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Is There A Way To Print Over WiFi?

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by HustlinDaily, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Are there any applications which allow you to edit word/excel/pdf documents and print them over WiFi? Is there a way to install a printer onto your Android device which is connected via WiFi?

  2. CodeMonkey

    CodeMonkey Guest

    There are a few printing apps on the market, but I've had no luck with them printing to a Canon Pixma MP600R so YMMV.

    I use Documents To Go for editing docs etc.
  3. Chroma

    Chroma Android Enthusiast

  4. pspbricker

    pspbricker Member

    Try an app called "PrinterShare" on the market. It installs a wifi client on your PC, and then prints via your normal printer.
  5. Zoandroid

    Zoandroid Android Expert

    One option that is working for me on an LG Ally is to use PrinterShare Droid. But it uses the internet, not wifi. There are caveats. You have to create an account, and your documents are processed through a secure server at their site. You then install software on the PC driving your printer (if it isn't a wifi or LAN printer) to access the printer via the net. From there, you can run the app on the phone to print to it, but it doesn't let you print just "any" kind of file either.

    They claim that printing itself is "alien" to the Android OS, because it was designed for handhelds. So how they got around it is that the utility packages your target document into a container file suitable for printing. As such, when you run PrinterShare, it offers you the following choices of what to print:

    Web Pages
    Call Log
    Emails (G-Mail only)

    Sadly, no "Documents". So you would have to either make a PDF or put the document content into an email, or perhaps some other way. The email option worked for me, and allowed me to print a list from the Grocery-IQ shopping list program I am using.

    They start you out with 20 pages "free". Then you have an option to buy additional pages (I think it was 100 pages for $4.95) or a subscription with unlimited pages. I believe that may have been $40, but don't quote me on that.

    For my ocassional needs it is working until someone comes up with a true wi-fi solution.
  6. jfbrenner

    jfbrenner Lurker

    Check out an app called FileLinx. I have just posted an update that does remote printing. The previous version(s) let you transfer a file to a PC by WiFi (or 3G/4G) but did not allow automatic printing.

    Now you can set up your PC to allow "unattended" printing to the default printer, or "attended" printing, which allows you to specify the usual print options, if you happen to be present at the PC.

    For now, the system will print images (.png, .jpg, and .gif) and any Acrobat file (.pdf). We will be working to provide printing for other file formats in a future release.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I am the developer of this app. I would love to hear what you think of it. Please send comments to support@DroidLinx.com :)
    Outlaw71 and jonmeskeete like this.
  7. Zoandroid

    Zoandroid Android Expert


    Thanks for letting us know about your app. Being the developer, I'll ask you directly if it can do what I want, which is to print by wifi to an IP address?

    I have such an infrastructure already set up, in which all our PCs here can print over our LAN to a Print Server, using its IP address. I was able to do this with Windows Mobile on previous hardware by wifi, but have yet to find a way with the Android OS. If you can allow it to print this way by wifi, I could print directly to the printer, even if all the PCs were shut down.

    Can it do that?

    According to the website I just found for File Linx is says that "Java must be installed on the PC" for it to work, which insinuates a PC must be accessed to get to its printer. That is not what I am looking for. I'd like to print directly to an IP address of the print server, with no requirement for a PC at all.
  8. jfbrenner

    jfbrenner Lurker

    Hi Zoandroid,

    I am not an expert on Windows Mobile systems, but I assume that a Windows Mobile phone, connected to a LAN wirelessly, has printing software similar to the other Windows machines on the LAN, thereby allowing it to print to a Windows compatible "print server", which I assume is a printer with a dedicated Ehernet interface and what amounts to a hardwired Windows system that can receive print commands and data from any of the Windoes machines.

    Unfortunately, the FileLinx client does not know anything about printing to a Windows "print server". It will only send a file to the FileLinx print server, which must be running on a PC. The FileLinx print server then prints the file to the default printer of the PC on which it is installed. (It allows unattended printing, or "attended" printing if there is a person present to respond to the usual print dialog).

    In short, FileLinx does not satisfy all of your conditions. However, if any one of the PC's on your LAN were to use the "print server" as its "default" printer, then if you installed the (very small) FileLinx server software on that PC, FileLinx should work. The FileLinx client, running on the Android device, can get access to that PC wirelessly, either through a wireless access point (or router) on your LAN, or externally via the Internet. Basic instructions for configuring a router to allow this are part of the User Guide on our site, and I can help you with configuration as needed.
  9. Zoandroid

    Zoandroid Android Expert

    Hi again,

    I don't know much about the inner workings of the print server itself, but it is a D-Link DP-301U if you are curious. The device accepts whatever print commands would be normally issued to a printer, I guess, by way of an assigned port and IP address. But it is not restricted to Windows, as far as I am aware. I believe it will print from a LAN connected Linux PC too, but have not done that recently.

    When I was using Windows Mobile I had a pair of apps called PocketClipPrint and Pocketshot. The former printed any text from the device's clipboard, and the latter printed some types of graphic files. It sent the data to the static IP address assigned to the DP-301U using wifi, and the USB printer attached to the 301U printed the results. No PCs were involved in the process at all, however the PCs also print to the same printer using a similar path across the LAN cables. I have to install the print server on each PC as an IP printer with a few settings and then it works for that PC.

    Anyway, I am hoping someone someday will write apps to do the same thing in the Android OS. I can't get the guy who coded them for WM interested in Android, unfortunately.

    Thanks for the replies! I'll keep your system in mind if I decide I want to print via a PC in the future.
  10. BookLover

    BookLover Android Expert

    If you get the paid version of Printershare AND have a printer compatible with Printershare, then YES you can print over wifi. How do I know this? That's how I print with my Captivate.

    Download the free version of Printershare first. Read its description and there is a link to find compatible printers.

    It can print PDFs, Google docs, sms, webpages, contacts, etc. But not docs 2 go.
  11. Zoandroid

    Zoandroid Android Expert

    Thanks. I am familiar with PrinterShare and have used the free version. But I don't like the process of having to send what I want printed through a cloud server. :) And I liked the ability to print when all the PCs are shut down. So I would hope to be able to resume that someday.
  12. legs74

    legs74 Lurker

    Yeah, I have FileLinx. It is not only a print app but a file transfer app. I have a network printer. I use FileLinx running on one of my computers to print to the networked printer. The beauty of this setup is that FileLinx does not care what printer you have. It just uses the printer the PC uses. I also use FileLinx to connect my Android to my PC and transfer music and e-books. What is great is that it works over 3G, so I can connect from anywhere. It works over WiFi too, so I can transfer without cables to and from my PC at home. Printing too. It may not be what you need, but it seems to work easily enough in most conditions. Cheers!
  13. BookLover

    BookLover Android Expert

    The paid version lets you print over wifi if you have a compatible printer. I print directly from wifi. I have never printed thru the cloud with Printershare.

    As soon as I successfully printed a test page by wifi with the free version, I bought the paid version so I could print directly via wifi unlimitedly.
  14. Zoandroid

    Zoandroid Android Expert

    The problem for me is the "compatible printer" issue. My printer doesn't have wifi. I plan to make sure the next one I get does, and that will solve much of this issue. But I tend to keep printers until they die, which translates into decades. This HP 5150 is still going strong.

    For now I have found most of what I want to print from the Ally can easily be emailed to the PC. So at least I have a way that works, it just isn't as nice has being able to print something directly.
  15. BookLover

    BookLover Android Expert

    Save yourself the step of emailing by storing files you want to print and/or have accessible on both your droid and your phone in a cloud service, like Dropbox and Sugarsync. Check out the links in my signature. The dropbox link includes a nice animation that shows how cloud storage works.

    Then you can print directly from your computer something that originated from your droid without emailing.
  16. Zoandroid

    Zoandroid Android Expert

    Thanks, but I mentioned a few posts above that I don't like the idea of sending my data through the cloud. Actually, I don't like how Google "reads" all our email to generate ads, but there is nothing I can do about that, so I just don't email sensitive files through that channel. I am willing to accept the way GMail operates in order to have the Android OS. :)

    The kinds of things I want to print would not always be easy to implement as you suggest. One example is the shopping list I create on the Ally. All the info is stored within the program I use. There is no way to save it as a file somewhere else. For that app I would probably need a "screen printer" type utility. But it does have the ability to email the list, so I can send it to the PC and print it that way. It would also be nice to, for example, be able to print one of these posts while viewing the forum on the Ally. I have been experimenting with Evernote for things like that, but it, too, uses a cloud service.

    Hard to get away from these days I guess. :) But I can't quell this thought in the back of my mind that all these people are trusting their data to a complete online stranger just because they 'claim' it is encrypted. We really have no way at all of knowing if it is or if someone is mining the data and selling it off to whomever is interested (like Google seems to be doing). :D
  17. BookLover

    BookLover Android Expert

    I agree. I don't sync sensitive info into the cloud, but innocuous files like recipes, device manuals, music, untagged images, etc.
  18. Mr. Boom

    Mr. Boom Android Enthusiast

    I use Printershare Droid, and at home i can print over wifi just fine through my network. My printer is not a wifi printer, and i only have the printer shared with Printershare, so it is not shared on a network.
    Works great. When i turn wifi off on the phone, i have to print over the internet to my pc, and then to printer.

    Just works!
  19. jfbrenner

    jfbrenner Lurker

  20. Zoandroid

    Zoandroid Android Expert

    That sounds pretty interesting. Please post here when you get the new upgrade running and I'll give it a try. I had thought you operated FileLinx similar to PrinterShare, which does use a server as the middle man for the data.

    I like the PDF idea because I have an app that uses the camera to create a PDF of anything I can photograph. It does a surprisingly good job on magazine articles, even those with colored backgrounds. So being able to wifi-print a PDF would interest me, for sure.
  21. buckeyecal

    buckeyecal Lurker

    using google cloud with a wifi enabled printer and it works for laptop, but not for phone. will try printershare, but can not find out of $4.95 fee is 1 time or monthly. Anyone kno?
  22. Zoandroid

    Zoandroid Android Expert

    You get something like 20 free "prints" before you have to decide if you want to keep it and subscribe. It worked OK for me but I didn't like having to keep a PC on just to print. Eventually I realized most things I wanted to print could be sent by email to the PC anyway, and printed from there. But if someone comes up with a "PC-less" way to print to "any" IP-address-enabled wifi printer (not just the printers which HAVE wifi features built in, as mine does not) I'll be interested again.
  23. BookLover

    BookLover Android Expert

    4.95 is one time fee to purchase the "premium" software to print over wifi.

    You can print a free page over wifi with the free version to confirm compatibility before purchasing the "premium" version.

    The 4.95 allows you to print over wifi unlimitedly, without ever going into the cloud. I don't use the subscription service, so not sure if the 4.95 is inclusive of that.
  24. jfbrenner

    jfbrenner Lurker

    Sorry for the delay in updating my last post. We have now updated FileLinx to print quite a few formats, in the "unattended" mode. It should now handle files with the following endings:

    .txt .Log .doc .docx .htm .mht .odt .pdf .ppt .rtf and .wps

    To print these formats, you need to have the "native" software on the PC. For example, to print .ppt files, you must have PowerPoint installed.

    We are working on adding other formats, especially those popular with Android users, such as SMS, Contacts, e-mails etc. Check the site Utility Solutions for Android, under "Products" and one of the guides for the full list, updates, and any limitations.
  25. CodeMonkey

    CodeMonkey Guest

    Hmmm I'd forgotten about this thread :D

    I'm now doing the print thing through Dropbox using an automator script on my Mac - there's an equivalent VBS script for use with Windows .

    Worth considering where you already use DropBox. I've still yet to find an app that fully supports printing from Android to a Canon MP600R, but this meets part of my requirements and is free to setup and use.

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