Printing from Your iPad for Work

By Galen Gruman

These days, people print a lot less than they used to. After all, you can work with information on your iPad screens, so you have less need for a paper copy. Your iPad, for example, can display the notes or directions that you might have printed out in the old days.

But sometimes you want to print something — an airline boarding pass or slide handouts, for example. The iPad can print as long as you have a compatible printer, and you have several ways to make a printer iPad-compatible (and iPhone-compatible, at the same time):

  • Some wireless printers come with Apple’s AirPrint technology built in, so as long as the printer and your iPad are on the same network, you can print directly to them.

  • Some wireless routers, including Apple’s AirPort Express (but not AirPort Extreme), let you connect a printer via a USB cable. Such routers have the AirPrint technology built in, so they make that USB printer available to your iOS devices.

  • Some print servers support AirPrint as well. A print server has a USB port to connect a printer to, as well as an Ethernet port to connect to your network router. Lantronix makes several models of its xPrintServer print server that adds AirPrint compatibility to any printer on the network. With an xPrintServer connected to your company network, you can make most of your office’s older office printers compatible with AirPrint. Some xPrintServer models also have a USB port to AirPrint-enable USB printers in addition to network-connected printers.

  • There are several applications for Windows and OS X, including HandyPrint and Printopia, that provide AirPrint support for any printers connected to the computers running that software. Just note that if you shut down these computers, the apps are no longer running, so your iPad can no longer see the printers attached to those computers. Therefore, you have to leave these computers on all the time.

After your printers are AirPrint-enabled, your iOS devices will be able to print to them — again, if they all are on the same network.

To print from the iPad:

  1. In most apps, tap the Share button in the app you want to print from.

    Some apps may move these controls to a different menu or pop-over; for example Apple’s Pages, Numbers, and Keynote have the printing controls in the Tools pop-over, and Mail uses the Reply menu.

  2. In the Share sheet, tap Print.

    If you don’t see it, try scrolling the share sheet horizontally. If you still don’t see it, the app can’t print.

  3. In the Printer Options pop-over that appears, select the desired printer by tapping Printer. Then select the printer from the list that appears in the Printer pop-over that appears.

    If no printer appears, make sure the printer is turned on and connected to the network, and that whatever means you’re using to enable AirPrint is running.

    Sometimes, the iPad forgets a printer it had previously used (this typically happens when you use the iPad on multiple networks) and reports that no printers are available. Putting the iPad into Airplane Mode briefly and then turning off AirPlane mode usually makes it see those printers again. If not, try powering down the iPad and restarting it.

  4. In the Printer Options pop-over, shown in the figure, select the number of copies to print and tap Print.

    For duplex printers, the Printer Options pop-over also shows the Double-sided switch. Some apps also let you specify a page range for multiple-page documents.

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