Printer Pro for iPad

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One of the non-AirPrint options for iPad printing.

Office for iPad now has printing but only Airprint which leaves a lot of printers not available to iPad user, especially if they have a Windows computer. One alternative is “Printer Pro”.

Printer Pro for iPad supports printing to network linked printers and printers shared via a Windows or Mac computer. The latter need a free ‘helper’ program available from here.

The setup was very smooth and easy in our tests. A quick test confirmed that Printer Pro Plus could not print directly to the networked printer so we installed the helper program on our Windows desktop computer. Printer Pro Plus ‘saw’ the helper program running on the network, a test page came out fine and the setup was done. Would that more printer setups were as easy.

Note that some documentation talks about a ‘wifi printer’ which seems to imply that the printer needs have wifi connection. That’s not strictly true. Wifi is needed for the iPad to link to the local network but the printer can be either Ethernet (cable) or Wifi connected to the same local network. Any printer connected to a Windows or Mac computer via USB or network etc. should work with Printer Pro via the helper programs.

Printer%20Pro - Printer Pro for iPad

Printing from the iPad is quite easy too. Most apps will have an ‘Open with …’ option for documents, file or email, use that to Open with Printer Pro Plus and it will open. Here’s a Word document, ready to print.

Printer%20Pro%202 - Printer Pro for iPad

There are choices to select the printer (which can include save to PDF), paper size, pages to print, scaling (original, fit to page, fill page), multi-pages on a sheet and copies.

The Printer Pro main screen has good choices for printing directly so you don’t have to use the main app first. Print previously printed documents, contacts and photos. There are on-screen instructions for printing from Mail, Web Pages and other apps detected on your iPad (in our example, Pages and Dropbox).

In the Safari browser you can send a web page to print by changing the http:// link to phttp://…

The most useful option is print from clipboard. Select and copy content from any app that lets you select then switch to Printer Pro, tap on Clipboard and the copied content will appear ready for printing.

Office for iPad

Microsoft Office for iPad only supports AirPrint printing and not the wider range of printing options available. There’s no ‘Open with …’ option in Office for iPad so you can’t directly open Office documents in other apps.

There are two workarounds:

  • Open the document in another app. Use OneDrive to ‘Open with …’ an Office document into Printer Pro.

  • Use the print clipboard feature. Select some or all of the document and copy to the iPad clipboard then switch to Printer Pro and tap on Clipboard.

It would not be Office Watch without a few quibbles . A money saving option would be to choose Black & White/Grayscale vs Color. You can setup different printer profiles to do that but it would be easier to have it on the main print options (Microsoft Office, please take note). Another ‘would be nice’ is the ability to create a print job while offline to be done as soon as the iPad connects to the selected printer (Windows itself can do this).

Overall, Printer Pro is an excellent iPad app and worth the $7 for paid version. It’s certainly cheaper than buying a whole new printer with AirPrint support. Setup is clear, easy and you can test it on your system before buying. For Windows users it’s an excellent choice. Macintosh computer users have some more non-AirPrint options but even then Printer Pro adds more printing options and is well worth the money.

Printer Pro is available from the iTunes store. There’s a free trial version (for testing printer/computer compatibility) and the full paid app (US$6.99). An iPhone version is also available. Languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish.

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