How to convert a regular printer to wireless printing

Even if you have a standard USB printer, you can still share it wirelessly on a local network and have multiple computers print to it. The printer will need to be wired to a host computer already connected to a wireless router. Wireless printer sharing can be set up on both Mac and PC systems.

If you own a printer with a network port, you can also convert it to wireless printing by connecting it directly to a wireless router.

Certain printer models are also compatible with Bluetooth, which will allow you to print wirelessly without a USB or Ethernet cable.

Connect a USB printer to a host computer using a standard USB cable. If this is the first time the printer is being used with this computer you may have to install driver software.

Open the Windows "Start" menu, access the Control Panel and click on the "Printers and Faxes" or "Printers" icon.

Right-click on the printer's icon and choose the "Sharing" option from the menu that appears.

Select the radio button next to "Share this printer." Under Windows Vista you need to select "Change Sharing Options" first.

Enter a name for the printer in the text box and hit "OK." The printer is now being shared over the wireless network, and any other computer on the network will be able to print to it.

Connect the printer to the host Mac computer using a standard USB cable. Install any necessary software.

Click on the "System Preferences" icon in the Dock.

Go to the "Print & Fax" control panel in the "Hardware" category.

Highlight the name of the USB printer in the list on the left side of the window.

Check the box next to "Share this printer on the network." The printer is now being shared over the wireless network, and any other computer on the network will be able to print to it.

Make sure both your network printer and your wireless router are powered on.

Plug one end of a standard Ethernet cable into the network port or adaptor on the back of your printer.

Connect the other end of the Ethernet cable to one of the local area network (LAN) ports on your wireless router.

Load the wireless router's software on a PC or Mac computer that is connected to the local wireless network.

Follow the on-screen instructions for adding the printer to your network services.

Turn on your computer and your printer.

Enable Bluetooth on your computer. This is done through the Control Panel settings on a PC and System Preferences on a Mac.

Connect your Bluetooth printer dongle or adaptor to the USB port on the back of your printer.

Install the software that came with your Bluetooth dongle or adaptor on your computer.

Follow the on-screen instructions to have the computer discover the Bluetooth adaptor and connect to the printer.

Things You'll Need

  • PC or Mac computer
  • USB or network printer
  • USB cable
  • Ethernet cable
  • Bluetooth printer dongle or adaptor
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About the Author

Bennett Gavrish is an I.T. professional who has been writing about computers, electronics and the Web since 2004. His work has appeared in the "Nashua Telegraph" and the "Daily Free Press" and on numerous websites. Gavrish received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Boston University.