How to Print from an Android Phone or Tablet

Andy Betts 24-05-2016

Printing hard copies of documents is one of the most basic tasks a computer can perform. But did you know that it’s almost as easy to do from an Android phone or tablet?


It may be hidden away, but it’s possible on any device and doesn’t require any special hardware either. Whether you’re using a manufacturer-specific app or the Google Cloud Print service, you can print your documents or favorite photos to almost any printer. Here’s how to get started.

Printing Directly to Your Printer

When you want to print from your Android phone or tablet, the first place to start is the Play Store. Most major brands have their own dedicated apps that will install the necessary drivers to enable you to print directly to their wireless printers.

print services

To find the apps either search in the store, or head to Settings > Printing on your phone and tap Add service. The resulting screen will show all available printing apps, and you can choose the one that corresponds to your printer make.

print app


Each app works in a different way, so follow any on screen instructions for your chosen app and printer. In general terms, you will need to ensure that your printer is connected to the same wireless network as your phone, and it should be automatically detected by the app. You can then select the printer and be ready to go.

Printing with Google Cloud Print

Google Cloud Print offers a way of printing from any computer or mobile device to almost any printer — wireless or not — from anywhere How To Share Your Printer With Anyone On The Internet Windows 7’s Homegroup feature makes sharing printers on your local network easy, but what if you want to share a printer over the Internet? This has traditionally been very complicated, involving print drivers, firewall rules... Read More .

There is a growing range of Cloud Ready printers that are fully set up to work with the service, but if you have an older or non-compatible printer you can still use it. Cloud Print works by connecting a printer How To Install A Wireless Printer On Windows & Workarounds Having problems connecting to your wireless printer or looking for a way to make a cabled printer accessible wirelessly? Use these tips and tricks to achieve wireless printing Zen. Read More to your Google account.

Register Your Cloud Ready Printer

Google maintains a full list of Cloud Ready printers. These printers connect directly to the web, and can function without a PC.


cloud ready

Again, the instructions will vary for each printer model. You can find them for each manufacturer on Google’s Cloud Print page. The process requires you to register your printer with your Google account, so that you can access it remotely. Here’s an example of what you need to do with Canon Cloud Ready printer:

Register Your Classic Printer

Obviously, having a Cloud Ready printer is the easiest way to print from Android. But if your printer is older — which Google calls a “Classic” printer — you can still use it. To do this you will need a desktop computer or laptop running Google Chrome (or Chrome OS), and your computer will need to be turned on whenever you want to print to it.

Because Cloud Print connects via your Google account, you will also need to make sure you’re logged in to your account in Chrome, which acts as the print server.


add printer

To begin, open Chrome on your desktop and make sure you’re signed in to your Google account. Next, go to Preferences. In Settings scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on Show advanced settings.

register printer

Scroll down further to the section labelled Google Cloud Print, and click Manage. Under Classic Printers click Add printers. You should now see a list of the printers connected to your computer. They should be automatically selected, along with the Automatically register new printers option. If not, tick them and hit the blue Add printer(s) button.


cloud print done

And that’s it. Your printer is now registered with your Google account and will be accessible on your Android device so long as you’re logged in to the same account.

manage printers

To manage your printers, your print jobs, or to register new devices, go to the Google Cloud Print website.

Set up Cloud Print on Your Phone

Most modern Android devices will not need any additional setup to work with Google Cloud Print. There is a Cloud Print app, but it is preinstalled on devices What You Need to Know About Removing Android Bloatware Lots of phones come with annoying pre-installed software, but you can remove it. Here's how. Read More running Android 4.4 and later. If yours doesn’t have it, you can download it for free from the Play Store.

How to Print Documents

When you are ready to print, the process is different depending on which apps you’re using. Some apps, including Google apps and third party file managers and image viewers, have a dedicated Print option in the menu.


Tap this, and select your printer from the drop down menu (it may default to the Save as PDF option). Swipe down from the top to change the print settings, such as the number of copies, page orientation, paper size, and so on. When finished, tap the printer icon to print. It’s essentially the same as printing from your desktop How to Print Microsoft Office Documents the Right Way Does it sometimes seem impossible to print documents exactly the way you want? We can help! We show you all your printing options and help you pick the right settings for perfectly printed documents. Read More .

Not all apps have a print option. If you want to print from one that doesn’t, you can install the PrinterShare Print Service app from the Play Store. Once you have installed and activated this free app you’ll find a new PrinterShare option will appear under the Share menu in many apps.


Tap this, and you can access any printers setup on your Android device, including those you have registered as Cloud Print printers. Tap through the various screens, including choosing the Google account your printers are registered with, and picking the specific printer, and eventually you’ll end up at the standard print screen. You can now print your document.

Print to PDF

One of the standard options you’ll see in the print settings screen is Print as PDF. This saves your chosen document as a PDF file, and is very useful for sharing documents in a format that is easily readable on virtually any device.

Print to Any Printer

It may not be as important to print files as it used to be, but when you need to do it, there’s no other option. Google Cloud Print’s ability to print to any printer, and from anywhere, makes it an essential service. If you need to print your PDF files How to Print to PDF from Any Platform Need to print a file to PDF? It's easier than you might think, no matter what device you're using. We have summarized all your options. Read More , important emails, or just your holiday photos 6 Tips to Never Lose Your Photos While Traveling You should heed the following tips before embarking on your next trip, especially if the resulting photos are one your main reasons for taking the trip in the first place! Read More , it’s easy to do it straight from your Android phone.

Do you print from your Android phone or tablet? Have you used Google Cloud Print? Let us know your experiences with the service in the comments.

Related topics: Android Tips, Google, Printing.

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  1. Shafiq Khan
    May 25, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Using the Printbot App is also worth a mention

  2. Davin Peterson
    May 24, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    I have PrintHand installed on my Android device.

    Microsoft's Outlook app doesn't have a print option in the menu, so I can't print emails and haven't figured out how to do it with PrintHand

  3. Ken Rogers
    May 24, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    You missed one of the best. Try the Hammermill print program