If you have a network where multiple devices and operating systems are used, you might not be able to use the Homegroup for easy network sharing. In such situations, you need to share your folders and devices using different procedures. For example, sharing a printer with the network involves a different and lengthier set of steps. Here's how it works in Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and in Windows 10:
NOTE: Sharing a printer works the same way in Windows 7, in Windows 8.1 and in Windows 10. Thus, for simplicity reasons, in this tutorial, we will use screenshots taken only in Windows 10. Some visuals might be slightly different in previous versions of Windows, but the essentials are the same.
How to share a printer with the network, in Windows
First, open the Devices and Printers panel. There you will see a list with all external devices installed on your PC. Go to the Printers section and select the printer that you want to share.
Right click or tap and hold on it and then go to Printer properties in the right-click menu. If you have a multifunctional printer installed that also works also as a fax or scanner or both, then you may need to choose which of its properties you want to select. Select the printer’s properties. In my case, I use a Canon Pixma MG2400 printer that works only as a printer, so I had only one option: Printer properties.
The printer's Properties window is opened. Depending on the printer model and its drivers, you will see different tabs and options.
Go to the Sharing tab, which is common to all printers.
Here you can share the printer with the entire network. Check the box that says "Share this printer". Then, you can edit the share name of the printer, in case you don't want to use the default name provided by Windows.
Rendering all print jobs on client computers can help keep performance levels up on the computer where the printer is plugged in, especially when big printing jobs are ordered. Check the "Render print jobs on client computers" box if you want this feature enabled.
When done, click or tap OK. The printer is now shared with the other computers on your network, regardless of the operating systems they are using.
Now that your printer is shared with the network, you are done with the easy part. Next, you need to install it on the computers that need to use it. Below you will find some useful recommendations, that can help you further in this endeavor.