Printing documents, photos, boarding passes, and more is a common need, but what if you don’t have a printer? Thankfully, with a bit of creativity, you can still print what you need. This guide covers multiple methods for printing without a traditional printer using just your computer, phone, apps, websites, retailers and more. We’ll explain each approach, when it works best, and how to set it up.
Why Print Without a Printer
There’s many reasons you may need to print something but lack access to a printer:
- You’re traveling without a portable printer
- You have an older device that doesn’t support wireless printing
- You want to occasionally print but don’t want to buy a printer
- You’re in a pinch and need something printed right now
Luckily, many online services, apps, retail locations, and even computer settings can help you print documents and more with just your phone or computer. Read on to see all the creative options for printing without a physical printer!
Email Documents to Print Remotely
One of the easiest ways to print is by emailing something to print remotely. Many online print services and retailers with photo printing options offer remote printing through email.
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for a remote print service account
- Compose your document or prepare your image file
- Email the file you want printed as an attachment to the service’s special email address
- Pick up your printout at a nearby store location or have it delivered
This approach allows you to print from anywhere by sending an email. Most services charge a small fee per page or photo. But it’s much more affordable than buying your own printer!
Let’s look at some top services that offer email remote printing:
Sign up for a QuickPrints account on Walgreens.com. You’ll get a custom email address for sending files to print at Walgreens stores nationwide. Printouts are usually ready in an hour.
CVS Photo Email Printing
CVS Pharmacy offers similar email-based printing services. Send documents, posters, canvases, cards, and more to print and collect at your local CVS.
If you have an older HP printer, you may already have an email address linked to it for printing remotely without web-based setup. Check your printer manual or mobile app.
Email printing is one of the most straightforward printer alternatives. Use it to print from any device with email capability.
Print from the Cloud
Cloud-based apps and services enable another easy way to print without a physical printer.
Many cloud storage platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive have built-in printing options. Simply upload a document and select print. The file gets sent to a contracted print services company.
For example, to print from Google Drive:
- Open the app or drive.google.com
- Upload or select your file
- Choose Print
- Enter your delivery details and payment information
- Google handles sending your order to print and delivery
Printing from the cloud saves time. You avoid installing printer software and networking devices. These platforms print many file types too, from PDFs, Microsoft Office documents, images, web pages and more.
Cloud printing services start under $1 per page in most cases. And you’ll have lots of pickup and delivery options.
So next time you need something printed, turn to your favorite cloud storage instead of a printer!
Print from Apps
Specialized mobile apps provide print capabilities too. Apps like Genius Print, PrimoPDF, Adobe Scan and others connect you to printing solutions.
Most app-based printing services work like this:
- Install the print app on your mobile device or computer
- Select or snap a photo of the item to print
- Customize print options like paper type, binding, quantity
- Enter delivery details and pay
- The app handles professional printing and delivery
Key advantages of app printing include:
- Access high-quality printing remotely
- Print photos directly from your phone gallery
- Share documents for others to print
- Save printer driver installs and network setup
- Pay conveniently via app or digital wallet
Leading print apps to check out include:
- Genius Print: Print photos, pdfs, books, social media posts and more. Genius Print handles large format poster printing too.
- PrimoPDF: Turn anything into a printable PDF. PrimoPDF can print, fax, and eSign documents.
- Adobe Scan: Scans items for printing by simply taking a photo in the app. Also converts images to editable docs.
Don’t limit yourself to what your own printer can produce. Mobile print apps connect you to commercial grade printing from any location.
Use Computer Settings to Print
Sometimes you can print right from your computer without emailing or using the cloud. Your computer likely has built-in settings to connect to printers over WiFi or at remote locations.
Follow these steps to set up a “printer” for printing from any app on your computer:
- Go into your computer’s settings or devices panel
- Select Add Printer
- When prompted, pick Add Remote Printer or Add Wireless Printer
- Search for and select a remote printer service or commercial print shop
- Follow setup instructions to register and link your computer to the printing solution
- Print right from apps as you normally would, outputting documents to the connected service instead
For example, Microsoft Windows has settings to add network, wireless, and Bluetooth printers from print shops like FedEx Office. Mac computers can similarly detect eligible AirPrint devices in commercial locations like hotels and print shops.
Utilizing computer connectivity makes the print process fast and seamless. Set it up once, and then you can print every time with just a click or Print hotkey.
Print at Retail Stores and More
When you really need something printed ASAP, retail stores around you likely offer onsite printing solutions:
Office Supply Stores
Staples, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and UPS Stores print documents, posters, manuals, business cards, binding projects, and much more in local stores. Files can be uploaded online for store pickup too. Expect solid print quality with lots of finishing options like binding, cutting, laminating and more.
Retail Photo Printing
In store kiosks at Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, and grocery stores provide quick photo prints. Insert a USB drive or print directly from a mobile app. Self-service kiosks have customizable options like photo books, canvases, mugs, calendars and additional gifts using your photos. Staff can also handle larger poster printing orders.
Hotels and Hostels
Accommodation providers frequently offer printing, faxing, scanning, and copying help for guests and visitors. Even if you’re not staying over, many extend their business center services as a courtesy.
Libraries, Colleges and more
Public resources from libraries to colleges have workstations, copiers, fax machines, printers, and scanners available too. Limits on paper and usage times apply. But when in need of printing, don’t overlook your local shared services.
In-person printing fills gaps when you lack your own printer. Tap into printing options already around you in everyday locations.
Printing without a printer is possible in many ways:
- Email documents to a remote printing service for store pickup
- Print directly from cloud storage platforms
- Turn to specialized mobile print apps
- Connect an app to a commercial printer via computer settings
- Visit retail stores, hotels, libraries and more for onsite printing
The next time you need a physical copy of something, explore these printer alternatives using just your devices and web access. Avoid buying an expensive printer for occasional use. And conveniently print from anywhere, anytime at affordable rates.
Frequently Asked Questions About Printing Without a Printer
What apps let you print without a printer?
Genius Print, Primo PDF, the Microsoft Print to PDF app, and the Adobe Scan app all enable printing files without needing your own printer.
Is it possible to print Word documents without a printer?
Yes, Word docs can be printed without a printer through cloud apps like Google Drive or Dropbox or by emailing the file to print remotely. Converting the file to PDF format also opens up more printing options.
Can iPhone print without AirPrint?
iPhones can print to non-AirPrint commercial printers by emailing a file to print or using a third-party app connected to a printing service. For example, the Genius Print app for iPhone sends docs to print at FedEx Office from your phone.
Where is the cheapest place to print documents without a printer?
Libraries, colleges, and hotel business centers often offer the most budget-friendly printing, sometimes even free. Office supply stores frequently run print promotions also for affordable document printing.
Can Walgreens print documents from USB?
Yes, Walgreens Photo departments have self-service kiosks that print files from USB drives. Media types supported include JPG, TIFF, BMP, GIF, PNG, and PDF documents.
Does Staples allow you to send documents to print online?
Staples Print & Marketing Services allow uploading files on Staples.com for later pickup instore. Document types include PDF, DOC/DOCX, PPT, JPG, PNG, and many more.
Can you print PDF files at FedEx Office?
FedEx Office stores print PDF documents from USB drives, cloud files, email attachments, and online uploads. Size limits, paper options, binding, lamination and more customization is available.
Does Office Depot print documents not purchased there?
Yes, Office Depot provides printing, copying, faxing, scanning, and more services for non-purchased documents. Simply visit the Print & Copy Center in store with your files on a USB flash drive, mobile device, or cloud link.
How do I print photos from Google Photos without a printer?
Use the Google Photos “Order prints” option to send photos to print at Walgreens stores. Or connect a Google Drive account in the Walgreen QuickPrints web portal to print photos directly from Google Photos online.
Can you print Word documents from Google Drive?
Yes, Google Drive supports printing Word docs, Excel sheets, PDF files and more cloud-based documents. On desktop and mobile apps, select Print after uploading the files you want professionally printed.
A functioning printer isn’t mandatory for printing important docs or special photos anymore. Today’s apps, websites, and retail services make it simple and affordable to print from afar.
Review the main options covered based on your common print needs:
- Remotely print individual documents you email as attachments
- Harness the cloud for bulk print jobs or special binding requests
- Install a mobile app for spontaneous photo printing and sharing
- Connect computers to commercial printing networks for regular access
- Visit local stores in a pinch that support walk-in printing
With this handy guide, you can feel confident printing what you need from any device. Simply utilize the abundant digital resources and printing access points available in everyday life rather than relying solely on owning your own printer.