Pro tip: Print to the cloud from your Android device

Jack Wallen walks you through the process of printing from the cloud with your Android devices.

Cloud printing

Printing has historically been an Achilles heel for mobile devices. Due to platform restrictions, the operating systems simply aren't designed to install drivers for every platform (nor have manufacturers stepped up to create the drivers). Fortunately, Google thought of this and baked in a system that enables printing to your desktop printers. All you need is a printer connected to your desktop and the Chrome Browser on that same PC. Let's walk through how you set up printing so you can make use of it from your Android mobile devices.

Desktop setup

The first thing you have to do is set up cloud printing on your desktop. Here are the steps for this process:

  1. Open up Chrome on your desktop
  2. Make sure Chrome is associated with the same Google account that you use on your mobile devices
  3. Click the menu button (three vertical lines in the upper right corner)
  4. Click Settings
  5. Scroll to the bottom and click Show advanced settings
  6. Scroll down until you see Google Cloud Print and click Manage (Figure A)
    Figure A
    Figure A
  7. On the next screen, click Add printers (Figure B)
    Figure B
    Figure B
  8. From the listing of printers (Figure C), select the printer(s) that you want to add to your cloud and click Add printer(s)
    Figure C
    Figure C
  9. You should get a confirmation that your printer has been added

That's it. Your printer is ready to be used from your Android devices. But how do you actually print to this new cloud printer? Any device attached to your Google account will have this new printer available. From whatever app you want to print from, you should see that printer listed (Figure D).

Figure D

Figure D
Select your cloud-connected printer from the drop-down menu.

The really handy thing about this system is that it allows you to print to that cloud printer from anywhere. If your mobile device has a network connection, you can print to that desktop printer. This means you that you can easily print something to your office from another state or country.

Does this print system solve your mobile printing needs? If not, what would? Do you need the ability to install actual drivers for mobile printing, or is cloud printing enough? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.