CUPS Printing Tips For GNU/Linux & Unix

This page provides a brief introduction to using the CUPS printing system; full user documentation can be found at These instructions assume you are using a cups client for printing; if you are running CSAIL Debian this is what you have.

XFCE Printing Manager

XFCE is the default display environment for CSAIL Ubuntu, and includes an interface for accessing the CUPS server. You can access the Print manager via: XFCE Menu (the little white mouse head on blue circle icon in the upper left) -> Settings (along the right of the drop-down panel) -> Printers (in the left part of the panel; you'll need to scroll down). From here, you can see all available printers, and set your default printer. To set the default, right click your closest printer, and select "Set As Default". Following that, select the "Set as my personal default printer" radio button. The Printers window looks like the following:


Command Line options

CUPS allows you to access all of the printer features on the command line by specifying options in the form
-o <option>=<value>
, multiple option specification are possible but each requires its own
. You can also save common settings as personal queue instances

Common Options

action syntax notesSorted ascending
no banner -o job-sheets=none
print banner -o job-sheets=standard
simplex -o sides=one-sided
duplex -o sides=two-sided-long-edge this is the default
N up printing -o number-up=<N> where N=[1,2,4,6,9,16]

More standard options are shown at in the online documentation on our CUPS server, but these are the most common.

Advanced Options

The above options are generic and can be applied to any printer that is spooled through CUPS. CUPS also supports printer specific options for things such as paper tray and print quality selection. The following command will list all available options for a specific pritner:

lpoptions -p <queue name> -l

The output of this command is in the following format

ShortOptionName/Long Option Name: value1 *value2 value3

Here value two (with the asterisk) is the default value, to change this to value3 for a specific print job the command would be:

lpr -Pqueue -o ShortOptionName=value3

Saving Option Sets

Specifying 4 up simplex printing with no banner page from paper tray 2 in 1200dpi presentation quality mode can get awfully tedious. Thankfully you can save these options into a printer instance which takes the form <queue-name>/<instance-name> where <queue-name> is the printer you want to use and <instance-name> is a personal identifier for this option grouping. These opions are recorede in your ~/.lpoptions file. For example to record te previosly mentioned otions for the printer cabal in an instance called test you would look up the options using lpotions -p cabal -l as shown in the previous section and then use lpotions with the new queue/instance name and the selected options:

lpoptions -p cabal/test -o number-up=4 -o job-sheets=none -o InputSlot=Tray2 -o OutputMode=HiResPhoto -o sides=one-sided

Now anytime you print to
lpr -Pcabal/test
you will be invoking all those options. If you only specify a queue and don't specify an instance these options will be your personal defaults for this printer. You can check which options have been changed from the system wide default by using lpoptions -p <queue-name>[/instance-name], for example:

lpoptions -p cabal/test
number-up=4 job-sheets=none InputSlot=Tray2 OutputMode=HiResPhoto sides=one-sided

lpoptions -p cabal
job-sheets=none,none page-bottom=18 page-left=18 page-right=18 page-top=18

Client Settings for recent versions of (non-CSAIL-customized) Ubuntu

(Note: If you're in the very unlikely situation of needing to set up printing to CSAIL printers for the first time from a no-longer-supported Ubuntu 12.10 or earlier system, you might find an older version of this page from the Internet Archive useful. Those old versions of Ubuntu are no longer receiving security updates and you are strongly advised to upgrade or reinstall a newer version.)

Make a backup copy of /etc/cups/cups-browsed.conf, and then edit the original to add the line
(This can be anywhere, but you might want to put it near the commented-out BrowsePoll examples already in the file.)

Then restart the cups-browsed service:

sudo /etc/init.d/cups-browsed restart

PPD files for CSAIL printers

TIG maintains and supports a CSAIL specific distribution of Ubuntu. If you are using another distribution you may (or may not) find the following PPDs useful. Note however that other distributions are not supported by TIG.

Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
Printers.pngpng Printers.png manage 22.3 K 06 Dec 2017 - 16:13 JaySekora XFCE Printers settings panel screenshot
Topic revision: 06 Dec 2017, JaySekora

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