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Using One Printer For Your Mac And PC

written by: •edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 12/31/2010

If you use both a Mac and a PC and want to share a single printer with them, you can do so. Here’s how.

  • slide 1 of 2

    Connecting The Printer To Your Mac

    Apple provides a technology called Bonjour, which lets you network your computers (both PCs and Macs). If you want to share your PC printer with Mac, follow the steps below:

    1. Go to your Mac and open up System Preferences.

    2. Click on “Print & Fax" then click on the Sharing tab.Apple Mac System Preferences 

    3. Uncheck the “Share these printers with other computers" checkbox.

    4. From the list below, find your printer. If the selection box is unchecked, check it now.

    5. Visit this website and download “Bonjour for Windows". Once downloaded, install and run this software.

    If the PC and Mac are on the same LAN (wired or wireless), the software will see the shared printer then add it to the printer list in Windows. The Bonjour software takes you through the whole process so you should not need explanation.

    The negative aspect to this is that your Mac will have to remain turned on all the time in order for your printer to be accessible.

  • slide 2 of 2

    Connecting The Printer To Your PC

    To share a Mac printer with Windows (XP) , follow these below. For Windows Vista and Windows 7 users, the method will remain the same; only you will have to find the firewall and other settings at different areas in the Control Panel:

    1. Go to your PC and log on to Windows.

    2. Go to Network Connections (found in the Control Panel)

    XP Network connections 

    3. Click on Change Windows Firewall Settings on the upper left hand side of the window.

    4. In the new window that opens; go to the Exceptions tab.

    5. Click on Add Port. In the Name field give your shared printer a name (e.g. Shared Printer) and in the Port field enter 515. Click on OK

    6. Go to the Control Panel again and double-click on Add or Remove Programs. Click on Add/Remove Windows Components at the left.

    7. Under components, double-click on Other Network File and Printer Services. In the new window that opens, check the Print Services for Unix box.

    8. Go to Run and enter “services.msc" (without quotes). In the new window, click on the Extended tab then look for TCP/IP Print Server service. Enable it by right-clicking and selecting Start from the contextual menu.

    9. From the Control Panel, open up Printer and Faxes. You will see your printer name listed there. Right-click on the printer name and select Properties. Now click on the Sharing tab and enter a short name in the Share Name field.

    10. Go to Run again and enter “cmd" (without quotes). In the Command Prompt window that opens, type “ipconfig" (without quotes) and his Enter. You will see the IP address of the computer. Note down this address.

    11. Go to your Mac computer and open up a Terminal window (found in the Utilities folder). Now type in the following commands:

    1. cd /usr/libexec/cups/backend/ (hit Enter)

    2. sudo ln -s /usr/bin/smbspool smb (hit Enter)

    Note: Enter an administrative password when prompted to do so.

    12. Go to the System Preferences. Click on Sharing and then check the “Printer Sharing" box under the Services tab.

    13. Open your Internet browser and enter http://127.0.0.1:631 in the address bar. When the page opens, select Manage Printers. In the new page that opens select Add Printer.

    14. Enter a share name, location and a small description. Click continue. In the drop-down menu below, look for and select LDP/LPR Host or Printer. Then click on Continue.

    15. Enter a Device URL in this format - lpd://192.168.x.x/printerShareName. Click on Continue. Now you’ll need to choose the model and make of your printer.

    Note: If your printer is not listed, select a printer that is very similar to yours. Everything is now all set. You can now try printing a document from your Mac and it should work fine. You’ll need to keep your Windows PC turned on in order for the printer to be accessible.