Printer sharing is for people (or offices) with more than one Mac, connected to a network, who’d rather not buy a separate printer for each machine. Instead, you connect the printer to one Mac, flip a couple of software switches, and then boom: The other Macs on the network can send their printouts to the printer without actually being attached to it—even wirelessly, if they’re on an AirPort network.
Of course, this feature is most useful when you’re sharing printers that can hook up to only one Mac at a time, like USB inkjet photo printers. Office laser printers are often designed to be networked from Day One.
You can control which account holders on your network are allowed to use the printer you’ve shared. You know that idiot in Accounting who’s always using up your cartridges by printing 200-page documents? Cut that sucker off! Just add the lucky guests’ names to the Users column in System Preferences→Sharing→Printer Sharing, as shown in Figure 15-5, top.
If your PC-wielding friends install Bonjour for Windows (a free download from this book’s “Missing CD” page at www.missingmanuals.com), then they can even print to your Mac’s shared printer, too.
Of course, your Mac (the one attached to the printer) must be turned on in order for the other computers to print. In part, that’s because the documents-in-waiting ...