It's easy to print a file such as a word processing document or spreadsheet from your Galaxy Tab 2. No cables are needed, and you don't need to transfer your files to another computer, either. Android 4.1, or Jelly Bean, on your Tab 2 makes it easy for you to connect to a wireless printer using your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection. However, there are some limitations to the printing functionality built into the Tab 2, but you can download apps and use web-based services to get around those limits.
Connect a Wi-Fi Printer
Your Tab 2 will automatically scan for wireless printers that are available through a Wi-Fi connection. Note that you may have to enable a Wi-Fi connection on the printer as well. In this example, I’ll use my Hewlett-Packard (HP) Officejet Pro X576dw printer, which I’ll refer to from here on out as the Officejet Pro. The Officejet Pro requires the user to enable HP Wireless Direct functionality on the printer before any device can see the printer.
You can check for Wi-Fi connections by tapping on the Settings icon in any home screen and then tapping Wi-Fi in the menu on the left side of the Settings screen (that is, if the Wi-Fi option isn't selected by default). Figure 1 shows a wireless printer in the Wi-Fi Networks list on the right side of the screen.
Figure 1 My wireless HP Officejet Pro X576dw printer appears in the list of Wi-Fi devices the Tab 2 recognizes.
Tap the wireless printer in the list to connect to it. In this example, I’ll tap HP-Print-F6-Officejet Pro X576dw in the list. If the printer requires a password for you to use it, then you’ll see “Secured” (without the quote marks) underneath the printer name in the list as you saw in Figure 1. If the printer doesn’t require a password, then you’ll see “Open” underneath the printer name.
Because this printer requires a password, the password window appears on the screen. You may need to get the password from the printer itself when you enable the printer’s Wi-Fi connection. Type the password, and then tap the Connect button in the window. After the Tab 2 connects to your printer, you will see “Connected” underneath the printer name in the Wi-Fi connections list.
If the Tab 2 doesn’t recognize your wireless printer, you may need to bring your Tab 2 closer to the printer. You can scan for the printer again by tapping Scan in the Settings menu bar that appears at the top of the screen (just below the Status Bar). When the wireless printer appears in the Wi-Fi list, connect to the printer by tapping the printer name.
Connect a Bluetooth Printer
If you have a Bluetooth printer, open the Settings window as you did for a Wi-Fi printer and then tap Bluetooth in the menu on the left side of the screen. A slider bar appears to the right of the Bluetooth entry in the menu; turn on Bluetooth functionality by sliding the O button to the right, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2 The gray O button appears to the right of the Bluetooth menu text.
After you turn on Bluetooth, you'll see the name of your device in the My Device section on the right side of the screen, as shown in Figure 3—in this example, my Hewlett-Packard Deskjet 460 printer. The Tab 2 will also scan for all available Bluetooth devices within range of the Tab 2 and will display the names of those devices in the Available Devices section.
Figure 3 You can scan for more devices by tapping Scan at the right side of the menu bar at the top of the screen (below the Status Bar).
The final step in connecting your printer is to pair the Bluetooth printer with your Tab 2. Tap the printer name to begin the pairing process. The Bluetooth Pairing Request window appears, as shown in Figure 4. You will need to consult your printer documentation and/or the printer manufacturer’s website to find the PIN.
Figure 4 Tap the Cancel button in the window if you decide you don’t want to pair the printer with your Tab 2
After you type the PIN, tap the OK button in the window. The paired Bluetooth printer appears in the Paired Devices section. Tap the Settings icon (it looks like a wheel cog) to the right of the printer name to change the printer name and unpair, or disconnect, the printer from the Tab 2.
Download a Print App
Samsung boasts that you can print from your Galaxy Tab 2 to any compatible printer. Unfortunately, what Samsung doesn’t tell you is that you can only print to Samsung’s printers. You’ll find this out when you try to print from an app for the first time and see a message that “you can only print to a Samsung printer.” Fortunately, there are apps available from the Google Play Store so you can print to other printers.
For example, if you have a Hewlett-Packard printer as I’m using in this example, you can download the HP ePrint app, as shown in Figure 5. You can also search for your printer manufacturer in the Google Play Store to see if a printing app is available. There are also apps available from the Play Store for printing to a wide variety of devices such as PrinterShare Mobile Print, which is free.
Figure 5 Install the HP ePrint app in the Google Play Store by tapping the Install button
If you don’t find a printing app in the Google Play Store that works for you (or works at all), another option is to use Google’s Cloud Print service. This service connects your printers to the web so any web-enabled device, including the Tab 2, can access a printer connected to Cloud Print. As of this writing, Google Cloud Print is still in beta test status so be aware that the service’s performance may not match your expectations.
You can access the Google Cloud Print site in the Internet app at http://www.google.com/cloudprint. After you open the site, you’re invited to log in using your Gmail account. After you log in, you can add a printer that’s connected to a laptop or PC, or you can add a Cloud Ready printer that connects directly to the web (see Figure 6).
Figure 6 The Cloud Print Beta home page allows you to add a “classic” printer that’s connected to a computer or a Cloud Ready printer
After you have set up your printing app (or Google Cloud Print), you can print from any app that allows you to print documents. In this article, I’ll show how to use the HP ePrint app to print photos and website pages.
Using the HP ePrint App
First, a caveat: The HP ePrint app only prints to wireless HP printers and not HP printers connected through Bluetooth. If you have a Bluetooth printer that isn’t from Samsung, then you may want to use the aforementioned PrinterShare Mobile Print app or Google Cloud Print. If you have an HP wireless printer, however, you can use the ePrint app to print files on your Tab 2 or website pages easily.
After you install the ePrint app, you can open it from the main home screen by tapping on the ePrint icon. The HP ePrint app screen appears in vertical orientation only, as shown in Figure 7.
Figure 7 The HP ePrint screen shows the wireless printer name at the top of the screen
You can print any file by tapping File in the menu and then opening the file you want to print from the menu on the screen. If you prefer to print photos or a website page instead, you can do so by tapping Photos or Web in the menu, respectively.
After you tap Photos in the menu, the list of photo folders appears in the Photos screen. Tap the folder name that contains the photo(s) you want to print. In the example shown in Figure 8, the Image folder contains five photos that you can print.
Figure 8 Tap a photo in the list to print it
Each photo appears in thumbnail size so you can see all the photos easily. Select one or more photos to print by tapping on the photo. The selected photo has a blue tint and a blue checkmark in the lower-left corner of the photo. When you’re ready to print the photo(s), tap Print in the upper-right corner of the menu. The first photo you selected appears in the Preview screen so you can see what the photo will look like before you print it. Print the photo to the printer by tapping Print that appears in the box near the bottom of the screen (just above the Notification Bar).
Print a website page by tapping Web in the HP ePrint screen menu. In the Web screen, type a web address into the box and then tap the Go key on the keyboard. The web page appears, as shown in Figure 9. Print the page by tapping Print in the upper-right corner of the screen (just below the Status Bar).
Figure 9 Tap Print in the upper-right corner of the page to print the Google home page
The Preview screen opens and displays a copy of the page as it will appear when you print it. Print the page by tapping Print at the bottom of the screen.
Now that you have a good idea about the advantages and disadvantages of printing on the Tab 2, and you’ve read about how you can download and use a printing app for your specific printer, it’s time for you to explore your options and see if printing from your Tab 2 is the best solution for you.