something you will need to contact your router company about and it’s probably something different from what I’m showing you here. If you don’t know what to do here, start by looking at the address in your printer and look up how to find on the internet. We’re trying to match this up and you need it to be right if using DHCP above.
Relevant reading: Recycle Printer Cartridges: A Quick Guide
Step 6: Click Next
At this point, everything should be set up and we can click “finish” on this screen which will take us back to other networked devices that we can view. You’ll likely have the option of setting up an ad hoc network at this point (for a direct connection from one computer too another). You can do that if you’d like but you’ll have a difficult time sharing photos or printing from that computer later. If you do want to set up an ad hoc network, be sure to right click on the printer and share it with the computer you want.
Step 7: View your printer in Windows Explorer
At this point, you should see your printer in “Windows Explorer” or “File Explorer” under Network or My Network Places if using an older version of Windows. You’ll need to select the “Set up network printers” option for each computer that will be printing from this location though – not all computers will recognize it automatically. You can do this in “Programs and Features” in Windows Vista if you’re that version or simply go to Control Panel > “Add a printer”.
Figure 13: In Windows, the printer will show up under My Network Places (or Network unless using Windows Vista) and you’ll be able to add the printer to whichever computers you have set up.
Step 8: Print from other computers
Now let’s see how we can print from a computer:
Type the computer name (likely something like “Epson Expression XP-950”) on your network and follow along. I’m using my printer as “Epson Expression XP-950”.
Related article: How To Buy a Printer : Buying Guide
Step 9: Select your printer and send a test page
Here, we’re going to select our printer from the list of network printers. It’s likely called “Network Printer (Shared)”. If you have more than one printer, you may want to check the available printers on the following screen before doing so. If you’re using Windows Vista, it may be something like “HP Officejet 6700”. In my case, I’m going to use the generic “Epson Expression XP-950” printer. If we want to print on a color printer, select “Color (Enhanced)”, otherwise, we’ll use “Monochrome”.
Step 10: Print a test page
Now that we’ve selected our printer and chosen the type, let’s send it a test page. To do this, just click on the icon that looks like a sheet of paper with a printing border. You should get a dialog box listing the name of your printer and Choose Default. On the next screen, you can choose to print using Draft or Standard mode but I’m just going to use “Normal” for now (this shows you how to set up basic printing). This will likely be the last time you have to touch your computer throughout the whole process.
Step 11: Print a test page on your printer
Now all you have to do is wait for the test page to print out on your printer. This may take a minute or two depending on how many pages are queued up and how fast your computer and printer are. You should see a dialog box prompting you to cancel or wait if there is going to be a delay. If you don’t want to wait around, go ahead and cancel it by clicking the “Cancel” button.
Click “OK” when it has finished printing out. Do NOT hit the “Print” button. If you try to print the test page before it finishes, it will not work!
Step 12: Print out your books!
You can now hit the Print button on your printer (again, do NOT click “Print”). This process of hitting Print again and then hitting OK on Windows should be the same as the last step. On Mac OS X things may work a little differently. In Mac OS X you should first have to quit out of whatever program you were running before printing. You can do this by clicking on a menu option like File/Quit or XEQ/Quit (in my experience File/Quit works better).