How can I share a printer between multiple computers?

Canon printerUsers who have multiple computers in their home or work environment may want to share a printer with the other computers to help save on cost and for convenience. Below are some of the ways you can share a printer on a network for different setups.

Before setting up the printer to be shared on a network, you must decide what setup you plan on doing. Below are the different setups and their advantages and disadvantages.

Printer connected to a computer or server
Dedicated print server
Network printer

Printer connected to computer or server

Connecting a printer to a computer and sharing the printer from that computer is the most common solution for sharing a printer because of the ease and price. The primary disadvantage of this is that the computer must always be on in order for the printer to work. Although this solution may not be the best solution for everyone it is usually the easiest and cheapest solution for sharing your printer between all the computers on your network.

Below are steps for sharing your printer with each of the major Microsoft Windows operating systems. For these steps to work you must already have a network setup at your home.

Setting up the printer to be shared on the network

Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP

  1. Open the Windows Control Panel
  2. Double-click the "Printers" or "Printers and Faxes" icon.
  3. If you currently have a printer already installed on the computer right-click the printer icon and click Properties.
  4. In the Properties window click the Sharing tab and make sure the printer is shared.

Microsoft Windows 95 or 98

  1. Open the Windows Control Panel
  2. Double-click Network
  3. In the Network window under the Configuration tab click the File and Print Sharing button.
  4. In the File and Print Sharing Window check the "I want to be able to allow others to print to my printer(s)" option. Note: If the computer asks to restart the computer after selecting this option make sure to restart.
  5. Click Ok and then Ok again to close out of the Network Window.
  6. Once back in the Control Panel double-click printers
  7. If you currently have a printer already installed on the computer right-click the printer icon and click Properties. In the Properties window click the sharing tab and make sure the printer is shared.

Dedicated print server

If the above option does not work for you or you do not want to have a computer always turned on and maintained you may want to get a hardware print server. A print server enables you to connect a small network appliance to your network and connect each your printers to it.

Click here to search for available dedicated print servers

Network printer

Some printers, often high-end printers have the capability to connect directly to a network or have hardware installed into them that enables the printer to be connected to the Network. If your printer supports this option and has the necessary hardware you should be able to connect the printer directly to the Network and have it detected by the computers.

When these printers are connected to a network you'll often be required to enter the network information such as the networks gateway, printer IP, etc.