This is Part 3 in Printing 101 Series: Share a Printer On Your Network. You can find parts 1 & 2 at the links below:
Let’s say that you have more than one device on your network. And let’s say that one of your devices is attached to a local USB printer at all times – like it would normally be in a home office environment. The easiest way for you to print to that printer from all of your devices (including your Surface) is to share it out on your network. This is especially great if the printer you own is older and isn’t WiFi ready.
In this post, I will walk you through sharing out a printer on your network and printing to it from your Surface (and other devices). Note that although I completed the below steps in Windows 10, they will also work for Windows 8.1.
Let’s get started…
How to share a printer on your network
Sharing your printer allows other computers to use it over the network without the need to have it connected directly to their machine. This also has the benefit of allowing multiple people use the printer at the same time. To do this, you first have to have the computer that the printer is directly to share it. Here’s how:
- On the computer that has the printer attached via USB, login and make sure printer is ON.
- Make sure that File and printer sharing is turned on (it should be on by default on your Surface) – in Control Panel\Network and Internet
- Open Devices And Printers
- Under Printers, press and hold (right-click) the printer you want to share
- Select Printer properties from the menu
- Tap the Sharing tab
- Select Share this printer – you can change the Share name or leave the default
- Click OK
The printer is now shared with the other computers on your network
How to add a network printer: When everything works
If you followed the steps above and you are on the same WiFi network, your Surface (or other devices) should now be able to connect and use the shared printer. To do so, you’ll have to connect to it first. Here’s how:
- Under Devices in Settings, select Printers & scanners
- Click Add printer or scanner
- Click on the printer you want to add from the list
- Click or tap Add device and allow it to complete the process
Your applications should now see the newly added printer. That’s all there really is to sharing a printer on your network. We have it set up so our old Surface Pro 2, stays on the desk at all times and is hooked up to a printer. We then send all of our prints from our other devices to it. Works pretty well.
How to add a network printer: When it doesn’t work quite right
Unfortunately, depending on factors like firewalls, homegroups, and network settings, it’s possible that the above method won’t allow you to connect to the printer. If for some reason, the shared printer never appears regardless of how many times you tap the refresh button, try this:
- Restart your Surface.
- Ensure your Surface’s wireless connection is working and that you’re on the same wireless network as the computer sharing the printer.
- Go under Devices in Settings, then select Printers & scanners
- Tap or click Add printer or scanner
- If the printer does not appear again, select The printer that I want isn’t listed.
- Select the Select a shared printer by name option and enter the name of the computer sharing the printer and the shared printer’s name in this format \\<COMPUTER>\<PRINTER NAME>. You can see an example below:
- Select Next.
Your Surface should find and connect to the printer now.
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.