How to Share a Printer on a Network – Step by Step In-depth Guide

By Arindam Roy

As you know, most people have a printer in their home office, maybe even more than one. I myself own two printers, plus a scanner. Some people might put their printers in a family room or living room to be shared by all the inhabitants of the house. Others use them at work and share them with coworkers. But what happens when you want to print something from your home office computer but there is no printer nearby? How do you print without having to go on an expedition?

You need to install network printing on your computer or laptop so that other computers can use the printer over the network. You can also set your printers up for network printing and use the printer on your home network from anywhere in the world through an Internet connection. Today’s printers are multifunctional: They print, scan, copy and fax. If you have a wireless network in your house, you can probably print over your home wireless network from nearly any room as long as you are hooked up to it.

There are two main ways to set up a printer so that it is shared on an Ethernet or wireless home network: set it up wirelessly or connect it directly to the router or hub with an Ethernet cable.

Setting up a wireless printer is relatively easy because you usually don’t have to open the computer case to connect. However, if your computer is in another room, there might be a lot of interference and therefore slower printing. It all depends on the type of wireless network you have. At home I have a N-band wireless router that was very easy to install and has given me no problems whatsoever. In order for this to work, you must use Windows XP or Mac OS X operating systems on the computers that will use the printer. If you want to print from a laptop, it has to be connected directly to your router or hub with an Ethernet cable (called hardwiring).

Also read: How Does a 3d Printer Work – A Definitive Guide

In the following sections, I’ll explain how to share a printer over a wireless network or hardwire it directly to your router or hub. You’ll be able to access the printer from any computer in the house without having to go outside or go through a lot of extra steps.

In order for a wireless network printer to work with other computers, they must be set up as “shared” printers. This means that when you print something from one machine, it goes directly onto the network so that all other machines can use it. The computers must also have the appropriate software installed on each one. There’re various ways to set up a shared printer on your computer; I’ll describe the easiest one, which is also the best choice for most people.

Setting up a wireless printer is relatively easy because you usually don’t have to open the computer case to connect.

One of the advantages of using wireless networking technology is that there are no cables running across your house; it’s all done over an existing network. But be aware that if you have other devices (such as a television) that use your router or hub, those too probably have wireless capabilities. For this reason, it’s best to hardwire all printers and scanners directly into the router or hub. If you’re going to hardwire a printer directly into your router or hub, you need an Ethernet cable. If you don’t have an Ethernet cable, your computer or local store should have them for sale.

Before I start discussing how to share printers over a wireless network, please assume that the following things are true:

  • Your computers work properly locally (no viruses, adware or spyware).
  • You’re running the latest software from Microsoft or Apple ( usually Windows XP or Mac OS X ). If you aren’t sure about this and you want to make sure your computer is current, visit .aspx for Windows or for Mac OS X.
  • You’ve already installed a network printer on the computer you’ll use to print over the network. (How to install a network printer is outside the scope of this article, check your Windows or Mac Help for instructions on how to do this).

Read more: How Does a Laser Printer Work

If the above isn’t true, try spending some time resolving any issues before you continue with this article. Fixing problems now will prevent them from cropping up when you are setting up your home network printing system.

If you don’t have a printer, you’re probably not interested in setting up a wireless network printer. If that’s the case, skip to the section on how to hardwire a printer directly into your router or hub. But if you do have a network printer, there’s no reason not to set up an Ethernet-based, shared printing system.

I’ve tried both methods and my preference is for hardwiring any printers. I like this method because it turns out to be easier with wireless networking and it doesn’t require me to open my computer case whenever I need to print something remotely (although infrared helps speed things up and saves wear and tear on my eyes). Other people use either method.

Regardless of which method you decide on, the following steps are pretty much the same for a wired/hardwired printer and wireless.

The only difference when setting up a network printer is that when you go to print with your computer there’ll be no “print driver” software waiting to be installed. Instead, your printer will immediately accept your printing job, just like all of the other printers on your network.

These instructions should get you going if you’re new to networking and printing:

  • Step 1: Install a print server (I’ll describe this below). For this tutorial, I’ve used Microsoft’s XP Home version as it’s usually the easiest for most people. Place the CD-ROM in your computer’s CD-ROM drive. When it’s installed, try to print something and verify that you get an error message to that effect. If you don’t, then something went wrong with the installation (maybe you didn’t install the printer first) and you’ll need to fix it before continuing.
  • Step 2: Install the printer driver software from either or for Windows XP Home Edition or for Windows XP Professional.
  • Step 3: Install the print server software from or -4168-97B6C57FE049 for Windows XP Home Edition or -A0C6-8F6B2F56EDEE for Windows XP Professional.
  • Step 4: Plug the printer into a network cable and then install the software that came with it. You should now be able to print wirelessly.

Related post: How to connect a printer to wifi- A step by step in-depth guide


If you have an older printer (with a parallel cable) you’ll need to buy a print server adapter, which allows your computer to connect the printer’s parallel port to a network cable. Examples of adapters include PrintServer by NewTek and Print Server Plus by Actiontec Electronics ( ).

For more information about print servers and printers, see .

Option 2: Download the Print Services for Windows XP image from a website (see step 1), and burn it to a DVD or CD.


If you want to install Print Services for Windows XP on more than one computer, you’ll need to perform this installation process again for each computer so it can share the printer with other applications that use print services (such as Microsoft Word). For example, if your workgroup requires two computers in order to do document collaboration, then you’ll need to perform both installations. Then connect the second computer to your shared printer so it can print via Remote Access.

For technical support, contact the following Microsoft support professionals via the Internet:

You may also like: Printer Troubleshooting and Solutions


The Internet addresses for some of these Web pages are not yet active as of this publication date.

Every time someone uses the printer, they have to find the printer and wait for it to wake up from hibernation. They then have to load a new paper and click print a few times before actually seeing their content. It doesn’t seem like much now, but when you multiply this by thousands of days, you’ll be surprised how long it takes. A “shared printer” is where another device is able to send documents directly to your printer without having control over the physical location of your device”. A lot of home printers come with this feature built in. For the purpose of this blog, we’ll call this a “shared printer” or a “networked printer”.

For example, if you have an HP all-in-one printer connected to a wireless router at home and your boyfriend also has one at his house, you can print photos from his computer just by clicking the shared button on the web page. It’s as easy as point and click: since both printers are connected to the same router, any document sent from his computer will be transferred to your printer, so that you can print it (using your own software).

  • 2. Connect the printer to the computer through USB (if possible).
  • 3. Open the “Devices and Printers” menu in your control panel in order to make sure that your printer is listed there. If it is not, install it with the disc provided with the printer, or use this link if you don’t have access to a CD:
  • 4. Open a web browser and navigate to your router’s configuration interface, or open your computer’s control panel (Programs, Control Panel). Then use the network map to locate the name of your printer. If it’s a wireless network, this page will help you find it. If it’s a wired network, enter its name on this page: In most cases, the router will assign a default name to any device connected via LAN cable (e.g.: BRN_HP2011).
  • 5. Open the device’s configuration page in your web browser and click the “sharing” button. If you want to share the printer but have no idea who on your network might be able to use it, you can also add the printer manually. If you choose the latter option, ensure that your computer is listed as a shared printer on its own LAN, and that you have permissions to print from both devices.
  • 6. After accepting the terms and conditions, click “print”.
  • 7. With your printer connected to the LAN (wired or wireless), you can now send and receive documents with only one device. The printer will be visible to any computer on the same network that has a web browser and Internet access.
  • 8. If you select “Home” mode instead of “Work” mode, you can actually print from any computer in your home, as long as it’s connected to the router. You won’t be able to connect from outside though, unless you have an external IP address (which is usually free).

You may also be interested in:
Top 10 Best Printers for Home Use in India
Best Printers You can Buy For Office Use in India
Best Printers under 10000 You can buy in India for Home & Office Uses


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