Connect Networked Printer To Your Mac

It is hard to imagine, but some work environments are less than friendly to those cuddly always-smiling and ever-happy Mac users. What to do for example when you can't connect to a networked laser printer or copier in your office? What a pain. Well, if the IT folks were a bit less than careful in setting up their network, then there is a good chance you can still connect without too much fuss. 

Here's how:
Step one: Find the IP address of the Printer. You have to do a little snooping here. Go to the desired printer and find the settings page, which you should be able to print directly from the printer. Different printers call the settings page different things. For example, HP printers often call this the "Configuration Page." Either way, find it and print it. What you are looking for is the IP address of the printer. The IP address is a four digit number separated by periods: The four numbers may have one, two or three digits. Sometimes, IT departments will put a sticker with the IP address on the device itself, making it easier to service. Look for it. And sometimes, the IP will be listed right on the printer's own LCD screen.  Either way, find this IP address and go to your Mac.

Step two: Under the Apple menu, go to system preferences and select Printers and Scanners.  

Step three: Click the "+" to add a printer to your printer list.

Step four: from the next window, click on the IP option at the top of the page. For the "Address", type in the IP address you found for your printer. For the "Protocol", this may require some guesswork. For HP printers, I usually leave the HP Jetdirect option selected, because that is the protocol for HP printers. If you are using a different printer, check your configuration page or simply try the other options (LPD or IPP). Leave your Queue blank. For the "Name", type in a name that is useful for you to identify the printer in your list (for example, "Room 13 office printer", "Library Lab Printer", etc.). The "Location" may or may not be used. Finally, next to "Use" will be the driver needed for this printer. Apple can, and usually will, detect the printer from the IP address and request to download the approporiate driver. One option is to let it do just that. I often opt for the "Generic Postscript Printer" that is one of the selection options. For me, this keeps things a bit cleaner and prevents my computer from downloading drivers that may clog my system over the long haul. The downside of the Generic option is that it may not give you all the options available on your printer (duplex printing, etc.). Your milage may vary. Either way, select your driver. 

Step five: click the "Add" button and you are good to go.

This set up process may not work for every printer. But it will work for many office or home networked printers. Give it a try and let us know if it works. Happy printing.