Add a printer
Mac Tip #223/07-December-2005
The other day I bought a new laser printer. It was about the cheapest one I could find as I print only about 3 pages per month these days. I bought the Brother HL2040 which cost less than NZ$200. A few years ago it would have cost at least 3 times as much, if not 6 times as much.
This new printer replaces my much more sophisticated 10 year old Apple LaserWriter.
It’s a very basic printer so it doesn’t do networking and it doesn’t use ethernet, only USB. This is an advantage for me and the printer’s cheaper for not having those features.
Set up the printer
I brought it home and carefully followed the included instructions. After setting it up on one computer I wanted to ensure I could print from any of my three Macs — all using Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4).
Once it was plugged in I went to the Printing tab of the Print and Fax pane under System Preferences and clicked the plus sign to add my new printer. The
+ appears below the list of printers about half way down the window. See the screenshots for clarification. Click on the thumbnails for larger versions.
The printer’s on the network
After a while the printer showed up in the next screen. It showed up as part of the Bonjour connection which refers to the network I have in my own home. I selected it there and then selected a printer driver from the pop-up beside Print Using. Then I clicked the Add button.
Now when I want to print I can choose it as a printer within the Print dialog box. It’s listed under Bonjour printers.
Watch out for the printer drivers
Some notes: when I was adding the printer to the second Mac in my system I experimented with not installing the software from the CD first. This didn’t work so well as the computer seemed to freeze. I later found it seemed to be trying to download software from the Internet. It was easier just to install the printer drivers from the supplied CD.
My third Mac already had the correct printer drivers and I didn’t have to install anything extra. The difference was that when I installed the Operating System on that Mac I installed everything that was available, whereas with the others I trimmed out things I didn’t think I’d need.
This printer is easier to use than my old one because I’ve been able to plug it into my Airport Express, using a standard USB cable. This means I no longer have to fossick around in a cupboard, attach an ethernet cable and switch network settings as I had to do with the old (and quite large) printer.
I now just press Print from any computer on my wireless network from anywhere in the house and the printer wakes up and churns out the page.