Business Tech: Save Time by Printing Remotely from Your Smartphone

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The smartphone has become indispensable to the modern business person. Thanks to evolving technology, the current generation of Smartphones offers the functions once held by a laptop.

The only thing missing at your fingertips is a printer function. Wouldn't it be great to print proposals and contracts from your phone and have them ready once you get back to the office? No more wasting time waiting to print something. You can print on the go and have it ready upon arrival. Well, thanks to new services available in the cloud (i.e. online) and on your smartphone, you now have mobile printing capability.

The two best, and free, methods for remote Smartphone printing are through Dropbox and Google Cloud. With just a few minutes of preparation and setup, you will be good to print from anywhere and anytime.

Getting Started

The first thing you'll need to do is sign up for a Dropbox or Google account. Both companies offer free basic membership and cloud storage. Dropbox offers 2GB of free storage, while Google offers 5GB. Should your workflow require more online storage, both services offers upgrade options at varying prices.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud service that allows you to store files online for remote access/sharing. Through Dropbox, you can setup your PC and printer to allow for printing from your smartphone.

1. Make sure Dropbox is installed and running on the computer that is connected to the printer.

2. Download the Dropbox app for your smartphone. Versions exist for all major brands (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc.).

3. Download the eprint.zip file by clicking here. Double click the eprint.vbs file to install the eprint file. This file will add a sub-folder to your Dropbox called PrintQueue. All mobile print jobs will reside in this folder for printing. Once printed, the files will be archived in a separate sub-folder called Logs. Please note: vbs files are Windows based. For Mac or Linux workarounds, Google "vbs file" and Mac or Linux (depending on your preferred operating system).

4. Everything is now configured for mobile printing. Upload a file through the Dropbox app and your printer should print the file.

Should you have any issues, visit this page for some simple troubleshooting advice.

Google Cloud Printing

Google offers free mobile printing via its cloud printing service. The simplest way to use this service is to have a PC with the Google Chrome browser, a working internet connection, a Google account and a working printer.

1. Ensure printer is on and working and print out a test page to check whether the printer's ink or toner cartridge is working properly.

2. In the Chrome browser, select the configure menu (located to the right of the address bar). Then select settings. In the setting menu, locate advanced settings. Scrolling down will reveal the Google Cloud Print selection. Select add printers and add your preferred printer.

3. Sign in with your Google account. Use the same account linked to your Smartphone or Android device.

4. Complete a test print. Sign in with your Google account and select Google Drive/Documents. Find the document to print, choose Google Cloud Print and select your printer. Click the print button to print the chosen document.

Google Cloud Print supports a variety of apps in case you are using something other than Android. For a list of supported apps, visit this page.

Dropbox and Google Cloud Print are just two mobile printing options available to the real estate agent needing a remote printing option. There are other mobile printing services available, but they have varying costs and complexity involved. Dropbox and Google Cloud Print are based on reliable platforms, so you can expect a certain level of polish and ease of use.

Patrick Barnes is a tech consultant and blogger who enjoys writing articles that help business people work more efficiently. Patrick is currently working as a consultant for InkStation.com.au, a leading Australian online retailer of ink and toner cartridges. When he's not working or writing, Patrick enjoys reading non-fiction, cycling and hiking. 

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