As desktop computer sales continue to decline, it’s evident that mobile devices are the future of personal computing. In fact, many individuals use iPhones as their main computing device, while others will trade back and forth between iPhones and iPads. With this shift away from desktop computing, printing from mobile devices can become rather cumbersome. If your printer supports AirPrint then you’re covered, but the list of non-AirPrint enabled printers is far longer than its opposite.
Enter Printer Pro, developed by Readdle. If that name sounds familiar, it’s probably because they’re the minds behind some the best productivity and utility apps available today, including Documents, Scanner Pro, PDF Expert, Remarks and last but certainly not least, Calendars 5. With Printer Pro, you can print almost anything from your phone to nearly any printer. Join me after the jump as I show you how.
Setting up printers in Printer Pro is both easy and quick. Once launched, the app immediately prompts you to add a printer. Once you’ve tapped the large + Add Printer button, you’re transitioned to the Select Printer view. If your printer is Wi-Fi enabled, it will automatically be displayed in this view, and you should tap it and then tap the Next button. If your printer doesn’t display, it means it’s not compatible to connect wirelessly. Fear not, as there are alternate methods available.
If your printer is attached to your home or office network, and has a static IP address, you can add it manually. To do so, tap the “Not in the list” button, tap the IP Printing button and then enter the printer’s IP address and tap the Next button. For those of you without a printer attached to a network, Readdle offers a helper application that can be installed on your Windows or OS X desktop or laptop, if you happen to have one. A big caveat with this method though, is that it’s only accessible when your computer is on and awake — not to mention that you’re reliant on another device to get the job done.
Regardless of which method is used to add your printer, your next optional step is to print a test page. I highly recommend doing so, as it can be extremely beneficial. Some test prints include calibration markers, which, when utilized, should prevent crooked prints. If calibration markers are included in a test print, you’ll need to input four markers that were closest to the edge of the page, but weren’t cropped.
Printer Pro is capable of printing nearly any type of document or image, and all printing tasks are handled in the Print view. This view contains eight options, most of which just feature instructions on how to print from the selected category. More useful options include Documents, which is where you’ll find your previously printed items, or items you initiated to print but didn’t complete; Clipboard will print any text, link or images you’ve copied to your phone’s clipboard; Contacts displays a list of your contacts and will print an information page of a selected contact; and Photos is where you’ll go to access your iPhone’s photo album.
Certain first-party and third-party apps support an “Open In…” option, which allows you to select an app to open a document or image. Printer Pro will be included in the list of options, allowing you to easily transition to and print from the app. If you wish to print a web page in Safari, enter “phttp://” at the beginning of the current address bar link (or just place a “p” in front of “http” if you’re using iOS 6) and you’ll be transitioned to Printer Pro.
When you select an item in Printer Pro, or transition from another app, you’re immediately taken to a print preview.
From print preview, you can change the printer and select a print range of page (e.g. pages 2-5 of a document). Tapping the Options button in the upper-right open a new view with several options: orientation (i.e. landscape or portrait), an auto rotate option, paper size (e.g. letter, half letter, legal), size (original, fit to page, fill page), and sheets per page (e.g. full sheet, half sheet). Once you’ve made your selections, and returned to the printer preview, tap the big Print button and stand by.
Printing to PDF
PDF documents are quite useful when you wish to send someone a document or other type of material, but don’t wish to provide the original (i.e. editable) version — it’s something I deal with constantly at my day job. In addition to printing to a physical printer, Printer Pro is capable of printing (i.e. converting) materials to PDF. To do so, initiate the printing process as usual, but instead of selecting your physical printer, choose the PDF Printer option. The converted document will be available in the Documents view.
Printer Pro is not just a hub that collects documents to be printed, as you can also manage and share files from within the app itself. Tapping the Share icon for an item in the Documents view will open an action sheet that includes options to rename the file, open it in another app or send it by email. This feature may not be significant for files you’ve imported from another app to be printed, but it’s handy when you’ve converted a file to PDF and want to send it to someone via email, or send it back to your Dropbox or Google Drive space.
Keeping Things Lite
Printer Pro is an incredibly handy app, allowing you to print from your iPhone or iPad to most non-AirPlay enabled printers, all while offering far more printing options than AirPlay. However, before you jump to the App Store and drop $5 on the app, it’s important that make sure the app supports your printer. To do so, Readdle has a lite version of Printer Pro available to download, and its sole function is to perform a test print to determine if your printer is compatible with the app. If not compatible wirelessly, make sure to install the helper application on your desktop or laptop and see if that gets the job done.
If your printer is supported, don’t hesitate to purchase the full version. Some may consider $5 a lot to spend on an app, but Printer Pro is very much worth the price tag if you need to print from your mobile device(s).