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3 ways to print from your iPad

AirPrint is the easiest way to print from an iPad, but there are other options.

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There are several ways you can use your iPad to print out documents.

Sarah Tew/CNET

No matter how hard you try to avoid it, especially if you're one of the many people who use their iPad for work or school, you'll eventually want to print something out. Fortunately, the iPad printing situation is a lot better than it used to be. An Apple-designed system, AirPrint, works if you have the right printer -- but even if you don't, we've got a couple of workarounds.

Read more: Best iPad for 2021

AirPrint

The easiest way to print from any iOS device, including an iPad, is to use a printer that supports AirPrint. AirPrint is a technology that printer-makers can integrate into their devices, so you don't need to install additional drivers to make your iPad "talk" to the printer.

Today, many printers come AirPrint-ready. To check if you have an AirPrint printer, or to find one to buy, check out Apple's list here. To print a document, web page, email or anything else from your iPad, do this:

1. Connect your iPad and your printer to the same Wi-Fi network.

2. Find the document, web page or email you want to print.

3. Click the share button (usually at the top or bottom of the screen) and select Print.

4. The printer name should appear. If you have more than one AirPrint printer on your network, select the desired one from the list that appears.

AirPrint alternatives

There are several software and cloud-based options if you don't have an AirPrint printer on your network. Google Cloud Print was shut down last year, but Printopia is a popular app alternative that still works. Install the software on your MacOS computer and it allows you to print over Wi-Fi by using your Mac as a middleman, routing the file from the iPad to the printer. The handy thing is that there's no software needed for the iPad -- just install the MacOS software and select your printer to share during the setup process.

Read more: With two new models, which iPad should you buy now?

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Printopia will use your Mac as a middleman between the iPad and a printer.

Joseph Kaminski/CNET

There are other programs that achieve the same thing, but this is the one we've successfully tested in our lab. It's free to try and $20 to buy.

Read more: Best printers of 2021

Proprietary manufacturer app

If your printer doesn't support AirPrint, or you want greater granular control, see if your printer has its own iOS app. Brands such as HP and Lexmark have standalone apps to let you print directly from your iPad or iPhone. HP's is the HP Smart app; Brother has the Brother Mobile Connect; Canon's is the Canon Print Inkjet app; and Epson's is the Epson iPrint. Note that while this guide is primarily aimed at iPad users, these apps will also work with other iOS devices such as the iPhone.

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Putting an iPad inside of a printer will not print out your documents, but the steps in this guide will.

Sarah Tew/CNET