Apple has produced some of the finest hardware products that the world has ever seen, with the Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod having quickly become a source of delight for millions of users. In fact, my wife calls her Apple iPad her toy, but I am prone to believe that she loves it almost as much as she loves our children. One of the only complaints I have heard her express is her disappointment in being unable to print articles directly from the tablet. To resolve the problem, I had considered buying a new printer that supports AirPrint, but I was reluctant to replace my newly acquired Canon all-in-one (purchased in March, 2011).

It seems, however, that my wife isn’t the only one who found this particular issue frustrating; just before the holiday season, I stumbled upon the Australian Media Center Community, where this problem was discussed. Within the forum, two writers mentioned a software product called FingerPrint, indicating that FingerPrint allowed a user to print from their Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod using a Windows computer attached to a network. Fortunately, for me, they included a link to the software. However, with the holidays fast approaching, I put this idea on the back burner.

Then, with all of the holiday hoopla, it wasn’t until last weekend that I found the note reminding me to take a look at the site to see if FingerPrint might actually work. Once on the site, I discovered that the software comes in two versions: one for PC and one for Mac, with a free, seven-day trial. I thought this was definitely a bonus, since I always prefer to have the ability to download a piece of software and see how well it works before I plunk down my hard-earned cash.

So, why was I even interested in trying this particular software when there are so many other options on the market? As I have previously said, my wife was struggling with having to forward everything from her tablet to a PC in order to get it to print, and I had already tried some of the other various products out there, such as Google Cloud Print. However, while my Google Cr-48 works perfectly with Google Cloud Print, I found to my dismay that no matter what I tried on the iPad, it just would not sync up with the Google Cloud Print program. In addition, I have tried installing software for my Canon printer that was alleged to support iPrint, but even this software limited me to printing photographs. While these two experiences had given me reason for pause, I wasn’t about to give up; I continued to experiment with other free applications from the iTunes store, but once again was doomed to failure. I finally determined that unless I broke down and purchased an HP-supported printer or one that supported HP ePrint, I needed another option. As I struggled onward, trying to find a solution to my problem while still not wanting to bite the bullet and purchase yet another printer, I opted to give one more software program a shot. That program was FingerPrint.

I must admit that I had little hope this software would work where others had failed, but I downloaded a copy and installed it on my laptop computer running Windows 7 Ultimate with SP/1. At the time, I was pleased to note that FingerPrint scanned my network and correctly found both my Canon MG5200 and HP LaserJet 1100 printers without any hangups or other issues.

I found the software to be easy to use and was pleased to find that I was provided with the option to turn off or turn on a variety of features if I did or didn’t desire them to function. As an example, I could turn off my Canon color printer and leave the HP LaserJet functioning. However, while there were several other options that a user might choose to employ, I chose to turn off everything except the ability to print from my Canon MG5200 and HP LaserJet 1100, which I set as the default printers for the Apple iPad. So would the FingerPrint software print from my Apple iPad as the company advertises?

First, note that our Apple iPad uses Safari as its primary Internet browser. The user must first find the Internet page from which they wish to print.

Once the site is confirmed, you can bring up the print command by clicking on the bookmark icon.

At the bottom of this drop-down menu, you will find the Print command key. Click on the Print command and your printers should show up. For me, this meant that the software listed both my Canon MG5200 and HP LaserJet 1100.

I also installed the program on my grandson’s Apple iPod where I also found that, once installed, it registered both the Canon MG5200 and HP LaserJet 1100 working without any issues.

To test the new software on both devices, I printed the front page for LockerGnome (from both printers) without a problem. I therefore concluded that FingerPrint does function as the software developer promises and, at a cost of $9.99 for a full license, I thought it was a marvelous deal.

Here is what I would recommend. I would first try the free software that your printer company offers to see how it works for you. In my case, Canon’s built-in software only offers the ability to print photos, so if this is all you need to print, then Canon’s free software will work for you. However, once again, in my case my wife wanted to be able to print webpages, emails, and other items that interested her, so spending $9.99 in lieu of buying a new printer made sense for me.

As cheap as it is, I would give these free options a try before purchasing the FingerPrint software. The list is in alphabetical order and not by preference of printer brands.

Free trial of FingerPrint for PC and Mac

Australian Media Center Community forum

Comments always welcome.