How to Connect a Laptop to a PC Printer

You don't need a desktop computer to use a printer. Even the most basic laptop will connect to a PC printer in a simple and easy way. The process is as simple as connecting both devices together using the right cable. By following just a few simple steps, you can have your printer up and running in no time.

Connecting to a Printer:

Things You’ll Need
  • PC printer
  • Laptop
  • USB cable
  • Or parallel printer cable

Locate your printer cable.

Most printers will come with a cable packaged into the box, though sometimes they won’t.


Make sure you buy the right cable.

Certain printer cables will allow you to connect the printer to your laptop via a USB port, while others will use a parallel port. Check your laptop for the proper connections. USB ports are small, rectangular ports while parallel ports are generally larger and have holes for several small pins to plug into.


Plug one end of the cable into your printer.

This end is typically square in shape and plugs into the appropriately labeled hole on the back of the device. If you have problems locating this port on the back of your printer, consult the diagram in the printer’s manual.


Plug the other end of the cable into your laptop.

If it is a USB cable, then it plugs directly into a USB port. If it is a parallel port cable, then you need to plug the cable into a free parallel port on the back of your laptop and secure it into place using the two tiny screws on each side of the cable.


Install any software that came with the printer.

Certain printers will work as soon as they are plugged in, while others come with a CD with the necessary software and drivers needed to make it work. If your printer came with a CD, then put it into your laptop’s CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive on your laptop and install the necessary software.


Make sure your printer is plugged into a power source.

While some printers can be powered over the USB interface, others will need external power. Plug your printer’s power cord into a wall outlet or power strip.

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Overstock TeamMauraRaynegage Recent comment authors
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what if someone gave me the printer and i don’t have a cd to install the program?

Overstock Team

Hi Raynegage,
Most manufacturers have the drivers you’ll need to install available online. Try searching your printer’s brand and model along with the word “drivers” and you should be able to find what you need.


I just want a small printer that will connect to laptop without any CD or DVD ROM, One I can connect with a USB and use immediately without downloading anything etc. Can you suggest a make and model I can buy anywhere.?

Overstock Team

Hi Maura!
Any modern printer that connects directly via USB should automatically install drivers as long as you have a working internet connection. You won’t need an install CD or DVD. You’d only have to seek out a specific driver from the manufacturer if the automatic installation process fails for some reason. Hope this helps!