Technology Untangled: easy printing from phone or tablet

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technology-bourThese days I find that many tasks that I used to use my computer for are now accomplished with my smartphone or my tablet. The one task that has been a problem is printing. I recently needed to print an email I received on my phone and discovered a process to print directly from the phone to a Wi-Fi enabled printer. Here we will investigate how to set up your phone or tablet for printing.

Printing from a computer has always been a rather straightforward and matter-of-fact function. Simply choose File/Print and produce a hard copy. For all the variety of functionality that today’s phones and tablets offer, printing is not a built-in function; I can’t understand why. The standard work-around for this shortcoming is to email the file or document to yourself as an attachment, and then print it the next time you are in front of the computer. My need to print something presented itself on an evening where my laptop already was packed away, but my Wi-Fi printer was at the ready, as always, on the desk of the home office.

I searched for an Android printing app on the Google Play Store and found PrinterShare Mobile Print by Mobile Dynamix. Now, usually I like to try free offerings first, and there were a number of them that offered varying degrees of functionality, but none of them were as comprehensive and useful as this $12.95 paid application. Study of user comments and Web articles made it clear that PrinterShare was worth the relatively high fee. Specifically, this was the only application I found that made it easy to print email messages. It also allows for useful printing of other types of files, which I will discuss below. The PrinterShare app includes a version that is supposed to work with Apple’s iPhone and iPad, but I suspect there may be better, similar Apple-specific printing applications that would be worth a try, too. This review only covers the Android application.

Be aware that the “free” version of this application displayed at the app store is not really free. All it does is allow you to test the functionality of the program with your printer by printing a test page. Compatible printers include many HP, Epson, Canon, Brother and Samsung models. However, to do any useful printing, you must purchase the premium key version. The easiest method of printing with PrinterShare is directly to a Wi-Fi enabled printer on your local network. A Wi-Fi printer is a wonderful addition to your office or home office if you don’t already have one. It facilitates printing from any computer, and now phone, that communicates with your network router.

Once installed, you enable Wi-Fi communication to your network from your phone or tablet and then select your network printer, which should appear on the list. If you don’t have a Wi-Fi printer, there are other connection methods including through Bluetooth, through other computers on your network that have attached printers, and through Google Cloud Print. These methods are a bit more complicated but still can be accomplished by carefully following the instructions.

Email printing worked well, with one important limitation. You can only print messages from Google Gmail accounts. There is no choice to print from other types of POP email accounts that you might access with your phone. The workaround is simple enough. Just forward the message you want to print to the Gmail account of your device. To print email attachments, click on the attachment paper clip icon and choose “Preview,” then complete the action using PrinterShare. PrinterShare also allows printing of other important information from your phone, specifically entire strings of text message conversations and complete call logs in chronological order. These types of printouts could be very useful for many sorts of legal matters. Other printing choices include calendar, contacts, Web pages, Google Docs, documents (such as .pdf, .txt, .doc) and pictures.

For many, the main attraction of phone and tablet printing will be primarily for photos captured with the device, plus an occasional document. In that case, there are several good, free applications for specific brands of Wi-Fi printers. Search the Google Play Store using the word “print” and your printer brand. I found that the HP ePrint Home&Biz app did a nice job with photos from my phone. It did not do as well, however, with an MSOffice .doc document. The font and formatting of the printed page was substantially altered from the original during the rendering process.

Perhaps someday soon these mobile devices that we depend on more and more will continue to take on more computer functionality, including conventional printing ability. In the meantime, programs like PrinterShare should serve quite well. For more information, visit•


Stephen Bour ( is an engineer and legal technology consultant in Indianapolis. His company, the Alliance for Litigation Support Inc., includes Bour Technical Services and Alliance Court Reporting. Areas of service include legal videography, tape analysis, document scanning to CD and courtroom presentation support. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author.


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  1. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.