How to print from an Android smartphone or tablet

By Christian de Looper

Printers may be on the way out given the rise of digital file sharing, but they’re unlikely to go away completely any time soon. Thankfully, you don’t need a computer to print files. Instead, you can do it straight from your smartphone. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you learn how to print files straight from your Android phone.

There are a number of ways to print files from your Android phone. Not only has Android itself gotten better at printing, but the best inkjet and best photo printers have been getting new features to accommodate wireless printing. In case you need to print from your iPhone or iPad, check out our other guide. For this guide, we’re focusing on Android devices.

How to print using Google Cloud Print

Google’s Cloud Print is a technology that allows you to print files from any device, anywhere — whether you’re on the same Wi-Fi network as the printer or not. It’s the best way to print from Android devices, because it’s built into Android itself, meaning you don’t have to download or manage any third-party software. To use Cloud Print, you’ll have to go through a few different steps, which are outlined below. If Cloud Print is not installed on your smartphone, you can easily download it here from the Google Play Store.

Adding a printer to Google Cloud Print

To use a printer through Cloud Print on Android, you first have to add it to the service. Before proceeding with the steps below, make sure your printer is on and both your printer and Android device are connected to your Wi-Fi network.

  • Open the Settings app on your Android phone and type “Printing” in the search box. Tap on the Printing option that shows up. Alternatively, you can find this setting in Settings > Connected devices > Connection preferences > Printing.
  • Tap on Cloud Print. There may be a number of other options on the list, and you can experiment with those if you want — but for simplicity’s sake, we recommend sticking to Cloud Print for now.
  • Tap the menu button on the top right-hand corner and select Add printer.
  • Cloud Print will automatically search for printers connected to your Wi-Fi network. Tap on your printer, and it should be connected and ready to go.

How to print using Google Cloud Print

Once you’ve successfully added a printer to Google Cloud Print, you should be able to easily print a file. Follow the steps below to print a file or image from your Android phone using Google Cloud Print.

  • Navigate to the file or photo you want to print. This could be an email from the Gmail app, an image you’ve found in Google Chrome, or anything else.
  • If it’s available, tap the three-dot menu button in the top right-hand corner and find an option to either print the document or to “Export” it, or something similar. If it’s not available, you may need to save an image or file to your gallery or device and navigate to it through the Android Files app or Google Photos app to print it.
  • Tap the Print option.
  • Cloud Print should automatically connect to the printer you’ve added, but if you’ve added more than one, you’ll need to tap on the printer you want to use.
  • Choose the number of copies you want to print and the paper size. You can also select more options by tapping on the down arrow. From there, you’ll be able to choose whether you want to print a color or black-and-white image, the orientation of the page, and so on.
  • Tap the blue printer icon on the right of the screen.

How to print using email on Android

Printer manufacturers have been building features into their printers that give printers email addresses. What that means is that you can send an email to the printer with a document you want to print, and it will automatically print it. Setting this up varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, so if you’re having trouble we recommend looking at the manual for your printer, or get in touch with the manufacturer. Here, we’re going over how to send files over email to the printer.

Method 1

  • Open your preferred email client and create a new email.
  • Type the printer’s email address in the “To” field.
  • Tap on the “Attach” button. This may look like a paperclip or some other icon, depending on your email client.
  • Navigate to the file you want to print. It may be located in the default Files app on your phone, Google Drive, Google Photos, or a third-party app. You’ll need to know where it’s located to attach it and print it.
  • Once the file has been attached, press the “Send” button.

Method 2

  • Find the image or file you want to print. You can do so by navigating to the Files app, Google Photos, Google Drive, or a third-party app.
  • Open the file.
  • Tap the “Share” button. The Share button looks like three dots with two lines connecting them. Alternatively, you may need to “Send a copy” in some apps, like in Google Docs.
  • Scroll down to your preferred email client and tap the icon.
  • Type the printer’s email address in the “To” field.
  • Tap the “Send” button.


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