If you have ever tried to print a file which you have on your Android device, you realize just how painful it is get stuck knowing that there is no way to print directly from your android device. But wait! There exist not one, but multiple ways to print a document directly from your Android! No need to get hassled about transporting the file to your PC and then printing it from there. Right now, you can print images, documents and much more directly from your android device!

How to Print from Android

How to Print from Android © Android Tutorials How

We at Android Tutorials present you different ways in which you can print from your Android device. Read on to find out more about how. This will save you a ton of time and effort, if you’ve been printing documents by transferring them to your computer system. So let’s begin with the different ways.

Printing using the in-built Software

If you’re using any version of Android higher than 7.0.0, chances are that you already have a way to print what you want to without using any third party software such as Google Cloud Print. As of recently, Android has integrated printing facility in the native Android OS. All you need now is just a WiFi enabled printer for your android device to connect to over WiFi and you can start printing. The steps are as follows:

Requirements

  1. WiFi enabled printer.
  2. Android Device with built in printing capability.

Procedure

  1. Before we begin printing directly with your Android device, we’ll need to make sure that your version of Android comes with built in printing capability in the first place.
  2. Go to settings.
  3. Tap on the magnifying glass icon and search for Printing.
  4. You should see a few results like Printing or Printing Services. If you do, that means your Android Device can print across a WiFi network. All you need now is a WiFi enabled printer.
  5. Pull down the Quick Access menu and tap on the WiFi logo.
  6. Turn on your Printer’s WiFi.
  7. Once your Printer turns up, tap on it to connect to your printer. Your Printer is now connected to your Android Device.
  8. Open the image or Document which you wish to print.
  9. Tap the Overflow icon on the top right hand corner of the screen. It should be marked with three vertical dots.
  10. Scroll down the list and select Print.
  11. When the list of available options comes up, tap on your printer to select it.
  12. Your printer should now start printing your document.

And that’s all there is to it. Printing directly with your Android device is as simple as that. But this is provided that your android device does have an in built printing application. Otherwise, you can use any of the following methods.

Printing using Google Cloud Print

It has only been a recent development that Android has started supporting printing from the device as a native feature. Google, however, addressed this issue a long time ago. All you need is a WiFi enabled printer and the Google Cloud Print software installed on your device. If you are using any version of Android above 4.2.2, chances are that it is preinstalled. However, if it is not, you can always install it via the Google Play Store and you’re all set. Below are the steps to printing from your Android device using Google Cloud Print:

Requirements

  1. WiFi enabled Printer.
  2. Google Cloud Print.

Procedure

  1. Before we start printing using Google Cloud Print to print files directly from your Android Device, we need to find out whether or not you already have Google Cloud Print.
    1. Tap on the Play Store icon on your device.
    2. In the search bar, type in Google Cloud Print.
    3. Tap on the result named ‘Cloud Print’ by the publisher ‘Google LLC’.
    4. If the software is preinstalled as should be in the case of any version of Android above 4.4.2, it should say installed. This means that you already have the software in your phone.
    5. In case the software isn’t already installed, tap on the Install button to begin downloading and installing the software.
  2. Once you’ve made sure that your Android device has Google Cloud Print, head over into settings.
  3. Click on the search icon symbolized by a magnifying glass.
  4. Type in Printing and select Printing Services.
  5. Select Cloud Print.
  6. Make sure that Cloud Print is turned on by flicking the on/off switch to ‘On’.
  7. Tap on the overflow icon. It should be on the top right corner of your screen, marked by three vertical dots.
  8. Tap on Add Printer.
  9. Pull down the Quick Access center and turn on your WiFi.
  10. Turn on your Printer’s WiFi.
  11. The printer should now show up in the Google Cloud Print menu.
  12. Tap on the printer to finish adding it as a printing resource. You can alternatively add the Printer to your Google account through Chrome as well. This can be found under Settings>Advanced>Printing>Google Cloud Print>Add Printer(s).
  13. Go to the file you wish to print. Some files can be printed directly, while some files need to be shared with Google Cloud Print in order to be printed first.
  14. Tap the overflow icon. This is where you’ll find out whether the file can be printed directly or not.
  15. If the file can be printed directly:
    1. Tap on Print.
    2. Select Cloud Print.
    3. Select your preferred printer from the list and print.
  16. If the file does not have a print option:
    1. Tap on share.
    2. Share the file with Cloud Print.
    3. Select your preferred printer from the list of printers.
    4. Tap on print.
  17. Your file has now been printed.

Printing with Google Cloud Print can be especially tricky at times. However, it saves you a lot of time and effort once you get the hang of it. Whatever it be, it is much better than transferring the file to your PC and then proceeding to print from there.

Printing using Dropbox

Quite a lot of people know that Dropbox is used to store files on the cloud. However, very few people know that Dropbox can also be used to print files from directly from your Android Device as well. It becomes quite a neat trick especially if you don’t want to download a file off the cloud and just want to print it instead. Follow these steps to print files using Dropbox:

Requirements

  1. Dropbox installed on your phone.
  2. Dropbox installed on your PC which has a printer attached to it.
  3. PC must be turned on at the time of printing.

Procedure

  1. Make sure that the Dropbox account which you’re using on your phone is the same one which you’re using on your PC as well.
  2. Select the file which you wish to print.
  3. Tap on the overflow icon. It should be either three vertical dots, or an arrow icon pointing downwards.
  4. Tap on print.
  5. Add the printer if your printer isn’t already present.
  6. Select the appropriate printer.
  7. Tap on the print icon.
  8. Your file will now be printed.

The obvious downside to using Dropbox to print files is that the files will have to already be uploaded to your Dropbox account. Having to upload a file just to print it seems like too much of a stretch. You’ll be much better off using Google Cloud Print in such a case.

Using Printer specific software

Most of the printers out there have their own software on the Google Play store. You can do a few interesting things with these software. Let’s take a look at all the possibilities:

Requirements

  1. HP Print Service
  2. Epson iPrint
  3. Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY
  4. Brother iPrint&Scan

Download the appropriate app for printer from the Google Play Store. If the printer you have is not listed in the above section, comment down with the printer brand and we will find the app you’ll need to use. If you have any of the above apps, you can follow the below procedure.

Steps

  1. Using the appropriate app for your printer, you can connect to your printer though the app itself.
  2. Make sure that your printer is WiFi ready and your printer is added to the software.
  3. Turn on your phone WiFi as well as your printer WiFi.
  4. Select the file which you wish to print.
  5. Tap on the overflow icon. It looks like three vertical dots.
  6. Tap on print.
  7. Select the printing service appropriate for your printer.
  8. Select your printer.
  9. Tap on print.
  10. Your file will now be printed.

Printing via WiFi can be achieved by Google Cloud Print as well and seems to be a better choice unless you specifically want to use the proprietary application meant for your printer. Cloud print can support a vast variety of printers apart from your printer. However, if your printer is unsupported the proprietary app is your best choice.

Printing via Bluetooth

  1. You’ll need to make sure that your printer has Bluetooth capability.
  2. Turn on your printer’s Bluetooth as well as your phone’s Bluetooth.
  3. Open your proprietary printer application and pair your printer to your phone.
  4. Now go to the file you wish to print.
  5. Tap on the overflow icon. It should be denoted by three vertical dots on the top right hand corner of the screen.
  6. Select Print.
  7. Select the proprietary app.
  8. Click on print.
  9. Your file will now be printed.

If your printer does not have WiFi capability, but has Bluetooth nonetheless, this is your best bet.

Printing via an OTG cable

If your printer has neither WiFi nor Bluetooth, this is the best way to go about printing from your Android Device. This is also fairly easy to pull off, without the need of any setup. However, this does come with other requirements.

  1. Make sure you have an OTG cable and a USB to Mini USB cable.
  2. Attach the Mini USB end of the USB to Mini USB cable to your printer.
  3. Attach the USB end of the USB to Mini USB cable to the USB end of your OTG cable.
  4. Attach the Micro USB end of your OTG cable to your phone.
  5. Go to the file you wish to print.
  6. Tap on the overflow icon. It should be three vertical dots on the top right hand corner.
  7. Tap on print.
  8. Select the proprietary printing application.
  9. The printer you are connected to should be automatically listed. If it is not, you’ll need to add the printer by tapping on Add Printer.
  10. Once you can see the printer in your list of available printers, select that printer.
  11. Tap on print.
  12. Your file will now be printed.

This is a unique way to print files without using WiFi or Bluetooth. However, it has the added trouble of connecting to a printer using wires and is rids you of the comfort of going wireless. But when all else fails, this is a sure way to print files directly from your android device.

Printing using PrinterShare

PrinterShare is a third party software which used to be free, but is now paid. However, this application is so powerful that you can print via WiFi, Bluetooth, or OTG Cable while using any printer from any company. You can also use Cloud Print to print via this app, but that seems sort of redundant when you already have Cloud Print for the same purpose and this app can achieve the same.

Requirements

You can get all this for a small one-time payment, although the PC version uses a subscription based payment system. You can download the app from the Play Store here:

Procedure

  1. Download and install PrinterShare from the Play Store on your Android Device.
  2. Start the PrinterShare app and add your printer using either WiFi, Bluetooth, or OTG Cable.
  3. Use the interface within the app to navigate to the file you wish to print. Alternatively, you could also print using PrinterShare by selecting the app when prompted while printing.
  4. Select the file you wish to print.
  5. Select the method you wish to employ while printing: WiFi, Bluetooth, or Direct Connection via OTG.
  6. Tap on print.
  7. Your file will now be printed.

PrinterShare is a very powerful and versatile app to use. However, it is also paid, which makes it a little less sensible to use when you’ve got other apps to use in its stead. That being said, none can rival the versatility of the amount of printers the app supports including Cloud Print or other proprietary printing apps.

Physically transferring files to your PC

When nothing seems to work, there is only one option left to employ. Transfer the files to your PC which is connected to your printer, and print the image or document from there. There are a few ways you can go about doing this.

Mail the file to yourself

  1. Choose the file which you wish to print.
  2. Share the file via your preferred mailing service.
  3. Enter your own email address in the recipient field.
  4. Send the mail to yourself.
  5. Open your mailing service on your PC.
  6. Open the mail which you’ve just sent yourself.
  7. Open the file.
  8. Print the file.
  9. Your file will now be printed.

Transfer file using a USB Drive

  1. Use a Micro USB compatible USB Drive.
  2. Go to the file you wish to print.
  3. Tap on the overflow icon. This should be the three dots on the top right hand corner of your screen.
  4. Select copy to or move to.
  5. Navigate to the USB drive.
  6. Select the location as the destination.
  7. Wait for the operation to finish.
  8. Eject the thumb drive.
  9. Plug the thumb drive into your PC.
  10. Select the file which you wish to print inside your Thumb Drive.
  11. Click on print.
  12. Your file will now be printed.

Using the flashing/charging cable

  1. You’ll require the Flashing Cable or the Charging Cable which you received along with your Android device.
  2. Attach the Micro USB end to your Android device.
  3. Attach the USB end to your PC.
  4. Access your Android device through your PC.
  5. Navigate to the location of the file. If you need help with this, you can select the file by long pressing it and tapping on the overflow icon (three vertical dots) and selecting details.
  6. Select the desired file.
  7. Click on print.
  8. Your file will now be printed.

Using a PC to print a file from your Android device may seem to be an incredibly redundant thing to do. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. When you cannot use any of the aforementioned methods, this is probably the only things which you can do.

  • Gerald Drisner

    Wonderful tutorial!

    Trust me, there’s not a single tutorial which is as detailed as this one on this topic. Your design also is content focused and has no Ads. I wonder how do you guys manage to handle the cost without showing ads or using affiliates!

    Your tutorials are detailed and well-researched. Is there some option to send a donation! I’d be glad as you saved 3 hours of mine.

    • Subham

      Glad that you liked it. We’re focused on solving problems faced by the users and are also planning to come up with Android app development tutorials to make app development easily.

      Right now, we’re focused on building a strong community. We’ll look into funding and donation options in future. But, Thanks a lot, we really appreciate your response!