How to Connect a Wireless Printer with a USB Cable

When you buy a wireless printer, it is expected that you’re going to print wirelessly without any need for wires. No USB cables or no ethernet cables involved. Just a simple click on the Print button and voila! The print job comes out without any wired connection between your computer and the printer.

It’s supposed to be always the case. Wireless printers come with instructions on how to set it up wirelessly and how to use it, well, wirelessly. Perhaps, the only cable you’ll expect is the one that goes to the power outlet. Unless some wireless charging technology like the ones in newer mobile phones becomes available with printing or imaging devices. Nonetheless, that’s going to be sometime in the future.

While it’s easy, and certainly logical, to set up and print wirelessly using a wireless printer. Even converting a USB printer to print wirelessly has a lot of convenient hacks available to make it work. Connecting a wireless printer with a USB cable may seem like an odd idea.

For one: it defeats the purpose of having a wireless printer. Two: why in the world would you want to connect a wireless printer with a USB? For what purpose? It would seem more logical to buy a cheaper USB printer than throwing away a couple of hundreds of dollars for a wireless printer that you’re going to connect with USB cable anyhow.

Whatever the case may be, connecting a wireless printer with a USB is NOT impossible. While it may not make sense right away the first time you hear it, but it does. Even in our modernly wireless world today, wireless devices remain to come and require wired connection. In fact, that’s true to most wireless devices that exist today.

A wireless charger will still need to have a wired power cable to connect to the main outlet before it can wirelessly charge a mobile phone. Same is true with wireless printers. Wireless printers come with a power port, some with a USB port, and some with an ethernet port. These ports allow you to plug in a cable to connect to, and from, something.

Connecting a wireless printer with a USB cable will have some requirements. First, the printer must have a USB port. Otherwise, it will only be able to connect with other methods, ie: LAN or ethernet cable. There are what’s called a purely wireless ONLY printer. In that case, it will be a little difficult to connect to a USB cable without extreme modification of its build and configuration.

As long as the printer has a USB port on it, then it’s easy to connect the printer with a USB cable for whatever purposes it may serve. If you want to know how to connect a USB cable to a wireless printer, here’s how:

Connecting a wireless printer with a USB cable in Windows

  1. Place your printer near your computer. As long as the USB cable’s length allows for it, set the printer up and arrange it close to the computer so that the cable can be connected with both devices without tension.
  2. Plug the power cable of the wireless printer to the power outlet. Do the same with your computer.
  3. Turn the power on the printer and the computer.
  4. Plug the USB cable to both the wireless printer’s USB port and the computer’s USB port.
  5. Depending on the brand and model of your wireless printer, a printer setup auto-run file may pop-up on your computer screen. With this, you can go through the printer setup wizard of the wireless printer’s brand to help you go through an easier way of setting up your printer to the computer.
  6. If there’s no auto-run pop-up screen appears, you can navigate to the Windows icon on your computer that’s located at the bottom corner of your desktop screen.
  7. Find the Settings icon and click on it. It’s located at the lower-left side, right above the Power icon. It will take you to the Settings window.
  8. Find the Devices icon inside the Settings window. Click on Devices.
  9. Click Printers and Scanners at the left pane of the Devices window and then click Add a printer or scanner.
  10. The printer’s name will show up under Add a printer or scanner button. It’s typically a combination of the printer’s manufacturer and its model name and/or model number.
  11. If you don’t see the name of your wireless printer under the Add a printer or scanner button, click the option, “The printer that I want isn’t listed”, and go through the steps in that wizard dialog box. Depending on the situation or the printer’s setup requirements, you may need to use an install CD, install file from a USB, or download an install setup file from the web.

Your wireless printer will now be connected to the computer and the setup will be complete. You can now print to the wireless printer without setting it up for a wireless connection with your computer. Just make sure both the printer and the computer remain connected with the USB cable.

Connecting a wireless printer with a USB cable in Mac

  1. Place your printer near your Mac. As long as the USB cable’s length allows for it, set the printer up and arrange it close to your Mac so that the cable can be connected with both devices without tension.
  2. Plug the power cable of the wireless printer to the power outlet. Do the same with your Mac device.
  3. Turn the power on the printer and the Mac device. Always make sure that the necessary updates to your Mac are installed.
  4. Plug the USB cable to both the wireless printer’s USB port and the Mac’s USB port. If your Mac doesn’t have a traditional USB port, you may need to use a USB-C to USB adapter.
  5. If the wireless printer is compatible with the Mac, an on-screen install window will show up. Click the Install button and follow the instructions and on-screen prompts.

In some cases, the printer will be auto-installed immediately without going through the prompts. In other cases, you’ll also be prompted to click the Download & Install button to download and install the latest drivers and install setup for the wireless printer. You can now use your wireless printer with your Mac via a USB cable to print.

Conclusion

Connecting a wireless printer with a USB cable to set up a printer and/or print is not entirely difficult or impossible. The USB connection is one way for using your wireless printer if you don’t want to go through the tricky wireless setup process.