How to install a printer in Ubuntu

Today I was listening to the podcast “Linux for the rest of us”  and this episode was a feedback episode where the guys answered some of the feedback they had received via email.

One of the questions raised was printing within Linux and why does it have to be so difficult to set up printers.

Whilst it can be a little bit hit and miss when it comes to finding compatible printers the response from one of the hosts was that if you are serious about printing in Linux then you have to ditch Ubuntu and move over to openSUSE.

The reason this statement was made was that apparently in openSUSE you just plug in your USB printer and the printer automatically sets itself up without have to install it.

Now whilst I think this is a good feature and obviously very useful, I don’t think you should switch your entire distribution based on the fact that you may have to set up a printer once.

To be honest when I tried openSUSE out as part of a review for my other blog ( there were enough issues with it to negate the benefits of a printer that may or may not be automatically detected.

I think that the people who will have the biggest issues when setting up a printer are the people who are moving over from Windows with a very old printer. Most modern printers seem to be supported.

The first thing you should do is visit This page provides a list of links which will show you the most compatible printers for Ubuntu.

Now I didn’t follow my own advice when buying my printer. I don’t print very often and when I do it is usually a letter, a poster to say that my cat has run off again or some photos of my kids to send to my parents.

For years I have gone without a printer. I found it cheaper and easier to either print out at work, go to the local library or to go to the supermarket. (The supermarket prints photos). I maintain that on average it is probably still cheaper to print at the local library or the supermarket.

Sometimes though it is handy to have a printer at home and when I saw that my local supermarket was selling a printer for £25 I looked to see how much the print cartridges were.

hpdeskjet2510Generally I have found that the rule of thumb is that the lower the price of the printer, the higher the price of the cartridge. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to see that the cartridges were also reasonably priced.

£25 was actually a bargain because on Amazon the same printer is £37.

Now I can’t guarantee you will have the same experience in Ubuntu with any other printer bit with the HP deskjet 2510 you will be up and running in no time.

The HP Deskjet 2510 comprises a scanner, copier and printer.


Ok so how do you install a printer in Ubuntu.

  1. Connect the printer to the computer using a USB cable.
  2. Press the super key and start to type the word “printer”
  3. Click on the printers symbol
  4. Click Add
  5. Choose the printer
  6. Click forward
  7. Click apply
  8. Choose whether to print a test page.

setupprinter1 setupprinter2 setupprinters3 setupprinters4 setupprinters5


That was fairly easy wasn’t it? Ok so this hasn’t covered network printing or connecting to Windows printers via Samba. This is a straightforward guide for people who maybe do casual printing. It also proves a point that you don’t have to jump to openSUSE just because it automatically finds printers.

Thankyou for reading.

1 comment for “How to install a printer in Ubuntu

  1. N Burton
    August 3, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    I’m installing Mint 15 xfce, needed a printout of the hdd mounts (cat /proc/mounts) from my network printer on the top floor of my house. At “Add” printer I inserted the printer network address, came back with the name of the printer immediately, I think it said it was looking for a driver but it was so quick, I then hit “print” and it was done.
    As you said, doesn’t have to be difficult. HP seem good at supporting Linux, I have a networked “HP Photosmart B110″

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