How to Exchange and Share Printers on Windows, Mac and Linux Systems

How to Exchange and Share Printers on Windows, Mac and Linux Systems

Although names are different, but the correlation between Windows, Mac and Linux systems is good enough to complete basic tasks such as sharing files and printer on a network which allows you to use or share printers that works on different systems at office.

The following explanation is only related to printers that connect via Internet cable or USB ports on routers or computers, modern printers will be discussed later in terms of their technology that connects them directly via Wi-Fi easily and without settings.

Exchange and Share Printers Sections:

  • Methods to Share Printers
  • Connecting printer to a network
  • Connecting a printer that is connected to a network on Mac
  • How can I find my printer’s definitions?
  • Add a printer that does not contain Wireless connection or Internet cable port on Mac
  • How to share a printer on Linux distributions
  • Connecting to a printer networked on Linux and other systems

Methods To Share Printers

  • Connect a printer directly to a network

This method is one of the easiest and simplest ways to share printers. Because they do not require a continuously operating computer to work, it is also easy to setup, prepare and share. most of printers available on the market nowadays connect directly to a network.

  • Connecting a printer to a computer that runs continuously and share it on a network

Suitable only for Windows where the printer is shared through a ”HomeGroup” created in order to exchange data and files.

  • Connect printers to one computer and share printers with the ”HomeGroup”

This method is suitable to share printers for computers operated by different systems. The printer is shared on the network without ”HomeGroup” as in the Windows. This method allows you also to have a better control. A continuously running computer must be provided to link it to the printer.

Connecting and share printers to a network

  1. Connect the printer directly to a network

    Printer is connected via Wi-Fi or cable; some printers can be connected by both. Unfortunately, we can’t guide you accurately to the steps because of the different types of printers. If your own printer has LCD screen, then maybe you will find the network settings somewhere in the screen panel. But if it doesn’t then you may use the physical panel whether you are using a wireless connection or a cable, some printers come with a button that establishes the Wi-Fi connection directly.

    Make sure you buy this type for your own convenience.

  2. Connecting a printer through a ”HomeGroup” ”Windows system”

    This is one of the easiest methods after the direct connection, here are the steps:

    – Make sure you connect the printer to one of the computers that have been chosen to operate continuously throughout the workday in order to share the printer

    – On the same computer search for ”HomeGroup” by search bar below or the Control Panel then click on it


    – The next step depends on whether the computer that has already been chosen is a part of ”HomeGroup” or not, if yes, then you will see a window similar to the following picture, click the option shown in the picture:



    Make sure that the printer has already been shared through clicking on the drop-down list next to “Printers & Devices”. Which we have reached by choosing “Change what you are sharing”. The printer then takes the status “Shared”, click on “Next” then close the window. You are done.

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    If you couldn’t find the option “Change what you are sharing” then skip the previous steps and use to the following steps instead:

    – If the computer that is connected to the printer is not a part of the current ”HomeGroup”. the following window will pop-up, click “Join Now” then “Next”.



    The sharing settings window will also pop-up, “Printers & Devices” will take the status “Shared”, click on “Next”.

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    You will be asked for the ”HomeGroup” password that can be found in the ”HomeGroup” settings. Enter the password and click on “Next”.



    Note: In case you transfer to another computer and log into it by a Microsoft account that is a part of the ”HomeGroup”, then you will be logged in without having to enter the password again, this feature is available on Windows 8 and 10 only.

    Now click “Finish”. Remember that you can repeat this step with all computers you want to add to ”HomeGroup”.

    The last case is when a ”HomeGroup” doesn’t exist on the network in the first place, this will show when a window pops-up and tells you that there is no ”HomeGroup”, in this case you will have to create one by clicking on “Create a HomeGroup”.

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    Click “Next” in the following window.

    كيفية-مشاركة-الطابعة-فيو-يوندوز-10 (2)

    Now, select what you want to share (printer) through computers within the “HomeGroup”, make sure the printer has “Shared” status then click on “Next”.

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    – The last window is designed to set an automatically generated password. Keep it somewhere safe to change it later through “HomeGroup” settings, click “Finish”.

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  3. Sharing a computer-linked printer without a “HomeGroup” (different systems)

  • Printer must be connected to a computer that has been chosen to operate continuously.
  • Search for “Devices and Printers” through the “Control Panel” or the search bar in Windows 10.مشاركة-الطابعة-ويندوز-10
  • Right-click the desired printer and select “Printer Properties”.مشاركة-الطابعة-ويندوز-10 (1)
  • Apply “Sharing” tabمشاركة-الطابعة-ويندوز-10 (2)
  • You’ll find some instructions that tell you that the printer will not become available. If you close your computer or turn it into “Sleep” mode. You also can set a password and a username in order to restrict access to the printer; you can make it available to all again anytime by modifying the network settings, just click the “Network and Sharing Centre”.مشاركة-الطابعة-ويندوز-10 (3)Activate “Share this printer” along with writing a name to the printer in order to identify it in case of using more than one printer, the option ”Render print jobs on client computers” is useful if you are using the computer with a printer connected to it, in this case data will be processed on the other computers using the printer and not your computer. This will maintain the speed and the effectiveness of your computer performance.

Now, press “OK”.

How to use your printer from any computer in the office

  1. Printers connected to a ”HomeGroup” on Windows; This is the easiest step in our explanation where any computer in the “HomeGroup” (already explained how to join a group) can use the printer because they are added automatically to the devices connected to the computer in “Devices and Printers”.الاتصال-بالطابعة-من-خلال-الشبكة
  2. Connect to a printer outside the “HomeGroup” (whether connected to a computer or connected directly to the network).
  • Search for “Devices and printers” in the search bar below or you can find it inside the Control Panelمشاركة-الطابعة-ويندوز-10
  • In the next window, click “Add a printer”
  • A search will be conducted for a printer connected to the network directly or via a computer, if found, click it and Windows will install definitions and other procedures, then you will be asked to write a distinctive name for the printer.If you do not see your printer on the list, click “The printer I want is not listed” and a window will pop-up with the following options:
  1. My printer is a little older: When selected a deeper search will be conducted, it is rare to find a printer using this option.
  2. Select a shared printer by name: useful option if you share the printer through another computer out of a “HomeGroup” as mentioned earlier, click “Browse” to search for the computer then the printer will be searched through it.
  3. Add a printer using a TCP / IP address or hostname: search for the printer that is directly connected to the network by the IP since printers of this kind allow you to set a permanent IP address, if they contain LCD screen you can find it in the screen settings. if they don’t, you can press some buttons and the IP address will be displayed.

Another Method

If you couldn’t find the IP address either way, then use one of the software that bring you the IP addresses of network-connected devices such as “Wireless Network Watcher“, just switch it on and a list of devices and the IP addresses will pop-up.

  • Add a Bluetooth, wireless, or network discoverable printer; a deeper search will be conducted for wireless printers; you may find what you are looking for here.

How to connect to a printer connected to a network on Mac

Best printers that fit this category of computers are connected to the network via wireless connections; they are linked with Mac computers thanks to their unique features ”Bonjour & AirPrint”. Most of printers connected to the network are discovered automatically except for the older brands.

If a printer supports “AirPrint” technology, you can print directly without installing definitions. if not, don’t worry, definitions are available on Apple’s servers and printer’s company servers as well.

There are three cases in Mac system:

  1. printer connects to a network via an Internet cable
  2. printers connect to a network via Wi-Fi
  3. printer connects to a constantly working computer then shared by various systems

Fortunately, the Mac OS X version is easy to connect and share on a network.

How can I find my printer’s definitions?

Definitions are important in the case of connecting a printer to Mach through USB ports. If you are lucky definition will be installed automatically. And if not, visit the printer’s manufacturer website and look for the definitions in the section ”CUPS”.

How to Add wired/Wireless printer to Mac

  1. On the “System Preferences” go to “Printers and Scanners”.
  2. You will find a button to the bottom left of the following window; click it and it will search for printers connected to the network the display them when found, as mentioned earlier. Most modern printers are supposed to be found.توصيل-طابعة-على-الماك
  3. When you find a printer, clicking it and look at the options listed below, we’re looking for are the “Use” box, if this box did not show and you only found your printer’s name, this means the printer does not support “AirPrint” technology. But if it supports it, then you will find “AirPrint” option on the list.

If printer supports for “AirPrint” technology, you can use it directly by clicking “Add now”. And if not, definitions must be installed by clicking the printer’s name below. you will be notified that definitions are available on the servers of Apple, click “Add” to be load them.

If definitions are not available, visit the manufacturer’s website and search for definitions and install them while repeating the previous steps of adding a printer.

Setting up the printer

After adding the printer you can set it up as a default printer by clicking then selecting “Default Printer” from the dropdown menu as described, you can also set up the default paper size.


Adding a printer that is connected to a network on MAC


The previous steps mentioned above are also applicable when adding a printer connected to the network via cable or wireless connection on Mac, but if you couldnt find any result in the search (Bonjour couldn’t find the printer), you need to connect to the printer by the IP address on the IP tab shown above (already explained how to find the IP address in the Windows section).
The printer that is connected directly to a network can be searched by the IP address because this type of printers allows you to set a permanent IP, If your printer has LCD screen then you can find the IP through settings. Printers without LCD screen can display the IP address by pushing some buttons.

If you couldn’t find the IP address either way, go ahead and use one of those software that are designed to find the IP addresses of devices connected to networks (ex: Wireless Network Watcher). All you have to do is to switch it on and it will list all devices and IPs automatically.

After you find the printer, you follow the same steps above.

How to add a printer that doesn’t contain Wireless or Internet cable port to Mac

It is simply similar to what has been explained in the Windows section. the printer is connected to a Mac computer connected to a network via USB port, or a USB port on the router if it supports printers.

As explained earlier, do the steps of adding a printer in “Printers and Scanners”.

How to share printers through a Mac computer

This method is related to the previous part of connecting a printer to USB port in a Mac computer or a router, then adding it through “Printers and Scanners”. After that you do the following steps:

  • Click the printer’s name in “Printers and Scanners” and you’ll see the option “Share this printer on a network”.
  • To set the printer’s privacy, click “Sharing Preferences” to determine the identity of persons allowed to use the printer.

How to make sure printer works properly?

You performed all the steps correctly! But do you know the purpose behind those steps? It is to make sure that your printer is performing its mission successfully.

Simply, open any document you have in “File” menu available in any text editor. Select “Print”, if your printer prints, then you are done, if not! You should inspect the steps again.

How to share printers on Linux distributions?

The following explanation is related to “Ubuntu 14.04” distribution and the steps are almost the same for the rest of distributions to share printers.

  • Click the gear icon in the top bar to go to settings, in settings click the printer logo to open a window that searches for any printer available whether connected to a PC or a network as shown in the following picture. Now click “Server” above then select “Settings”.إعدادت-الطابعة-على-توزيعة-اوبنتو-لينكس
  • Through server settings activate “Publish shared printers connected to this system” to share the printer over the network.تفعيل-سيرفر-مشاركة-الطابعة-على-لينكس
  • Back to the printer’s window through the system settings. you’ll find the default printer, right-click it then choose “Properties” and click “Policies” in the next window, make sure you activate “Shared” as shown.مشاركة-الطابعة-على-اوبنتو-لينكس

Connect to a printer networked on Linux and other systems

Through a computer running one of the Linux distributions like “Ubuntu”, follow the following steps:

  • Go to the settings as we did earlier and click the printer icon then “Add” to add a new printer.توصيل-طابعة-من-الويندوز-إلى-لينكس-أوبنتو

Click the small arrow next to “Network Printer” to list all printers connected to the network ”Brother”, or you can find them in other ways like the option below “Find Network Printer” then click “Forward” to install definitions. You are done.


If the printer is being shared by Windows system, do the previous steps then choose “Windows Printer via SAMBA” from the drop-down menu, after that click “Browse” on the right to select from available printers on the network and the ones connected to a computer within “HomeGroup”, choose the printer connected to a computer and click “OK”. Now click “Forward” to install definitions and start using the printer.

  • It is important to know that “Ubuntu” can identify the printer shared by Mac system using “Bonjour” feature, whenever you apply a search, printers will be found automatically.


References on How to Share Printers :