How to share a printer in Windows 10
The Windows 10 operating system allows users to share a printer with multiple network-connected computers. This can be very beneficial for an organization as it offers financial savings and productivity gains by enabling several individuals to share a single peripheral without the inconvenience of physically moving the equipment. Many offices allocate a computer as a printer server that can be accessed by other machines on their network.
In the discussion and steps that follow, we will show you how to share a printer over the network with Windows 10 machines. We will refer to the computer that is physically connected to the printer as the primary PC. Machines that access the printer over the network are called secondary PCs. Initial steps include making sure that the printer and both PCs are powered on and that the computers are connected to the network. Sharing settings must also be set up and the printer needs to be attached to the primary PC. This can be done wirelessly or with a cabled USB connection.
Note: Configuring the sharing settings on the primary and secondary machines is a prerequisite to sharing a printer on Windows 10. You also need to have the name of the primary PC available to establish the connection. You will find instructions on how to obtain this information in the “Find your PC name” and “Set up sharing settings” sections at the end of this article.
Sharing the printer on the primary PC
You can share a printer from the primary PC using either Control Panel or your computer’s Settings. Follow the steps below to set up printer sharing.
Share a printer using Control Panel
- Open Control Panel by searching for it in the taskbar’s search box and then selecting it.
- Open the “Hardware and Sound” section and select “View devices and printers”.
- Right-click the printer you will be sharing. Choose “Printer properties” and then select the “Sharing” tab.
- Select the “Share this printer” option.
- You can edit the share name of the printer if desired. This is the name that will be used when connecting the printer to a secondary PC.
Share your printer with Settings
- Click the Start button and then navigate to “Settings > Devices > Printers & scanners”.
- Select the printer that will be shared and choose the “Manage" option.
- In the “Printer Properties” section, choose the “Sharing” tab.
- Select “Share this printer” from within the “Sharing” tab.
- The Share name of the printer can be edited if you wish. This is the name that will be used on a secondary PC when connecting the printer over the network.
Connect the shared printer to another PC
You have the same two options when connecting the secondary Windows 10 machine to a shared printer. You can use Control Panel or Windows Settings. Follow the steps for your preferred method of connectivity.
Connecting to a shared printer using Control Panel
- Type “Control Panel” in the search box on the taskbar and open it.
- Navigate to “Hardware and Sound” where you will select “View devices and printers”. Choose the “Add a printer” option.
- Choose the printer that you want to access and click “Next”. Install the printer driver when prompted by the OS.
- Click on “The printer that I want isn’t listed” if you do not see the printer you want to access.
- Using the “Add a device” dialog box, choose the “Select a shared printer by name” option. Use one of the following formats to enter the name of the Primary PC and the share name defined when sharing the printer.
- Install the printer driver when prompted and choose “Next” to finish the installation.
More information regarding the computer and device name can be found in the Find your PC name section later in this topic. You need to have the user name and password that allows you to log into the primary PC to access the printer.
Using Settings to connect to a shared printer
- Click the Start button and then “Settings > Devices > Printers & scanners”.
- In “Add printers & scanners” choose the “Add a printer or scanner” option.
- Select the desired printer and click on “Add Device”.
- If the printer that you want is not displayed, select “The printer that I want isn’t listed”. This lets you add a printer by name.
- Choose “Select a shared printer by name” from within the “Add printer” dialog box. Here you will enter the name of the primary PC as well as the share name you have defined for the printer. You can use either of these two formats the providing this information:
- Click “Next” when prompted to install the printer driver to complete the installation procedure.
The “Find your PC” name in the following sections will assist you in providing the correct information when setting up printer sharing. You will need both the user name and password for the primary PC to enable a connection to the shared printer to be established.
How to set up Sharing settings
Sharing settings may be implemented by default on your Window 10 computers. If they are not, here are the steps you need to follow to turn them on. You can do this through the Control Panel or by accessing Windows Settings.
Turning on Sharing in Control Panel
- Open Control Panel. You can use the search box on the taskbar if necessary to locate Control Panel.
- Choose the “Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Change advanced sharing settings” in Control Panel.
- Expand the “Private” section in the “Advanced sharing settings” dialog box. Choose “Turn on network discovery” from the “Network discovery” tab.
- Under the “File and printer sharing” section, choose to “Turn on file and printer sharing”.
Using Settings to turn on Sharing
- Click “Start” and then choose “Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi”.
- In the “Related settings” area, choose the “Change advanced sharing” option.
- Expand the “Private section” of the “Advanced sharing settings” dialog box. Then select “Turn on network discovery" under the “Network discovery” section.
- In the "File and printer sharing” section, choose the “Turn on file and printer sharing” option.
Find your PC name
You will need to know the name of the primary computer when connecting a secondary PC to a shared printer. Here are two methods for displaying the computer’s name.
Find the primary PC name in Control Panel
- Open Control Panel
- Choose “System and Security > System > See the name of this computer”.
- The computer’s name will be displayed in the “Computer name” field.
Locate the primary computer’s name in Settings
- Type “computer name” in the taskbar’s search box.
- Select “View your PC name”.
- The computer’s name will be displayed under “Device name”.
That’s all you need to do to share a locally attached printer with network-attached computers using the native functionality of the Windows 10 operating system.