PrinterShare: share any printer over the internet


PrinterShare is a free service that allows your computer to share printers with any other computer, given that both are online and running the PrinterShare software.

Runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Imagine the following: computer A has a printer attached to it, while computer B does not. If both are online and running PrinterShare, computer B can send a document to print that is received by A and printed on the attached printer. Now imagine that computer A happens to be in Seattle while B is in Istanbul.

At the core of it this is a document sharing program where instead of a document on your desktop the end result is a hard copy on your printer; (closer to a FAX machine than to email).

Here are more notes on this service:

  • PrinterShare accounts: you will have to create a PrinterShare account for every computer you would like to connect. This requires (a) choosing a login name, and (b) providing a valid email. Other requested info is optional.
  • Encrypted communication: PrinterShare promises that your printed documents will be encrypted as they are sent online and decrypted on the other end. Your document will be transferred through the servers of the PrinterShare service.
  • shareprint diagram How it works: once both computers have the PrinterShare software installed, you can right click and share any connected printers in the main interface. You will also have to “find” the other PrinterShare accounts (you can search by account name) and once that happen’s you’re ready to print. PrinterShare lives in the system tray and will be displayed as a printer in your printers list. Predictably your documents will take slightly longer to print using PrinterShare than if they were printed directly on a connected printer.
  • The printers: you can share any printer including network printers and virtual printers (such as the PDF-generating PDFCreator or PrimoPDF).
  • Differences between the free and paid service: the free service will generate a cover-page that includes an ad. This is an extra page that you can discarded afterwards; your document’s integrity is intact without watermarks or modifications.
  • Connecting: PrinterShare promises to connect “behind any proxy or firewall you may be under”, provided you are able to surf the internet with IE. You will need to unblock the app if your local firewall is blocking it.

The Verdict: I think this is a very interesting app, which is why I am featuring it here, and potentially very useful. It is possible to use PrinterShare, for example, by members of a team of collaborators who may or may not be in the same geographic place, by members of the same household, by people who want to remotely generate hard copies of reports or customer order forms back in remote offices.

Having said that, it is possible that some applications of PrinterShare can be more effectively tackled using file sharing applications/services or even by email. And if the different computers are in the same place/office/households it is certainly preferable and more secure to share printers on a local network rather than involve the internet and PrinterShare servers. Still, an excellent service at what it does and can be tremendously useful.

Version Tested: 1.1.26

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, MacOS, Linux. Internet connection required.

Go to the PrinterShare page download the latest version (approx 1.45 megs).