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How to Print to any Printer from the iPad or any Phone Using DropBox

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by 4phun, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. 4phun
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    4phun iPad Junkie

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    How to Print to any Printer from the iPad or from any Phone Using DropBox

    HOT TIP

    I found this at various places on the web today.

    Here’s a tip that will let you print documents, emails, photos, PDF files, etc. from a mobile phone/iPad to your existing printer.

    All you need is a printer connected to the computer and a mobile device for sending print jobs – it could be a BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Android or any other web-enabled phone.

    Wirelessly Print Anything from Anywhere, Anytime
    While mobile phones have become a lot more capable in the past few years, the connection between the printer and your phone is still very weak.
    For instance, if you are using a BlackBerry or an iPhone, how do you print any of the presentations or spreadsheets that you have as email attachments? Or if you are viewing driving directions on Google Maps using an iPad, how do you send that map to the printer?
    Your phone’s app store will have a few printing apps to let you wirelessly print files but if you want to save a few bucks, you can simply use Dropbox to print documents from your phone to any printer without requiring any additional software.
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4TuXBNqksY&feature=player_embedded"]YouTube - Cloud Printing - Print from any Mobile Phone[/ame]

    Some upcoming printers will have built-in support for mobile printing via email but with Dropbox, you get the same feature without requiring any new hardware.
    Before we get into the details, watch the video above as it shows how printing from a mobile phone actually works through Dropbox (apologies for the bad audio quality).

    Print Files from any Mobile Phone through Dropbox
    The workflow is like this. You download a small utility on your computer that runs in the background and constantly monitors one of your Dropbox folders for any new printing jobs.
    You can send files for printing from your mobile phone through email or using any of the Dropbox mobile apps. As soon as Dropbox downloads the file locally, the utility will send it to the default printer. Once the file is printed, it gets archived to the logs folder.

    To get this thing running on your [Windows] computer, please follow these easy steps:

    Step 1: Make sure that you have Dropbox on the computer that is connected to the printer.
    Use my referral link to get 2.25 GB of free space at DropBox instead of the basic 2GB.
    http://www.dropbox.com/referrals/NTE2OTAyOTY5

    Step 2: To send print jobs from your mobile device to the printer, you have two options.
    You can download a Dropbox app on your mobile phone -- they have apps for BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Nokia, webOS (Palm), and Android based phones. [There are also various other programs on the iPad that will send a file to directly DropBox now.]

    Alternatively, you can send files from your mobile phone to Dropbox using email. Just connect your Dropbox account with Habilis and they’ll give you a unique email address – any files or attachments sent to this address will automatically appear in your Dropbox folder.

    Step 3: Download this zip file* and double-click the eprint.vbs file (see the source code). The script will create a sub-folder inside your main Dropbox folder called PrintQueue where all the mobile print jobs will queue up and another sub-folder called logs where all the completed jobs will be archived.

    [*] VBS scripts are Windows-only but there are workarounds for Mac OS X and Linux as well.

    Step 4: You are now all set to print files from our mobile phone. Just send a test file from your mobile phone to that secret email address, or upload it through the Dropbox mobile app, and your printer will turn it into a hard copy almost instantly.
    The utility can also handle multiple files in one go and it should print almost all file formats for which you have an associated application on the computer. If you would like to shut down the eprint utility, launch Windows task manager and end the “wscript.exe†process from the list.

    If you have trouble running the above script on your computer, there’s a chance that you may have associated the file with Notepad or some other text editor. Press shift and right click the file in Windows Explore and choose “Windows Based Script Host†under Open With. Alternatively, open the command prompt, type “cscript eprint.vbs†and hit enter.

    This tip was found on the web at How to Print Files from any Mobile Phone using Dropbox

    more

    There is a simpler method for Mac OS X that doesn't require the Windows VBS script:

    Step 1: Create a folder in Dropbox (mine's called "Printing"), and within that folder make two more folders: "todo" and "completed."

    Step 2: Fire up Automator. In 10.6, a box pops up asking you what type of template you want to use for your workflow. Choose "Folder Actions."

    Step 3: At the top, where it says "Folder Action receives files and folders added to..." choose the "todo" folder from Step 1.

    Step 4: In Automator's search box, type "print" and you'll see an item called "Print Finder Items." Drag that into your workflow and select your printer (I left mine default).

    Step 5: In Automator's search box, type "move" and you'll see an item called "Move Finder items." Add it to your workflow and choose the "completed" folder you created in step 1.

    Step 6: Choose "Save as..." and give your workflow a name.

    That's it! Anything you drop in the "todo" folder will now automatically open its respective app, print it and file it for you.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2010
  2. iVan
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    iVan iPad Ninja

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    Cute but you still need to have your computer on as it's doing the printing, not the mobile device...
  3. cldavis58
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    cldavis58 iPF Noob

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    I have a BlackBerry and an iPad, and want to print from them, but don't understand the details here. This seems viable and I don't mind having my PC on since I don't have a wireless printer, but I can't find the zip file with the script. Where is it? Thanks...
  4. Bob Maxey
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    Golly, lots of effort for something tjhat should be as simple as . . .

    1- Create a document
    2- Press a Print Button
    3- Pickup the printed document.

    Perhaps Mr. Jobs should talk to Mr. Gates . . . MS solved this complex process years ago.

    But every little bit of data helps, so thanks for the information.

    Bob Maxey
  5. accordlayingkit
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    accordlayingkit iPad Enthusiast

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    It's actually that simple on my ipad(1-3) with the purchase of print central app for 10$ I can print anything I want on my iPad to my home wireless printer
  6. DaveSt
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    DaveSt iPad Junkie

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    I guess I'm just a cynic by nature, but I have a feeling Apple saw more dollar signs by not enabling Airprint for more devices than they did. Now they get $3.33 every time somebody wants to get crazy and print something from their iPad. It is good to known the app works well though.
  7. accordlayingkit
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    accordlayingkit iPad Enthusiast

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    Yea I tired the AirPrint hack for windows which was a joke I feel.....couldn't get it strait. Have a wireless hp but doesn't do the air print thing but print central is great....also downloaded We Print to my desktop which allows me to print from anywhere other than the email in my print central app such as Internet, pages, etc....along with my drop box account I synced to my print central app
  8. DaveSt
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    DaveSt iPad Junkie

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    That's good information. I guess I was lucky and got the hack running on my Windows Home Server which is always on anyhow so I have some basic printing ability. When you use Print Central, does it give you a full pallet of printing options (formatting, landscape, portrait, page selection, etc.)?
  9. accordlayingkit
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    accordlayingkit iPad Enthusiast

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    Yup sure can....there in default but u jus click each to change pages, margins, landscape/portrait etc

    Attached Files:

  10. accordlayingkit
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    accordlayingkit iPad Enthusiast

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    How can you attach a clear screen shot like the one I posted from my saved folder?
  11. iVan
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    iVan iPad Ninja

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    Use Photobucket or:

    Check the settings in iPF to see at what resolution your attachments are sent. Go to More, Forum Posting Options and Attachment Quality.

    Sent from my iPad using iPF
  12. Bob Maxey
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    Bob Maxey iPad Addict

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    I also use Print Central. My point is you should not have to buy additional software to be able to do something people would naturally want to do.

    I wonder if things were reversed a bit and being able to print from a Mac or a Win machine required you to purchase additional software. What would People say?

    Bob Maxey
  13. accordlayingkit
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    accordlayingkit iPad Enthusiast

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    Yea I hear ya....I'm just glad there's way a around it vs nothin at all....I'd rather pay 10 bucks than being left with nothin
  14. accordlayingkit
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    accordlayingkit iPad Enthusiast

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    So if it's on medium...do I go high or low to get a clearer picture?
  15. iVan
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    iVan iPad Ninja

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    The higher resolution, the better, but also slower...

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