Network your printer

If you’ve linked several PCs at home or in your office via an Ethernet network, then it makes sense to give all these users access to one, network-attached printer. Here’s how…

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By  Matthew Wade Published  April 10, 2007

|~||~||~|There are a multitude of reasons to network your home or business - you can share a high-speed internet connection over your LAN, make important documents, databases and media such as photos available to every user, and gain the freedom to work from any desk or room that has a PC. Crucially for you though, you can also share just one printer; a great way in which to save you serious cash, as this way you won’t need to spend the cash required to buy and run separate print devices for each room or desk. Assuming you have such a Local Area Network (LAN) set-up then, let’s get started making your printer earn its money…

STEP 1- Buy right

Of course, you can’t network a printer if it doesn’t include the right connection, so make sure that you spend your money on a machine with an Ethernet port built-in. Many home and small office printer models now include this, with the makers of multifunction devices in particular considering it a useful small business addition (you’ll find some of these over on page 28). If in doubt, head online and check your potential printer’s tech specs before parting with your cash.

STEP 2 - Location, location, location

Your next important decision, after which printer to buy, is exactly where to position your output device. From a convenience standpoint, a central location that everyone can access easily will reduce the time your family or employees spend walking to and from your printer, which in turn should nudge up their productivity (the employees that is).

A useful consideration for home owners is this: don’t put your printer in any place where you expect privacy, because it really is frustrating to listen to, and see, a huge list of cartoons say being churned out just at the moment you’re lost in thought or otherwise engaged.

STEP 3 - Connect your users

To make sure each user’s PC is pointed at this printer, jump onto each and again head to Settings/Printers and Faxes. Choose ‘Add a printer’, then search for printers connected to your network by choosing to search the directory (it’s best to use a keyword for this search - if using a HP printer for instance, ‘HP’ will do just fine).

When the icon for your device appears, right-click this to set the machine as that PC’s default printer.

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No network printer? USB it!

If you don't have an Ethernet-ready printer and you're using Windows XP - which most PC users in this region still do - it's easy to share a normal USB printer across your network.
Here's how…

• Connect the printer to one of the PCs on your network first (don't forget to install the drivers)
• Click Settings/Printers and Faxes (alternatively, find Printers and Faxes in Control Panel)·
• Right-click your new printer's icon and choose 'Sharing·
• Choose to 'Share this printer', and you're done.
• Make sure you complete Step 3 (above) on each network PC.
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