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How to Print from a Google Chromebook


Bill Willoughby
Author: Bill Willoughby Date: 03/03/2020

You may have heard that Google Cloud Print, Google's cloud-based printing solution will be retired on December 31, 2020. That’s sad news for fans of the mobile printing service, but it’s especially worrisome for teachers, schools and students, who have been the biggest adopters of Chromebooks and Chrome OS-based devices.

The Google Chromebook is the fastest growing mobile platform in the U.S., with more than 11 million units expected to ship in 2020. It has become a popular tool for schools and Chromebooks represent nearly 60 percent of computers purchased last year for K-12 schools in the U.S., according to the company’s latest report on units shipped of Chromebooks, laptops, and tablets.

Chrome OS powers Chromebooks but it has been criticized as being more of a glorified browser, and not a full-functioned operating system. Chrome OS does offer file management, standalone apps, access to the Google Play Store and other functions, but very limited printing functionality. To print from a Chromebook, most users have had to go through Cloud Print to print from a Chromebook.

How to Print from a Chromebook

Beginning January 1, 2021, devices across all operating systems will no longer be able to print using Google Cloud Print. With the discontinuation of Google Cloud Print, IT administrators will have limited options for printing from the Chrome OS.  Fortunately, there are solutions which have the capability to provide print services for Chromebook users. 

The first recommendation is using your Google Admin console to set up what is known as a Common UNIX Printing System (CUPS) for printing to local and network printers. When you add a printer, it automatically appears in your users’ list of printers and they can start printing without any further setup. 

In order to setup a CUPS, sign in to your Google Admin console. From the Admin console Home page, go to Devicesand thenChrome management. (If you don't see Devices on the Home page, click More controls at the bottom.)

  1. Scroll down and click Printers.
  2. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit.
  3. From the list, click the printer.
  4. In the box on the right, change any settings or details.
  5. Click Save. If you configured a child organizational unit, you might be able to Inherit or Override a parent organizational unit's settings.

However, the better option to ensure effective and secure printing capabilities from a Chromebook is to utilize a Print Management Solution such as PaperCut or Uniflow. This is especially useful if you administer a large number of Chromebooks and want to monitor and control how students are using their printing privileges. For example, Papercut can print from Windows, MacBooks and iOS devices and will offer native printing to Chromebooks. 

The advantage of using a managed print software solution is that, in addition to allowing basic print functions, administrators can offer selective broadcasting of print queues to Chrome OS users, track print activity by linking the device to the users account, and enforce secure release of jobs.  Another benefit these solutions offer is providing mobile device printing solutions for other mobile device operating systems, such as iOS and Android platform devices.

We at GFC recognize that the end of Google Cloud Print is an inconvenience for many Chromebook users, especially in the educational field. The good news is that print capabilities are still available and there are even advanced and secure options for organizations that need a flexible and advanced printing services for all of their users. If you have any questions about this or any other print-related frustrations, please reach out to the print experts at the Gordon Flesch Company. 

Intro to Managed Print Services Guide CTA

Topics: Managed Print

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Written by Bill Willoughby

William Willoughby is the Manager of Print Solutions at Gordon Flesch Company. He has more than 20 years of helping clients match the technology to their business needs and plan for implementation and ongoing support.

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