Sharing a printer on a network allows multiple users to access the same printer without requiring physical connections to each computer. Ubuntu, a widely used Linux distribution, comes with a built-in graphical tool for printer management. This tool is intuitive and makes printer sharing across the network easy and hassle-free.

Printers can be shared over a local network using the Common UNIX Printing System (CUPS) present in Ubuntu. Once configured, any user within the network, regardless of their operating system, can send print jobs to the shared printer, making it efficient for both home and office environments.

Ubuntu provides a user-friendly interface via its Settings application, where the printer configurations and sharing options can be easily managed. Here, we'll guide you through the process of sharing a printer on your network using this application.

Steps to share a printer on a network in Ubuntu:

  1. Open the Settings application.
  2. Navigate to the Printers section from the sidebar menu.
  3. Select the printer you wish to share from the list of available printers.
  4. Click on the Additional Printer Settings link located below the list.
  5. In the printer configuration window, right-click on your printer and choose Properties.
  6. Navigate to the Policies tab in the properties window.
  7. Check the box labeled Shared to allow sharing of this printer.
  8. Click the Apply button to save changes.
  9. Ensure your firewall settings permit the printer sharing service, usually over port 631.
    $ sudo ufw allow 631/tcp

    Firewall settings are crucial to permit external devices to communicate with the shared printer. Ensure you modify firewall rules with caution.

  10. Inform other network users about the printer's network address, typically in the format hostname:631/printers/printer_name.

Once the above steps are completed, users on your network can add and use the shared printer by entering its network address in their printer configuration settings. Ensure that your printer is connected and powered on when attempting to access it remotely.

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