Android optimize

Quick Tip: Print an email from an Android device

Printing email in Gmail is possible, but not obvious, from Android devices. Andy Wolber shows how to do it.

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Printing from Google Apps works best with Google's Cloud Print service. (If you haven't already linked your printer to Cloud Print, follow the setup process.) Once a Cloud Print device is linked to your Google Account, you can print from anywhere. Internet-enabled printers work best, although other printers may also work.

Once Cloud Print is setup, we can open the Gmail app and print, right?

Well, if you're using Chrome on an iPhone, iPad or desktop, then yes. That's exactly how printing works on those devices.

Not Android

To print an email from Gmail on iOS: Tap the triangle in the upper right, then select the device. Simple.

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On iOS: print from Gmail to Google Cloud Print

To print an email from Gmail in a desktop/laptop Chrome browser: Click the printer icon to print everything in an email thread. Or, select print from the drop-down menu to print a specific message. Simple.

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In laptop/desktop Chrome: print from Gmail to Google Cloud Print

Android

But to print an email from an Android device you need to use the browser, not the app: Open Chrome, login to Gmail, select an email. Print.

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On Android: Use Chrome to print an email.

Yes, you read that correctly. You can't print an email from the Gmail app on Android. To print, Android users have to access Gmail in a mobile browser, not the Gmail app.

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Gmail on Android lacks a print option

There is one work-around that permits printing without leaving the Gmail app on Android: print-via-email forwarding. First, you enable a secret email address for your printer during a web-setup process. HP printer owners, for example, manage this address online at www.hpeprintcenter.com. Then, you forward an email to your printer's email address from Gmail. The printer will print both the contents of the email and most standard file-format attachments. (To prevent print spam, you can configure the printer to accept print jobs from specified email addresses.) Unfortunately, not all printers support print-via-email forwarding.

Bottom line

So, to recap: you can print from Google's iOS Gmail app. And you can print from Gmail on your laptop or desktop while in Chrome. And you can print from Gmail on Android while in Chrome.

But, as of October 2013, you can't print from Google's Android Gmail app.

Can anyone explain why not?

About

Andy Wolber helps people understand and leverage technology for social impact. He resides in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Katie.