When you want to print a photo or other files that you have stored on your Android, how do you go about it? You could email a copy of the file to yourself and then print it out from your computer, but this seems like an unnecessarily lengthy process. You can connect your phone to your computer but… argh! Where has the USB cable gone?
If you’re yet to discover Cloud Print, this is an app that could be the answer to your printing problems. It enables you to print images and other documents from your phone or tablet without the need to connect to your computer. Read on to find out how it could help you.
Cloud Print is a service that can be used with almost any printer, enabling you to print documents from your Android device without the need to transfer files in any way. There are some printers that are described as being ‘Cloud ready’ but you do not need to have one.
Getting Up and Running
Before you can start, there are two things you’re going to need – a copy of Cloud Print for your Android phone or tablet, and for your Mac or PC you’ll need to make sure that you have Google Chrome installed with Cloud Print enabled.
If you don’t already have Chrome installed, you should grab yourself a copy from www.google.com/chrome. Then pay a visit to the Cloud Print web site on your computer and click the ‘Add Classic printer’ button – the process is very much the same if you have a Cloud Ready Printer.
You can then follow the simple instructions for enabling Google Cloud Print. Click the Wrench button in the Chrome toolbar, select Settings and then click ‘Show advanced settings’ at the bottom of the page.
In the Google Cloud Print section, click the ‘Add printers’ button – make sure that your printer is connected to your computer and switched on. If you have not signed into your Google account, you’ll be prompted to do so, and you should then click the ‘Add printer(s)’ button.
If you then click the ‘Manage your printers’ link, you should see a list of all of the real and virtual printers that you have installed on your computer.
Using the App
Now launch the Cloud Print app on your Android device and click Next to work your way through the welcome messages. Select the Google account you have already configured for use with Cloud Print – this may well be the only account you have set up on your phone or tablet – and then click done. If the account does not yet exist on the device click ‘Add account’ and follow the on-screen instructions.
You’ll need to grant Cloud Print permission to access your Google account, so click ‘Allow access’ to continue. At the next stage of the setup process, you have to indicate the type of printer you’re going to be working with. Most people are going to be using a ‘classic’ printer so tap the Other Printers option and then click Next.
Now you will be presented with a list of the printers that are associated with your Google account; tap the one you would like to use by default and hit Yes to confirm. It’s a good idea to tap the ‘Print test page’ button so you can check that everything is configured correctly and working as it should be.
Cloud Print in Action
The Cloud Print App can be used in a couple of ways. The first option is to use the built-in file browser to select a file that is already on your device or SD card. Launch the app and move to the local tab. You can then use the Files, SMS, Pictures and various other sections to access different types of files that you may want to print out.
The Web tab gives you access to a variety of online options, meaning that you can print out emails, documents stored in Picasa, Google Docs, Dropbox and other online services. But the app can also be used to print web pages and other content using the share option.
Although this is not a perfect solution to remote print by any means, it certainly makes things a great deal easier. When you are at home and just want to print out documents without the need to transfer files to your computer first, it is a marvellous time saver, but if you intend to print documents while you’re out and about, you’ll need to remember to leave your computer switched and ensure that you have Chrome running at all times. Either way, it’s sure to be something you’ll need time and time again.