How to Print from Google Docs App on Android and iPhone, Locally or via Cloud Print

Mobile evolution made possible what once was considered utopia. In 2019, you can receive a shared document on your mobile device without downloading a file, open it without turning on your computer, and then print it without physically connecting to the printer! Just remember how this procedure looked about fifteen years ago – and feel lucky to live now.

But probably you know some people who prefer doing it the old (not necessarily good) way. Maybe they just didn’t taste the ease of printing documents directly from Google Docs on your network-enabled printer. If you didn’t either, but want to, here is the instruction on how to print a document from your Google Docs on a wireless printer, using your iPhone or Android phone as the only media.

Handling Documents in Google Docs

google docs app sreenshot

It’s strange, but many Google Docs users don’t fully realize its mission. For them, Google Docs is a version of Microsoft Office that requires the Internet for some unknown reason. In fact, it’s just the opposite: it’s a web service for collaboration and storing documents, with a mobile app as a pleasant but not that necessary bonus. What you need to know: the documents are on Google servers, and the app is just the tool for accessing them. You can save the document locally, but it will be just a snap of a living and evolving Google document, spreadsheet, or presentation.

What does it have to do with printing documents? It has one thing for you to know: processing the document locally is not necessary. You can do it all online – from viewing the doc to sending it to the printer. If your printer is connected to the Internet via a router, the printing becomes an online service.

The following steps are equally made on Android and iOS. Let’s assume you already have your Google Docs app installed. If not, you can find it on the Play Market or App Store. Install it and authorize with your Google account. In both cases, it should be a separate Google authorization.

Let’s also assume you have a Wi-Fi-enabled printer, and it’s connected to the same network as your phone or tablet. Check whether you are using the local Wi-Fi on the phone, instead of, say, cellular Internet. If you aren’t using your local network, switch to it. Now we can go further.

The Instruction on Printing Documents

After you have Google Docs app running, select the document you want to print. You can browse your device memory, your Google Drive, or shared documents you have been granted access to. The two latter options require an Internet connection. Though Google Docs only can handle.DOCX, .PDF and the old .DOC files, it doesn’t matter when it comes to online documents.

When the document you want to print is opened, adjust it if necessary. Change the setup between portrait and landscape, select the size and the colors. When it’s ready, tap the 3-dot menu in the right upper corner. This lets you share the document. Printing is no more a special sort of procedure: now it’s a sort of sharing.

In the menu, you see select “Print”. The app will think for a couple of seconds, preparing the document for printing. And then you have options to choose from.

If there is a printer in your local network, just tap “Print” and let the system detect it. Then you will see the instruction on setting it up. It will differ for different printers and configurations, so there is just one thing to say now: follow the instruction, it won’t do you wrong.

Then there’s only one thing left to do. When the printer is set up, you may tap PRINT when prompted and relax.

No Local Printer?

Google cloud print scheme

Well, there are situations when your local printer is not available via the local network. What do you do then? Probably you have noticed another line in the menu, including Google Cloud Print. That’s what we’ve been talking about in the beginning: your document lies in the clouds, so cloud printing may be a better option.

But, as you are reading this in search of answers, probably you haven’t added your printer to your Google Cloud Print account. Don’t worry if your printer has no network interface at all. It can be added when connected to a PC. All you need is to provide Google access to it. All the data about the printer will only be saved in your account.

There are also Cloud Ready printers, with a special mark. These connect to the Internet directly, and you don’t need a computer to get them registered with. Just turn this printer on and follow its instructions to get it activated.

How to connect a printer to Google Cloud Print

Let’s assume your printer is connected to the PC, the drivers are installed so the printer can function, and both devices are turned on. The only thing you need on your PC is the Google Chrome browser with your account active in it.

When you have it, the algorithm is the following:

  • Start Google Chrome.
  • Go to Settings, then select Advanced.
  • In “Advanced” select “Printing Options”, and then Google Cloud Print.
  • Click “Manage Cloud Print Devices”.
  • Confirm your Google password if necessary.
  • If there are multiple printers, select the one to add. If there is only one, confirm it.
  • Confirm adding printers.

Okay Google, now you have my printer. For it to make sense, the printer (as well as the computer it’s connected to) should always be on – at least when you feel you’ll need to print something. On the other hand, with this method, you can be wherever you want to send the documents to print. The printer will have them ready by the moment you get to your office (or at home, though it is less reasonable to keep your home printer and computer always on – unless someone is using them locally).

 And when you have your printer connected to Cloud Print, you can send tasks to it right from Google Docs. Isn’t this ease worth ten minutes to set it all up? Paper is still irreplaceable in many situations, but the way you get your documents on paper is way better.

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