Windows allows you to share a printer that is connected to your computer with other computers on your network or within your workgroup. To share a printer attached to your Window 7 PC with other computers on the network, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

  2. Choose the View Devices and Printers link found beneath the Hardware and Sound heading.

  3. Right-click the printer icon.

  4. Choose Printer Properties from the pop-up menu.

  5. Click the Sharing tab.

  6. Choose the option Share This Printer.

  7. (Optional) Type a share name.

    Be descriptive. The name Larry’s Color Laser is a good description, as is Mom’s Inkjet in the Den.

  8. Click OK to share the printer.

Shared printers sport a tag on their icon in the Printers window. The icon looks like a man and a woman.

  • Some types of printers, such as PDF printers or Fax printers, cannot be shared on the network. Windows bluntly tells you so when you make the attempt.

  • A shared printer is available only when the computer it's attached to is turned on.

  • You cannot print on a shared printer when the computer it’s attached to is in Sleep mode or Stand By mode. Likewise, because Hibernation turns a computer off, you cannot use the printer attached to a hibernating PC.

  • You can print to any printer directly attached to the network, though that printer must be turned on as well.

  • The computers you share your printer with can be running any version of Windows, not just Windows 7.

  • Because you’re sharing one of the computer’s hardware resources and it affects all users on the computer, you need administrator access to share the printer.