The easiest way to connect a printer to a mac is to use the USB cable to plug the printer into the computer. For most printers, that’s all you have to do. There’s no need to use the CD that came with the printer – OS X already comes ready to work with printers.
If your printer is one of the following brands: Brother, Canon, Epson, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Lexmark, Ricoh, Samsung, Xerox, Fuji-Xerox then as long as your printer is not too old, and as long as your Apple system software is kept up to date, you should be right. You don’t need to ‘install drivers’ or do anything tricky like that. Just plug it in and go. (There’s a list of all Mac-friendly printers here.)
To test your printer, just press Apple-P from any program, and it should come up with a window where you can choose your printer and print.
You can try Apple-P not and it should print this page!
Now, if you’d prefer not to connect with the USB cable, for example you prefer to use WiFi or ethernet, then you’ll need to follow the instructions that came with the printer because it changes with every printer and is a bit more complicated. The advantage is that you can then print from other computers to that printer as well, even when your main computer is switched off.
But good old USB is simple and easy. The only disadvantage is that you can’t print to that printer from other computers when your main computer is off.