How to print from a Chromebook while traveling

With Google’s Chrome OS on the rise in popularity, there’s good chance that some of may soon be buying, or being gifted, a Chromebook in the near future. The low price and surprising quality of these devices make them rather tempting, but they are not Windows or OS X, so there is a bit of a learning curve to conquer.

One thing you will notice early on is that you can’t plug a printer into a Chromebook. In fact, even if you have a printer shared on your home network, it won’t show up in Chrome OS. The solution to printing at home is to use Google Cloud Print. There is a process for this that involves installing a connector app on a Windows computer, preferably one that is always on and has access to your printer. We’ll be covering this in a coming post, but for now, let’s look at the other options built into Chrome OS.

The first challenge is finding the print option, but Google doesn’t hide it too badly. You’ll need to head down to the system tray, which is just like the Windows version you are used to, and click to expand it.

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Hit the Settings option and then begin scrolling down to find “Google Cloud Print” — you’ll need to click “Show Advanced Settings” in order to get there. Once you have located it, tap the button for “Open Google Cloud Print”.

Screenshot 2013-11-30 at 10.54.14 AM

Chromebook really shines on the road, and now you will learn why. If you are traveling and find yourself in need on printing a document then having it pop out at your home is of little use. Google has a built-in way of getting by that problem. Choose “Printers” from the left column and you will be greeted with several options.

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A number of these don’t make much sense — I won’t be printing to my Nexus 7, after all. But, I can easily locate  FedEx store almost anywhere, and I can choose to print to one and then drop in and pick up the file. You can also send a document to Google Drive from here.

Conclusion

Next time around we’ll take a look at printing right in your home from a Chromebook. For now, you have a solution that can get you by while traveling. Printing to a FedEx store will not be free, but neither is it overly pricey.

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