The Benefits and a Step-by-Step Guide

One of the Chromebook’s many innovations is its approach to printing. Instead of a direct connection to a printer, the default option for the Chromebook is to use Google Cloud Print. With Google Cloud Print, you can print from any device sharing the same network allowing you to print from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection.

While this represents a significant advance in printing technology, with the goal of making print tasks more convenient, there are occasional problems. Most often, this is an issue with the Google Cloud Print servers, which can lead to substantial delays. This is simply an inconvenience for casual tasks, but if you are using a Chromebook for urgent business or regular personal printing, the issue is highly problematic.

In these circumstances, it’s crucial to have a backup process in place. Fortunately, there is now functionality to print to compatible printers using a good old-fashioned USB cable. It may not be the future, but it certainly is reliable!

We are going to take a look at the three key benefits of printing via USB, and a simple step-by-step guide to show you how to print from Chromebook via USB.

The Benefits of Printing via USB


As discussed above, one of the issues experienced by Google Cloud Print users is the failure of network servers, making printing temporarily impossible. For time-critical tasks, that kind of ambiguity is unacceptable. USB printing is reliable, every time.


The beauty of printing via USB is that it’s completely straightforward. Simply plug in and you’re all set! Although Google Cloud Print is intuitive and user-friendly, there’s nothing easier than utilizing a USB cable.


If you share a printing network with other people, whether in a personal or business setting, there is a risk of confidential documents that are printed, falling into the wrong hands. With USB printing, you are the only person connected to the printer at any one time, which gives you full control of what is printed, and immediate collection of documents.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Printing From Chromebook via USB

Step 1: Check Your Resources: Equipment, Cables, and Consumables

Before you begin setting up the printer, check that you have everything you need close to hand. As well as the printer and your Chromebook, ensure you have power cords and a USB cable with the correct connection for your printer. Most printers are still supplied with an appropriate USB cable, so always keep it stored safely! In addition, ensure that you have enough paper and spare cartridges just in case.

Step 2: Download the Extension

HP took the lead in offering Chromebook users an extension to allow USB printing. Other printer manufacturers have since followed, although not all printers are supported. Simply head over to the Chrome web store and search for your printer manufacturer. Download and install the relevant extension on your Chromebook. You may need to restart Chrome; if this is required, you’ll be given a message on-screen.

Step 3: Connect Your Printer

Once you’ve downloaded the relevant Chrome extension, it’s time to get printing! Plug the USB cable into your printer (usually at the back), then connect the other end to one of your computer’s USB ports. Switch the printer on and allow it to boot before trying to print anything (how would you like it if you were woken up first thing in the morning and required a ton of things to do!)

Step 4: Select Your Document

Go to your Google Drive, find the document you want to print, open it, and double-check it’s ready for printing.

Step 5: Open Google Cloud Print

Although we are bypassing the wireless network capabilities of Google Cloud Print, we still need it to help us perform any print tasks. From the File menu, select Print. A new window will appear titled “Select a destination”, allowing you to choose the settings you require for this printing task.

Step 6: Select Your Local Printer

The new window contains three sub-sections; Recent Destinations, Local Destinations, and Google Cloud Print.

Under Local Destinations > the printer you have connected via USB should be listed > select this printer.

Step 7: Press Print

The final step is to press the Print button at the bottom of the window. Your printer should begin working immediately and deliver the requested document. If not, there could be a connection or setting issue so try checking your cables again, ensuring the printer is powered on and you’ve selected the right printer in the window option.

As you can see, this is a straightforward process that negates the complexities that can sometimes arise with Google Cloud Print.