Printing on the iPad

More and more there are those of us who would rather walk around with a tablet than a full laptop. Switching from a traditional desktop operating system to a mobile one can cause some frustration, especially when it comes to completing tasks that seem obvious. Take printing, for example. Not every app has a print function, but there are plenty of times where the ability to print would be useful. Fortunately, on the iPad, printing is easier than it seems.

Can your app print?

Whether or not you have an AirPrint capable printer, there are many options to print from the iPad to USB-equipped home printers, networked office printers, and wireless printers alike. First off, you should know that Apple has included the ability to print in most of their apps. Every app has a sharing button where there are more features available. This is usually where you find the Print option.

 

Is your printer connected? And is the printer compatible?

If the ability to print has been added to the app you are using, you will find the print command in the Share menu. Tap the Print button (as seen above) and you will be presented with options. It’s important that your printer is connected to the same network as your iPad. This is much easier to do if your printer connects wirelessly, but as long as the iPad and the printer are on the same network then everything will work.

To print with AirPrint from your iPad, is a simple process:

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  1. Make sure that both the printer and the iPad are     connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
  2. Touch the Sharing button within the iPad application you would like to     print.
  3. Select the "Print" option.
  4. Within the "Printer Options" box,     select the printer by name (if it isn't selected automatically or there     are multiple AirPrint compatible printers on the network) and the number     of copies you would like to print.
  5. Finally, touch the "Print" button.

 

HOWEVER: Before you can use these options, however, you must have a printer that is AirPrint compatible.  Here is a list of Airprint compatible printers (Nov 2012). If your printer is not compatible, you can print using Google Cloud Print. See below. 

 

A program that connects to a printer through your computer.

With this solution, you send the iPad print job to your computer, which then sends it to the connected printer. You install a software program on your computer that processes the print job sent from your iPad. To use this option, the computer must be switched on. `Here are three such programs.

Printopia (Mac Only) $19.95  AirPrint Activator (Mac Only) Free  Fingerprint (Mac or Windows) $9.99   

 

Print using an iPad App

Here are three apps that support printing from your iPad to wireless printers. The printer must be on the same wireless network as the iPad. These apps can also connect to printers attached to your computer. The computer shares connected printers with the iPad through a helper application.

PrintCentral ($8.99)  Mac or Windows communicates directly with Wi-Fi printers.   Also see PrintBureau ($19.99) by the same company.

You can also install a helper application on your Mac called WePrint (free) that lets it work with other printers. For example, a printer connected to your computer via USB. You will not need to touch or be near your computer to print, you simply tap print on your iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch or Android Device and the computer will act as a relay and automatically pass the print job from your device onto your printer without user intervention. Installing WePrint on your Mac or PC will also give you the ability to print via 3G/4G, so even when you are out of your office/home you can quickly and easily send print jobs to your printer from your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch so they are ready when you get back.

Printer Pro ($6.99) Mac or Windows can print directly to many Wi-Fi printers. Printer Pro Desktop Software (free) allows you to use printers connected to your Mac or Windows PC. The Printer Pro app communicates with the desktop software to process print jobs.

iPad app - iGoogle CloudPrint - download from the App Store

iPad app - iGoogle CloudPrint - download from the App Store

No Airprint printer?  Print using Google Cloud Print

Cloud Print is a new technology that connects your printers to the web. Using Google Cloud Print, you can make your home and work printers available to you and anyone you choose, from the applications you use every day. Google Cloud Print works on your phone, tablet, Chromebook, PC, and any other web-connected device you want to print from.   You link your printers to your Google account. Once linked, you can print to any printer linked to your Google account. 

You can connect a cloud ready printer - or  what is known as classic printer; your general run-of-the-mill USB connected printer.You need to download the Chrome browser.   Chrome can exist quite happily with Internet Explorer and you can use both browsers to access the internet. The video below will take you through the steps of registering your printers and how to print whilst using the iPad. 

There is also an iGoogle CloudPrint app that you can purchase from the App Store - Costs $0.99

 

Video: Google Cloud Print demonstration

"Printing" web pages from the iPad as a .pdf document

Of course, you don't always need to print to paper. Using a combination of the Chrome browser, Google Drive and Google CloudPrint will allow you to save web pages as a .pdf document to Google Drive. From there, you can open the .pdf in another app like Adobe Reader or Goodreader and annotate it, or save it into your documents folder on your hard drive - whatever you want.

The video covers the following steps:

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Video:

Send a web page to a mobile device: Add Chrome to Mobile extension

Chrome to Mobile extension in the Chrome browser

Chrome to Mobile extension in the Chrome browser

Chrome on the desktop computer or laptop allows you to add extensions: small programs that enhance the efficiency and productivity of the browser. One of those extensions is called Chrome to Mobile.  You can send a web page from your computer to a mobile device - a phone or tablet - Apple or Android for reading offline or opening in other apps like Adobe Reader. In this example, the web page of the chocolate cake recipe has been sent to the iPad  and can be viewed in the Chrome app on the iPad.

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Chrome on the iPad. Here is the chocolate cake recipe. You can then send it to Google drive and save it as a .pdf

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Google Drive on the iPad.   The web page has been sent to the iPad via GooglePrint and is saved as a .pdf. It can be saved into iBooks or into another app for annotating, saved to a computer or printed.