Microsoft Surfaces are full blown Windows devices. They are, also, geared to be full fledged wireless devices. That doesn’t mean that you no longer need to print… Of course you do, there are some things that have to be done on paper (as much as we hate it). Connecting your Surface to a printer allows you to print as you would from any other computer.
This post is a first in a series on Printing From Your Surface and it is intended to give you the basics on how to set up printing from your Surface device. The steps outlined below are for Windows 10 but most of them work the same or very similar in Windows 8.x, as well.
Here are the basic three options for printing from your Surface:
- USB cable directly to the printer
- WiFi-enabled printer
- Google Cloud Print
I will take these one at a time, starting with directly connecting to the printer via USB cable…
Print From Surface: USB Cable
Advantage: you can have a printer permanently hooked up to your docking station and anytime you are at your desk, the printer is ready to print.
Disadvantage: you can only print when connected to the printer directly, so a very small range\distance.
Most new printers will be detected by Windows 10 (or Windows 8) on your Surface, as soon as you connect them with a USB cable (make sure the printer is ON). If, however, your Surface doesn’t recognize a connected printer, you can add it manually. Here’s how:
- Connect the printer to your Surface using a USB cable.
- Turn the printer ON.
- On your Surface search for “printers”, choose Devices and Printers from results.
- Tap on Add a printer, Windows will automatically start looking for printers.
- Select your printer from the list and click Next, then click Finish.
The Surface will now be able to send files to your printer.
Print From Surface: WiFi-enabled printer
Advantage: you can print from your Surface from anywhere in the room, from the coach watching TV, or from your patio.
Disadvantage: you must have a WiFi-enabled printer, usually this means a newer model.
Your Surface device is designed to recognize Windows-compatible wireless printers automatically. This means that you typically don’t need to worry about drivers, cables, etc.
However, if for some reason, the Surface doesn’t detect the wireless printer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions (that came with your WiFi printer) to add it to your wireless network
Note: The printer must be connected to the same network as your Surface. In a complex office environment where there are multiple wirless networks (or subnets), this might be tricky.
Print From Surface: Google Cloud Print
Advantage: you can printer from anywhere, like an airport, and find the printout ready to pick up when you get to your printer.
Disadvantage: you have to use Chrome on every device that you will be printing from, including your Surface.
Before connecting your classic printer, confirm if you have:
- Google Chrome installed.
- At least one printer set up via one of the methods above (USB or WiFi) on a machine (it doesn’t have to be on your Surface but you have to do the steps below on the computer that has the printer attached).
- Google account that you can use to configure the Google Cloud Printer.
Note: To see if your printer is cloud-ready, go to Google’s Cloud Ready Printers listing.
Then, follow the steps below to enable the Google Cloud Print:
- Open Google Chrome.
- In a new tab, open chrome://devices
- Login with your Google account (bottom right corner).
- Now you’ll see a list of devices already registered with Google Cloud Print (if any).
- Under “Classic printers,” click Add printers.
- You’ll see a a list of printers from your device that are ready to be registered, as well as an option to Automatically register new printers.
- Check the printers you want to connect (or un-check ones you don’t want) and click Add Printer(s).
- You will see a message acknowledging that your printers are registered.
Now you can print from any device (including your Surface) and from any location, as long as you login to the same Google account. In case you don’t know how, I will cover steps on how to actually print to a Google Cloud Printer in my next article.
Note: To connect classic printers in a business (or school) environment, you can use the Cloud Print Connector service on Windows Server. More on this in a later post, as well.
Ok, now you have the basics. I personally have an inexpensive USB printer that is hooked up to my docking station and I use the Google Cloud Print to print via distance. This way I don’t have to pay for a new WiFi printer and still have the convenience of printing remotely.
Do you have an interesting way that you set up your printing that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below.
Joanna is a former IT Director for a major public university, who gave up a high paying career to blog full time. She is proud to be a professional geek. Joanna loves all things technology and Surface tablets are her passion. She and Tim created LoveMySurface.net to help others be more productive using these awesome tablets.