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OS X Mavericks: Set up a printer

Set up a printer

If you connect a USB printer directly to your Mac, or add a AirPrint-compatible printer to your wireless network, as soon as you turn the printer on it’s ready to print with no additional setup required. For other printers, you may have to complete a few steps to add the printer.

Important: OS X is compatible with most common printers and downloads the latest printer software automatically. To make sure you have the latest software, don’t install the software that came with the printer or from the manufacturer’s website.

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.

Connect a USB printer to your Mac

  1. Follow the instructions that came with the printer to set it up, connect it to your Mac, then turn it on. Use the instructions to unpack the printer, install ink or toner, and add paper.
  2. Choose Apple menu > Software Update to make sure OS X has the latest information about printer software it can download from Apple. If Software Update doesn’t list an update for your printer, you have the latest software.
  3. Open a document to print, then choose File > Print.
  4. If necessary, click the Printer pop-up menu, then choose your printer.

Add a Wi-Fi printer

  1. Follow the instructions that came with the printer to connect it to your Wi-Fi network and turn it on. Use the instructions to unpack the printer, install ink or toner, and add paper.

    For more information, see this article:

    Apple Support article: Connecting a Wi-Fi printer to your Wi-Fi network

  2. Choose Apple menu > Software Update to make sure OS X has the latest information about printer software it can download from Apple. If Software Update doesn’t list an update for your printer, you have the latest software.
  3. Open a document to print, then choose File > Print.
  4. Open the Printer pop-up menu and choose your printer in the Nearby Printers section of the menu.

    If you don’t see your printer, choose Add Printer from the Printer pop-up menu.

    A dialog appears listing 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

  5. 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.

Add a network printer

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 already connected to your network, follow the instructions that came with your printer to unpack it, install ink or toner, add paper, and connect it to your network.
  2. Choose Apple menu > Software Update to make sure OS X has the latest information about printer software it can download from Apple. If Software Update doesn’t list an update for your printer, you have the latest software.
  3. Open a document to print, and then choose File > Print.
  4. Open the Printer pop-up menu, then choose your printer in the Nearby Printers section of the menu.

    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

  5. 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.

Add a Bluetooth printer

  1. Follow the instructions that came with the printer to unpack it, install ink or toner, add paper, and make sure it’s ready to connect via Bluetooth.
  2. Open a document to print, and then choose File > Print.
  3. Open the Printer pop-up menu, then choose Add Printer.
  4. Select your Bluetooth printer, then click Add.

    If your printer isn’t in the list, you might need to open Bluetooth preferences, turn on Bluetooth, then set up the printer as a new device.

    If you’re asked for an administrator name and password

Connect a printer to a Time Capsule or AirPort base station

You can share a printer connected to an AirPort Extreme Base Station or Time Capsule with other computers on your network, whether they connect to the network wirelessly or with a cable.

  1. Follow the instructions that came with your printer to unpack it, install ink or toner, and add paper.
  2. Temporarily connect the printer to the USB port on your Mac, then print a test page.
  3. Choose Apple menu > Software Update to make sure OS X has the latest information about printer software it can download from Apple. If Software Update doesn’t list an update for your printer, you have the latest software.
  4. Connect the printer to your Time Capsule or AirPort base station.
    • If your printer has an Ethernet port, connect your printer to one of your base station’s Ethernet ports.

    • Otherwise, connect your printer to the USB port on the Time Capsule or AirPort base station.

      If you’re setting up an AirPort Express for the first time, connect the printer to the AirPort Express before setting up the base station.

  5. Open a document to print, then choose File > Print.
  6. Open the Printer pop-up menu, then choose the printer in the Nearby Printers section of the menu.
    Option Description
    USB only: If you have problems scanning, viewing the printer’s utilities, checking ink cartridge status, or viewing error messages, disconnect the printer from the Time Capsule or AirPort base station and connect it temporarily to your Mac, then reconnect it to the Time Capsule or AirPort base station.

Add an IP printer

If a network printer you want to use isn’t in the list of available printers, you can add it as an IP printer. The printer must support one of these printing protocols: HP Jetdirect (Socket), Line Printer Daemon (LPD), or Internet Printing Protocol (IPP).

For more information, see:

IP printer settings

Last Modified: May 8, 2014
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