How to Become a Network Guru
Sharing an Apple Printer on a Mac Network
Apple exited the printer market a few years ago, leaving behind their LaserWriter, StyleWriter, and ImageWriter printer series. Each series had several models, some with network support and some without. You can still share many of the latter kind, however, using a hardware or software network adapter.
Note: This article only addresses Apple-branded printers and Apple-made network sharing options. For more information about other printer sharing options, see the Threemacs.com Printer Sharing site.
Printer Network Options—Are You Network-Ready?
Apple printers have three levels of network support: Ethernet, LocalTalk, and none. So what about your printer?
Ethernet is straightforward. If your printer has an Ethernet port (labeled with the icon below), it can be shared on an Ethernet network. See the Threemacs.com Ethernet Printers page on how to set up an Ethernet-enabled printer.
Specific StyleWriter and LaserWriter models (listed below) support LocalTalk, which means you can connect them directly to a LocalTalk network using a LocalTalk adapter.
LaserWriter: LaserWriter, Plus, IINT, IINTX, IIf, IIg, Pro models, 16/600, 12/640, 8500, 12/600, 12/660, NT, NTR, Personal LW 320, Select 360, 4/600
StyleWriter: 4100, 4500, 6500
If you have one of these LocalTalk-ready printers, see the Threemacs.com LocalTalk Printers page to find out how to set them up. If you want to add a LocalTalk printer to an Ethernet network, see the Threemacs.com LocalTalk-to-Ethernet page.
No Network Support
Some Apple printers that have no built-in network support can be shared via a hardware or software network adapter. If your printer isn’t listed in the following sections, however, it’s not known to have any kind of network support.
Hardware Network Adapters
Apple produced several hardware network adapters, focusing primarily on the StyleWriter range. Farallon (now Proxim) produced the iPrint SL, which adds Ethernet capability to many StyleWriter models. If you have one of these adapters connected to your printer, see the aforementioned LocalTalk or Ethernet pages, since these are now LocalTalk- or Ethernet-ready.
iPrint SL Ethernet adapter: StyleWriter I, II, 1200, 1500, 2200, 2400, 2500
StyleWriter LocalTalk adapter: StyleWriter 1500, 2400, 2500
StyleWriter Ethernet adapter: StyleWriter 1500, 2500, 6500
ImageWriter LocalTalk adapter: ImageWriter II, LQ
These hardware adapters are no longer in production, but you may find one at a parts reseller. See the Threemacs.com Products pages for more information on locating adapters.
Software Network Adapters
There are two Apple software network adapters, the Printer Share extension and the LaserWriter 300 extension. Software network adapters require a “host” Mac, which acts as a bridge between the printer and the network.
On an Ethernet network, your “host” Mac needs an Ethernet connection (for connecting to the network) and a serial port (to connect to the printer). Install the software network adapter on the host Mac and connect the cables as shown.
An Ethernet Serial Printer Setup
On a LocalTalk network, your “host” Mac has one cable connecting its AppleTalk port (typically the printer port) with the network with a LocalTalk adapter and another connecting its other serial port with the printer as shown.
A LocalTalk Serial Printer Setup
Printer Share Extension
The Printer Share extension works with System 6, System 7, and Mac OS 7.6-9, supporting many StyleWriter and ImageWriter models.
StyleWriter: StyleWriter I, II, 1200, 1500, Color Pro, 2200, 2400, 2500
ImageWriter: ImageWriter I, II, LQ
The Printer Share extension comes with your Mac’s system software. Check the Extensions Manager control panel to verify that it’s present and active.
To share the printer, open the Chooser on the host Mac, select the printer icon and then the Setup… button, which opens the sharing window.
Naming Your Shared Printer
Check the “Share this Printer” option, name the printer (add a password if desired), then choose OK and close the Chooser.
To use the shared printer, first install the printing software on the other networked Macs. Open the Chooser on a networked Mac and choose the printer icon to see the list of available printers, which should include the printer you just shared. Select the printer’s name, close the Chooser, and you’re ready to print.
LaserWriter 300 Extension
There are three LaserWriter models you can share on a network using the LaserWriter 300 extension.
LaserWriter: LW Select 300, Personal LW 300, Personal LW LS
Make sure you install the LaserWriter 300 extension on all networked Macs that will use this printer. Open the Chooser on the host Mac, then select the printer icon and the Setup… button to open the configuration window. Name your printer (add a password if desired), check the Share this Printer box, and select OK to close the window. You can now open the Chooser on other Macs on the network, select the LaserWriter 300 icon, and see the printer name you just created. Select the printer name, close the Chooser, and you’re ready to print.
Also in This Series
- Mac to Windows: Troubleshooting the “No Logon Servers Available” File Sharing Error · October 2004
- Using WEP Security on an AirPort Network · July 2004
- Whatever happened to…Threemacs.com? · September 2003
- Clandestine Wireless Networking and MacStumbler · July 2003
- Learning to Share With Others: Sharing Preferences Overview · April 2003
- Serving Files Using FTP in Mac OS X · December 2002
- Switching Between Networks in Mac OS X · November 2002
- The Audio/Video Quadras (660av, 840av) · September 2002
- Thoughts on Apple’s Xserve · July 2002
- Complete Archive