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How to Manage Printers and Print Jobs Using Lion Server CUPS

With multiple printers shared on the network, you can use Lion Server’s CUPS web interface to manage print jobs and printers. Print pools (classes) are treated exactly like printers.

Manage printers served by Lion

Most of CUPS’ printer management options appear in two pop-up menus on the page for an individual printer or class. To get there, click the Printers (or Classes) tab to get to the list of printers. Click a printer to get to its management page.

Items in the Maintenance pop-up menu are toggled — that is, when you choose Pause Printer, the item changes to Resume Printer the next time you open the menu. Items in this menu may change, depending on the type of printer and its features.

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The Administration pop-up menu contains items that take you to another page with more settings. Here are a few of them:

  • Modify Printer is the place to go if you suspect that your printer is set up incorrectly. It takes you to the printer’s configuration page, where you set the printer protocol and other items.

  • Set Default Options includes a number of options, including print resolution, paper trays, and two-sided printing.

  • Set Allowed Users lets you modify the users and groups that can or can’t access the printer.

Manage print jobs in the Lion CUPS interface

You can manage print jobs from multiple places. For example, you can move jobs between printers, although not as easily as with System Preferences. You can move print jobs from a printer’s management page. You can also do this from the Jobs tab.

The Jobs tab lists all printing jobs sent to the queues for your shared printers. You can filter jobs with a search field and a button for completed jobs. The entry for each job displays the status (such as Printer Not Responding or In Process).

The Jobs tab also contains buttons to cancel a print job or send it to another printer (Move Job). Clicking one of these buttons brings up another window, where you choose the printer to move the job to.

To see a list of jobs for an individual printer or class only, go to the maintenance page for that printer or class. The jobs in the queue are listed at the bottom.

View logs and edit configuration file

The Administration tab lets you view three different logs, including an error log, which is useful for troubleshooting.

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Edit Configuration File brings up a field where you can edit lines. It’s handy to have because you don’t need to go to Terminal to edit the file. But don’t even think of touching this field unless you know what you’re doing.

CUPS command line

One of the major features that the CUPS web interface provides is detailed documentation of the Unix commands that you can use in Terminal and how you can manually edit various configuration files. In fact, the Help system (accessible from the Help tab) is geared almost entirely to the text interface.

Some of the text commands, such as printing on both sides of paper, are oriented to the user. But there are many useful commands for printer servers. Notably, you use the command line to set print quotas — something you can’t do anywhere else in Mac OS X. (This command is described in the help topic called Printer Accounting Basics.)

If you’re interested in learning how to use text commands, the place to start is the Getting Started link, followed by the Command-Line Printing and Options link. This tutorial starts at the beginning with the print command: lP filename.

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