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Network Setup Move Files Share Internet Share a Printer Fixing Problems Finding Products
USB Printers
Sharing a USB-enabled printer
Ethernet Printers
Sharing an Ethernet-ready printer
LocalTalk Printers
Sharing a LocalTalk-ready printer
Apple Printers
Sharing Apple-brand LaserWriters, StyleWriters, and ImageWriters
Other Printers
Sharing other non-network printers
Sharing your USB printer

Most consumer printers produced in the last few years connect using a USB cable, which means you can use the Mac OS USB Printer Sharing software to share the printer with other Macs on the same network.

Check the Control Panels folder in the Apple Menu to see if you have the control panel already. If not, you can download it from the Apple Software Updates web site or through your Mac's Software Update control panel.

Before you start
The USB Printer Sharing software has a few prerequisites. You need to use a version of Mac OS 9 on each Mac that will use it and you also need to use TCP/IP as your network connection (configured from the AppleTalk control panel). The printer itself must be connected to a built-in USB port, not an expansion port from a USB card. For more details, see the USB Printer Sharing documentation.

Network setup
Since you'll be sharing the printer to a network, you need to have a network already in place. If you don't have a network, see the Network Setup section for setup help, and specifically Ethernet or AirPort, since those are the two options supported by USB Printer Sharing.

Here's a typical network layout that includes a shared USB printer.

Configure the control panel
After installing the USB Printer Sharing software (if necessary), turn the printer on and open the USB Printer Sharing control panel.

Press the Start button to share the printer, then select the My Printers tab to confirm that your printer appears there and is checked.

Tip: From the My Printers list, click and drag the name of the printer to your desktop. This creates a shortcut to the shared printer, which you can copy to other computers that will use this printer.

Connecting to a shared USB printer
Any network computer that prints to your shared printer also needs the USB Printer Sharing control panel. To use another Mac's shared printer, open the control panel and select the Network Printers tab. If you created a shared printer icon via the tip above, drag the icon to this window.

If you don't have an icon, use the Add... button to show the available shared printers.

Pick the one you want to use, close the window, and print away. The control panel then passes the document to the host Mac for printing.
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