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Print Mapping: What It Is and How to Use It (Reliably)

Posted by Chris Poole on December 5th, 2018

Printer mapping, as most folks who've spent any time in IT will be able to tell you, is the process by which a user or admin associates a client computer with a network printer to give that client print capabilities. As a term, printer (or print) mapping tends to be used interchangeably with printer installation—although, if we're being pedantic, mapping is only one common form of installation.

In conventional print environments, regardless of the operating system that the client is running, print mapping is often a multi-step procedure that involves identifying the desired printer beforehand, diving into the correct category in the system settings, adding the printer from a list or by manually entering its network information and finally selecting the correct print driver.

The pitfalls of print mapping should be obvious. Despite the ubiquity of technology in every aspect of our lives and the long history of computer-based printing, the average end user is unlikely to know how to map a printer without a step-by-step guide or some hand-holding from technical support. If the end user misidentifies the printer or its driver, it can cause printing problems such as printing to the wrong printer or an inability to print altogether. Instead, the burden typically falls on IT to perform printer mapping, which means valuable time is wasted on routine print management.

At PrinterLogic, our philosophy is that the most effective solution is to empower the end user by making print mapping a much simpler and far more intuitive process. If the end user can perform self-service installations without having to memorize the detailed steps of how to map a printer, that removes IT from the equation and enables the end user to see quick and satisfying results.

We achieve this end-user empowerment through a unique self-service printer installation portal, which enables users of almost any technological skill level to identify and install nearby printers with a single click. Printer mapping becomes as simple as visiting a webpage and clicking on a printer icon.

Using the PrinterLogic self-service portal
The PrinterLogic self-service printer installation portal is easy for anyone—even brand-new employees—to access, navigate and understand. On Windows, for example, the user begins by simply left-clicking on the PrinterLogic client icon in the system tray. This brings up an internal webpage (which is also accessible directly by URL) in the default web browser that shows a location tree in a left-hand pane as well as a floor plan map in the main window. In large organizations, the self-service portal can be configured to open automatically to a user’s exact location. Using the tree, the user can then quickly drill down to their specific floor to view a map of their actual floor with physical printers denoted by corresponding color or monochrome icons. Clicking on an icon will install both the printer and print driver. It's about as close as you can get to GPS for print mapping.

In addition to the comprehensible icons, the portal also shows a list of available printers with descriptive names. The names of the print drivers, if any, are indicated alongside the names of the printers. And in the event that IT hasn't uploaded or updated the custom floor plan maps for a particular location, that's okay. The list of available printers will still appear, and users can click on these list items to install their desired printer and the associated print driver.

Later, if the user needs to carry out print mapping again for a new or different printer, he or she can access the self-service portal again using any of the methods described above. This, in addition to PrinterLogic’s powerful location-based deployments, is especially useful for mobile employees who hop from location to location and need instant access to printers wherever they go. It's also useful for the help desk, as they no longer have to field urgent printer-mapping requests.

Simple, reliable print mapping and print tracking
This convenient and consistent printer-mapping experience is managed through PrinterLogic's centralized administrative console, where admins can manage profiles and oversee print tracking across the organization. Here they can upload or change floor plan maps, specify which printers can print in color, associate printers with the correct print drivers for automatic installs, and customize incidental but important portal settings like branding with the company logo.

As with PrinterLogic's print-management solution in general, a little setup goes a long way. Uploading current floor plan maps, indicating color printers through the respective icons and pairing printers with the right default print drivers from the administrative backend all but eliminates the potential for the kinds of time-consuming, hard-to-troubleshoot mistakes that end users invariably make when print mapping in traditional print environments. When the long, convoluted process of how to map a printer is replaced with a single click, IT and the end user both benefit.

That's how PrinterLogic's self-service portal streamlines the printer-mapping experience for everyone in the organization. The proven result is a time- and cost-saving reduction in calls to the help desk, as organizations like Georgia System Operations Corporation and New Pig Corporation discovered. Those small but cumulative boosts to productivity are what help make PrinterLogic such a cost-effective print-management solution.

To test PrinterLogic's streamlined printer-mapping experience and powerful print-tracking features in your own organization, sign up for a free 30-day demo today. With PrinterLogic's self-service installation portal, how to map a printer will no longer be a question that causes your help-desk staff to despair.

Chris Poole
Chris Poole
Chris is a Product Manager at PrinterLogic and focuses on the end-user experience and add-on modules. He has degrees in mechanical engineering and accounting, and has owned several small businesses. Chris organizes IT customer requirements and funnels them to the development team for use in future software releases. His goal is improving PrinterLogic’s solution to help IT be more effective and to ensure a smooth end-user printing experience.

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