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OS X Mountain Lion: Set up a printer

Set up a printer

Before using a printer for the first time, check for software updates, and then assemble the printer, turn it on, check for firmware updates, and add it to your list of available printers. Most USB printers and AirPrint-compatible printers are added to the list automatically when you first use them. For other printers, you may have to complete a few easy steps to add the printer.

OS X is compatible with most common printers. If you add a printer that supports AirPrint, OS X automatically uses AirPrint. For a non-AirPrint printer, OS X selects the printer software automatically and downloads it from Apple if necessary. Usually you don’t need to install the software you got with the printer or from the manufacturer’s website.

If you need to set up a type of printer that isn’t listed here, see the documentation that came with your printer for more information.

When you add a printer, OS X can usually detect whether the printer has special accessories installed, such as additional paper trays, extra memory, or a duplex unit. If it can’t, a dialog appears that lets you specify them. Make sure the settings in that dialog accurately reflect your printer’s installed accessories so you can take full advantage of them.

Add a USB printer to your list of printers

  1. Before setting up your printer, choose Apple menu > Software Update to make sure OS X has the latest information about printer software it can download from Apple.
  2. Follow the instructions that came with the printer to set it up, connect it to your Mac, and turn it on.

    Use the instructions to unpack the printer, install ink or toner, and add paper. Don’t install software that came with the printer. OS X downloads the latest printer software automatically.

  3. Open a document to print, and then choose File > Print.
  4. Open the Printer pop-up menu and choose your printer.

    If you don’t see your printer, contact the printer’s manufacturer for more information

    If you’re asked for an administrator name and password

Add a wireless printer to your list of printers

If your printer has built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, you can print to it wirelessly. You can also print wirelessly to any printer you can connect to your Time Capsule or AirPort base station.

Set up a printer to print wirelessly

Add a network printer to your list of printers

You can connect to printers on your local network that use Bonjour, IP, and Open Directory, as well as shared printers and printers connected to a Time Capsule or AirPort base station.

Be sure to follow any instructions from your network administrator.

  1. If the printer isn’t connected to your network, follow the instructions that came with the printer to unpack it, install ink or toner, add paper, and connect it to your network.

    If you’re connecting a printer to a Time Capsule or AirPort base station’s USB port, see this help topic:

    Set up a printer connected to a Time Capsule or AirPort base station

  2. Choose Apple menu > Software Update to make sure OS X has the latest information about printer software it can download from Apple.

    Usually you shouldn’t install software that came with the printer on your Mac. OS X downloads the latest printer software automatically.

  3. Open a document to print, and then choose File > Print.
  4. Open the Printer pop-up menu and choose your printer in the Nearby Printers section of the menu.
  5. If you don’t see your printer, choose Add Printer from the Printer pop-up menu.

    A dialog appears listing any Bonjour, IP, shared, and Open Directory printers on your local network. It may take a minute or two for your printer to appear.

    If you’re asked for an administrator name and password

  6. Select your printer when it appears in the list, and then click Add.

    OS X automatically uses AirPrint if your printer supports it, or it selects printer software (also called a printer driver) and downloads it from Apple if necessary.

  7. If you don’t see your printer in the list, do one of the following:
Last Modified: Aug 8, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Aug 8, 2013
  • Article: PH11145
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