Setting up a Printer for the First Time with Mac OS X Lion - dummies

Setting up a Printer for the First Time with Mac OS X Lion

By Bob LeVitus

After your computer and printer are connected with a compatible cable, powered on, and installed with the appropriate Mac OS X Lion-compatible software, you’re ready to configure your Mac. You have to do that so your Mac and your printer can talk to each other.

Many, if not all, of the steps involving the Print & Scan System Preferences pane require that your printer be turned on and warmed up (that is, already run through its diagnostics and startup cycle) beforehand. So before doing anything else, make sure your printer is turned on, warmed up, and connected to your Mac.

The first time you connect your printer, you may see an alert asking whether you want to download and install software for your printer.


You do, so click the Install button. At this point you may see a License Agreement window. If so, read the agreement and click the Agree button to proceed. (You may click Disagree if you wish, but that halts the installation process.)

After clicking the Install and Agree buttons, a Software Update window may appear and tell you it’s finding software. If it does, just leave it alone; it disappears after a minute or two. Don’t click the Stop button unless you want to abort the installation.

If you’ve connected a new printer and didn’t see an alert, don’t panic. You can still set up your printer by following the instructions below.

So regardless of whether you saw an alert window, agreement window, and/or Software Update window, here are the steps to set up that printer for the first time:

  1. Launch System Preferences, click the Print & Scan icon, and then click your printer’s name in the Printers list on the left side of the window.

    You can open System Preferences from the Apple menu, or launch it from the Applications folder, Dock, or Launchpad.

    Lion is a pretty smart cat; it should have already recognized your printer at this point. If so, your printer’s name appears in the Printers list of the Print & Scan System Preferences pane.


    If your printer isn’t in the list at this point, click the + button at the bottom of the Printers list and either select it from the list of nearby printers or choose Add Other Printer or Scanner.

  2. Select the printer you want selected by default when you print documents from the Default Printer pop-up menu.

  3. Select the default paper size you want to use with this printer from the Default Paper Size menu (usually US Letter if you live in the United States).

    That’s all there is to it. Close System Preferences, and you’re ready to print your first document! Before you do, however, make sure you have the document set up to look just the way you want it to look printed.