Much as we yammer on about the paperless office, printing documents created on our computers is still a fact of life, and because it is, you need to know how to add printers to your Mac. So let's take a look. I'm going to go to System Preferences, choose Print & Scan. And currently I have no printers attached to my Mac, but I happen to have one next door. And look, heres the printer. Would I like to download and install software for this particular printer? Indeed, I want to do that. So I click on Install. I agree.
It finds the software I need and then it downloads it. Now this won't always happen. There are cases that the Mac already has the printer software you need so you may not be queued to download it. In this case, it didn't have it, it wanted it, and it was more than happy to go out and it get it for us. Okay. This is done and the printer was automatically installed for us. The printer we just connected was a USB printer, and this printer not only prints, but it also has a scanning function. But suppose you haven't connected a USB printer, what if you have something on the network? We'll click on +.
We're going to add a printer or scanner. I'm going to select IP, and I'll enter an IP address for this printer that I want. It goes out searching for the printer, and it found it. Now I can give it a name here and then I'll click on Add. It sets up my printer and it shows me the options. I don't need to configure those now so I'll click OK. Here I have my USB printer and my network printer. I can also choose to make one a default. So I'll right-click on the one I want to make that default and choose Set default printer.
That means anytime I pull up a print dialogue box in an application, this will be the printer that's selected. Now note this "Share this printer on the network" option. This is a USB printer, so it's not natively shareable, unlike this printer that actually is on the network. However, I can share this with any other Mac on my local network. Actually, with a PC as well. And the way you do this is through Sharing Preferences. So I click Sharing Preferences, and you see here is the Printer Sharing option and it shows you those printers that you can share.
We'll look at sharing in another movie, just so you know that's how you get to it. You can add other printers as well. Same idea, click +, Add Printers or Scanners, and you have a couple of options. One is, if you have a fax machine, and I believe some people still do, you can do the same kind of thing. Name, look for the location, and then you can use the fax with your Mac. It doesn't have to be a dedicated fax machine. Actually, some multi-use printers include a fax function and you can add them through this. Sometimes you need an extra driver for that device, however.
We've gone through IP printing. Also, you can add Windows printer. So if you have a printer that's connected to a Windows workgroup, you can then connect that printer as well. Note too that this is called print and scan, and as I mentioned, this printer has a scanner with it. I can open the scanner. That will either launch specific software tied to that scanner or Image Capture, and then you can use it to scan your documents. Mountain Lion ships with a large collection of printer drivers, but you may occasionally come across a printer that isn't natively supported.
Now in our case, our printer was happy to install that software for us, but you may not be so lucky. So if your Mac can't seem to identify your printer, go to the printer manufacturer's website and find the most recent Mac compatible version of the driver. Download and install it and you should be able to use the printer with your Mac.
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