All my photos are managed in Lightroom 4.4 running under Windows 7 64-bits which has a Print module. Only, my computer with Lightroom does not have a printer anymore and I want to print this on another computer which is not in the same network. It's not mine either so I cannot install Lightoom there.

What are the pros and cons of the different ways of printing these images?

Please consider the following ways and other ones I may have missed:

  • Copying the original image, assuming it is was not manipulated of course.
  • Exporting the image for Print without resizing.
  • Exporting the image for Print with resizing.
  • Printing to PDF
  • Printing to Print-to-File print driver.
  • \$\begingroup\$ So you do not have a printer on the machine that has lightroom. Are you asking what is the best method for sending images to a print lab? Where are you planing to print? \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 20:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ No. I want to print these images an a printer connected to another computer which does not have Lightroom installed. For a print lab I usually Export for Printing at the requested resolution but this may apply too. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 20:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are these machines on the same network, or do you have to copy the files via USB drive? \$\endgroup\$
    – publicRavi
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 20:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not on the same network directly but one has an FTP server, so I do not have to go through a drive. Although it matters little since I have 1 TB eSATA drives to move large files quickly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 1:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ From memory the license for Lightroom allows you to install it on two computers, as long as you are only ever using it on one at a time, would installing on the second computer and using the export as catalog feature to get the images you want to print onto the second computer be a workable solution? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 6:39

3 Answers 3


I would suggest networking the printer on the other computer. If you have a network between the PCs, it should be a simple matter to share the printer on the computer it is attached to, install the printer on the PC with Lightroom and then print to the printer. This will give the benefit of allowing you to use locally installed drivers and communicate with the printer through the remote PC.

It takes a little more setup up front, but will produce the highest quality and easiest results in the long run since after the initial setup, you don't have to do anything special for any future use.

If you are on Windows, you should be able to right click on the printer and choose to share it. Give it a name and then when installing the printer on the other computer, choose that it is a Network device and Windows should detect the shared printer.

Update: Since I see now that they are not networked, the best option would probably be to print to file through the print driver for the printer you are going to print on. That way Lightroom and the print driver can still communicate and work out the best approach. This is effectively what a network printer ends up doing, just without the middle part of sending the data to the printer being automated.

  • Copying the original image will likely provide the highest print fidelity, but it assumes the other computer has software which can open and print the image.
    • Exporting the image for Print without resizing and Exporting the image for Print with resizing are subclasses of this case.
  • Printing to Print-to-File print driver may prove to be second in terms of print fidelity, but it will probably require more trial and error to get it working correctly. As an aside, this solution will be specific to the printer. If you send this file to a different printer, results may be terrible.
  • Printing to PDF would probably be my first choice since PDF is highly portable, so results will be very consistent across different printers.

Try Google Cloud Print. This means you need to upload the images AND download them which might be a hassle if especially upload bandwidth is not great. But you will be able to print the images as if the printer was connected to your machine physically without any conversions of the image or any loss of quality.

Another option would be to network the two computers as many have suggested. If both machines have access to the internet, connect them with LogMeIn Hamachi (it is free for a few computers). Once connected, Remote Desktop into the machine with printer from your own machine, transfer the original file there again using Remote Desktop and then print. I am assuming both machines are windows and that you can Remote Desktop into the machine with printer.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting that my former employer would have a solution for remote printing. It does not seem like Lightroom is supported though so I would be back to my original question. Which is the best export for printing? Hopefully Chrome will understand that format too since it is required for Cloud Print as far as I can tell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 17:31

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