With the release of iOS 4.2 came AirPrint. AirPrint is a plugin that app developers can use to print directly from an iPad to a wireless/LAN printer. It’s a great idea, and when I have an email on my iPad I’d love to print I won’t have to open up my computer.
One problem though: barely any printers are supported. So this leaves most of us in the dust for printing from an iPad.
But here comes Printopia. Printopia is a system preference pane that turns your Mac into an AirPrint server. This allows you to print from your iPad to any printer connected to your computer, including USB printers.
Here’s a video that I made showing how it works.
If you look closely on the screen where I choose the printer, you’ll probably notice that it says “Send to Mac.” Select this printer, and your document will instantly show up in PDF format on your screen, and you will find a PDF file under Documents/Printopia of what you printed. This can be extremely convenient if you have written a notebook on your iPad when at a conference/event, then you can quickly offload all of the pages in a single PDF document onto your computer. If you print to “Send to Dropbox,” the same thing will happen but the PDF will end up in your dropbox. (You need to have Dropbox installed on your Mac first.)
Printopia is only available for Mac and will cost you $10. There’s a full featured 7 day free trial, but for this quality and simplicity for something so functional, I think it’s work it.