Use Dropbox to Print from Anywhere

This is kind of a neat trick …

Maybe you have experienced similar situations. You’re working with your netbook or browsing the Internet via your mobile phone and want to print information. Problem is, the printer is not connected to the device you are currently working with. You could send the documents that you want to print to the computer the printer is connected to, or maybe connect the printer to the device if possible, but both methods are not really comfortable.

A better solution in many cases is to use Dropbox to send the documents to the computer that is connected to the printer.

All you need is a Dropbox connection on the device and the computer that is connected to the printer. It basically works by running a script on the computer with printer that will monitor one Dropbox folder whenever the script is running.

Documents that are copied into the folder will be automatically added to the print queue and printed so that it is possible to print while you are on the road or working with another computer.

dropbox printer

Executing the eprint.vbs script creates the folder Printqueue in the Dropbox folder.

  • Step 1: Make sure that you have Dropbox on the computer that is connected to the printer.
  • Step 2: To send print jobs from your mobile device to the printer, you have two options.

    You can download a Dropbox app on your mobile phone — they have apps for BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Nokia, webOS (Palm), and Android based phones.
    Alternatively, you can send files from your mobile phone to Dropbox using email. Just connect your Dropbox account with Habilis and they’ll give you a unique email address – any files or attachments sent to this address will automatically appear in your Dropbox folder.

  • Step 3: Download this zip file* and double-click the eprint.vbs file (see the source code). The script will create a sub-folder inside your main Dropbox folder called PrintQueue where all the mobile print jobs will queue up and another sub-folder called logs where all the completed jobs will be archived.

    [*] VBS scripts are Windows-only but there are workarounds for Mac OS X and Linux as well.

  • Step 4: You are now all set to print files from our mobile phone. Just send a test file from your mobile phone to that secret email address, or upload it through the Dropbox mobile app, and your printer will turn it into a hard copy almost instantly.

    The utility can also handle multiple files in one go and it should print almost all file formats for which you have an associated application on the computer. If you would like to shut down the eprint utility, launch Windows task manager and end the “wscript.exe” process from the list.


How do you handle print jobs on devices that have no direct printer connection?

© Martin for gHacks Technology News, 2011. | Permalink | Add to, digg, facebook, reddit, twitter
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