Mac Meets Printer

OS X used to come preloaded with the printing software for every conceivable printer model from every conceivable printer company—Epson, HP, Lexmark, Canon, and others—several gigabytes’ worth. Clearly, most people wound up with about 900 wads of printing software they’d never use.

When you install OS X these days, though, you get only the printer drivers for the printers you actually have, or are nearby on the network. If you ever encounter a different printer model later, OS X offers to download it for you on the spot.

Setting Up a Printer

Setting up a printer is incredibly easy. The first time you want to print something, follow this guide:

  1. Connect the printer to the Mac, and then turn the printer on.

    Inkjet printers connect to your USB jack. Laser printers hook up either to your USB jack or to your network (Ethernet or wireless).

  2. Open the document you want to print. Choose FilePrint. In the Print dialog box, choose your printer’s name from the Printer pop-up menu (or one of its submenus, if any, like Nearby Printers). See Figure 9-1.

    Cool! Wasn’t that easy? Very nice how the Mac autodiscovers, autoconfigures, and autolists almost any USB, FireWire, Bluetooth, or Bonjour printer.

    Have a nice afternoon. The End.

    Oh—unless your printer isn’t listed in the Printer pop-up menu. In that case, read on.


    “Nearby Printers” refers to printers that aren’t connected directly to your Mac but are accessible anyway: a printer connected to an Apple Time Capsule or an AirPort base ...

Get Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, El Capitan Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.