How to Set Up a Printer to Print From a Wireless Router

By Avery Martin

Unchain your wired printer by enabling Wi-Fi access.
i Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Setting up a wired printer to print wirelessly can be accomplished by connecting it directly to your wireless router and completing a basic configuration on your Mac or Windows operating system. Once you have set up the printer, it will be available to any computer on your network. Your wired printer should have an Ethernet port or a USB cable that you can use to connect directly to your router. When possible, choose the Ethernet cable since these cables are typically more reliable, reach a longer distance and generally provide higher performance and compatibility compared to other cable types.

Connect the Wired Printer

Connect one end of an Ethernet cable or USB cable to an available port on your printer. Then, connect the other end to an available port on the back of your wireless router. Not all routers support USB connections, but most routers have extra Ethernet ports to connect devices.

Plug the printer into a nearby wall outlet using the supplied power cable.

Turn on the printer and wait for the device to finish running its startup procedure. Most inkjet printers run a basic cleaning task each time the printer is powered on; laser printers typically are available to the network immediately.

Unplug the power from the back of your wireless router, wait 10 seconds and then plug it back in if you experience any issues when you try and set up your printer on your network.

Windows Setup

Click the "Start" button and select "Devices and Printers."

Click "Add a Printer" and select "Add a Network, Wireless or Bluetooth Printer" in the Add Printer window.

Select the printer you recently connected to the network and click "Next."

Click "Install Driver" and enter an administrator username and password, if prompted.

Continue to follow the prompts in the wizard and click "Next."

Mac Setup

Click the "Apple" menu and select "System Preferences."

Click "Print & Scan."

Click the "Lock" button and provide administrator credentials, if necessary. Click the "+" button and select your printer from the list. Wait for the printer to download and install the wireless printer.


Test your printer setup by opening a document and clicking "File" and "Print." Set your print options and click "Print" or "OK."


Information in this article applies to Windows 7 and Mac OS X Mountain Lion. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.