When using your Mac the default printer is the one selected when the Print dialog opens. If there’s “No printer selected” in the Print dialog, you’ll need to add a new printer. Thankfully, it’s easy to add a Wi-Fi or network printer.
If your Mac and printer are already connected to the same Wi-Fi network, choose File > Print, click the Printer pop-up menu, choose Nearby Printers or Printer & Scanner preferences, then choose your printer. If your printer isn’t available, you can add it. Here’s how:
- Update your software (if you don’t have an AirPrint printer): Choose Apple menu > App Store, click Updates, then install any software updates listed. Even if no updates appear, this ensures that macOS has the latest information about printer software it can download from Apple. If you don’t do this, you may see a message that software isn’t available when you connect your printer.
- If you have an AirPrint printer, you don’t need to check for software updates.
- Prepare your printer: Use the instructions that came with your printer to unpack the printer, install ink or toner, and add paper. Turn on the printer and make sure it’s not displaying any errors.
- Connect your printer: Follow the instructions that came with the printer to connect it to the network.
- If you have a Wi-Fi printer, you might need to connect the printer to your Mac with a USB cable to set up Wi-Fi printing. After connecting the printer to your Mac, install the Mac software that came with the printer and use the printer’s setup assistant to connect the printer to your Wi-Fi network. After setting up, you can disconnect the cable from your printer and Mac and the printer should remain connected to the Wi-Fi network.
- Add the printer to your list of available printers: Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Printers & Scanners. If you don’t see your printer listed on the left, click the Add button “+” at the bottom of the list. A dialog appears listing printers on your local network. It may take a minute or two for your printer to appear. Select your printer when it appears in the list, then click Add. If you see a message prompting you to download new software, make sure to download and install it.
(This how-to is based on my experiences and info on Apple's support pages — where the images sometimes come from.)