written by: Chris Hoffman•edited by: Eric Stallsworth•updated: 7/23/2011
Ubuntu's built-in Printing administration tool can connect to more than just local printers. It supports a variety of different network printer protocols and can often automatically detect and connect to them for you. The connected printer appears as an option when printing from any application.
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Adding a Printer
Open the Printing administration tool by clicking the Ubuntu icon at the top left corner of your desktop, typing “Printing" into the applications search box that appears at the top of your desktop and pressing “Enter." If you’re using an older version of Ubuntu without the Unity desktop environment, click the “System" menu at the top of the screen, point to “Administration" and click “Printing" in the Administration menu.
Click the “Add" button on the toolbar of the Printing administration window that appears to open the New Printer window. The New Printer window allows you to connect to network printers as well as configure printers that are locally connected to the computer.
Click the arrow to the left of “Network Printer" in the Devices pane to expose the list of different network printer types you can connect to.
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Automatic Printer Detection
Ubuntu attempts to automatically locate available network printers. If Ubuntu has already located your networked printer, you can click its name under Network Printer in the Devices pane and click “Forward" to configure its details and add it to your system.
You can also search for network printers by clicking “Find Network Printer" and typing the hostname or IP address of a computer sharing a printer or a network printer itself into the box. Click the “Find" button to scan for available network printers at the entered IP address or hostname. If Ubuntu finds a printer, you can click its name and click “Forward" to continue.
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Click “Windows Printer via SAMBA" under Network Printer if you want to connect to a printer shared from a Windows computer. Samba is a set of open-source client and server programs that allow non-Windows computers to connect to and host Windows network resources such as file shares and printers.
Click the “Browse" button to attempt to browse available Windows printers. Click the arrows to the left of the workgroup and computer names in the Browse window to drill down and locate shared printers. Click the printer’s name and click “OK" to automatically fill in its details. If the printer share requires a password, you will be prompted to enter the password.
You can also enter the Windows printer’s address in the form “ComputerName/PrinterShareName" into the SMB Printer box. If the printer is hosted on a different workgroup or requires a different port, you can enter the address in the form “WorkgroupName/ComputerName:PortNumber/PrinterShareName".
After you’ve configured the printer’s address, you can select “Prompt if Authentication is Required" or “Set Authentication Details Now." If you want to enter the authentication details immediately, type the username and password the printer share requires into the boxes below the option. Click “Forward" after selecting an authentication option.
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Other Network Printers
Ubuntu can also connect to network printers using the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP,) AppSocket/HP JetDirect Protocol, or Line Printer Daemon/Line Printer Remote (LPD/LPR) protocols. Connect to a printer using these protocols by selecting the appropriate protocol from the devices pane, typing the hostname or IP of the computer hosting the printer into the Host box, typing the queue path it requires into the Queue box for IPP or LPD/LPR printers or typing the appropriate port number into the Port Number box for AppSocket/HP JetDirect printers.
Click the “Forward" button to continue and configure the other required printer settings aftering entering the printer’s details.
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Ubuntu will ask you for different types of additional information depending on the type of network printer you connected to. If you’re prompted for information about the printer driver, select the printer’s manufacturer on the Makes pane and click “Forward." On the Models pane, select the model of the printer you’re connected to, then select the appropriate printer driver. If you’re not sure which printer driver to pick, select the recommended printer driver and click “Forward."
Ubuntu may ask you for other details about the printer, including its name, description and location. Enter a name, description and location that helps you remember which printer it is. The information specified here is only used on your local computer to identify the printer.
Verify the printer is configured properly by printing a test page. Right-click the printer’s icon in the Printing window, select “Properties," and click the “Print Test Page" button on the Settings pane.
You can set a printer as the default printer by right-clicking it in the Printing window and selecting “Set as Default."