CUPS provides both the System V (lp(1)) and Berkeley (lpr(1)) printing commands for printing files. In addition, it supported a large number of standard and printer-specific options that allow you to control how and where files are printed.
CUPS understands many different types of files directly, including text, PostScript, PDF, and image files. This allows you to print from inside your applications or at the command-line, whichever is most convenient! Type either of the following commands to print a file to the default (or only) printer on the system:
lp filename lpr filename
Many systems will have more than one printer available to the user. These printers can be attached to the local system via a parallel, serial, or USB port, or available over the network. Use the lpstat(1) command to see a list of available printers:
lpstat -p -d
-p option specifies that you want to see a
list of printers, and the
-d option reports the
current default printer or class.
-d option with the lp command to
print to a specific printer:
lp -d printer filename
-P option with the lpr command:
lpr -P printer filename
If you normally use a particular printer, you can tell CUPS to use it by default using the lpoptions(1) command:
lpoptions -d printer
Both the lp and lpr commands support printing from the standard input:
program | lp program | lp -d printer program | lpr program | lpr -P printer
If the program does not provide any output, then nothing will be queued for printing.
For many types of files, the default printer options may be sufficient for your needs. However, there may be times when you need to change the options for a particular file you are printing.
The lp and lpr commands allow you to pass
printer options using the
lp -o landscape -o scaling=75 -o media=A4 filename.jpg lpr -o landscape -o scaling=75 -o media=A4 filename.jpg
The available printer options vary depending on the printer. The standard options are described in the "Standard Printing Options" section below. Printer-specific options are also available and can be listed using the lpoptions command:
lpoptions -p printer -l
Saved options are supported in CUPS through printer instances. Printer instances are, as their name implies, copies of a printer that have certain options associated with them. Use the lpoptions command to create a printer instance:
lpoptions -p printer/instance -o name=value ...
-p printer/instance option provides the name of
the instance, which is always the printer name, a slash, and the
instance name which can contain any printable characters except
space and slash. The remaining options are then associated with the
instance instead of the main queue. For example, the following
command creates a duplex instance of the LaserJet queue:
lpoptions -p LaserJet/duplex -o sides=two-sided-long-edge
Instances do not inherit lpoptions from the main queue.
Both the lp and lpr commands have options for printing more than one copy of a file:
lp -n num-copies filename lpr -#num-copies filename
Copies are normally not collated for you. Use the
-o Collate=True option to get collated copies:
lp -n num-copies -o Collate=True filename lpr -#num-copies -o Collate=True filename
cancel job-id lprm job-id
The lpmove(8) command moves a print job to a new printer or class:
lpmove job-id destination
The job-id is the number that was reported to you by the lp or lpstat commands. Destination is the name of a printer or class that you want to actually print the job.
The lpmove command is located in the system command directory (typically /usr/sbin or /usr/local/sbin), and so may not be in your command path. Specify the full path to the command if you get a "command not found" error, for example:/usr/sbin/lpmove foo-123 bar
The following options apply when printing all types of files.
-o media=xyz option sets the media size,
type, and/or source:
lp -o media=Letter filename lp -o media=Letter,MultiPurpose filename lpr -o media=Letter,Transparency filename lpr -o media=Letter,MultiPurpose,Transparency filename
The available media sizes, types, and sources depend on the printer, but most support the following options (case is not significant):
Letter- US Letter (8.5x11 inches, or 216x279mm)
Legal- US Legal (8.5x14 inches, or 216x356mm)
A4- ISO A4 (8.27x11.69 inches, or 210x297mm)
COM10- US #10 Envelope (9.5x4.125 inches, or 241x105mm)
DL- ISO DL Envelope (8.66x4.33 inches, or 220x110mm)
Transparency- Transparency media type or source
Upper- Upper paper tray
Lower- Lower paper tray
MultiPurpose- Multi-purpose paper tray
LargeCapacity- Large capacity paper tray
The actual options supported are defined in the printer's PPD
file in the
MediaType options. You can list them using the
lpoptions -p printer -l
Custom is listed for the
PageSize option, you can specify custom media sizes using one of the following forms:
lp -o media=Custom.WIDTHxLENGTH filename lp -o media=Custom.WIDTHxLENGTHin filename lp -o media=Custom.WIDTHxLENGTHcm filename lp -o media=Custom.WIDTHxLENGTHmm filename
where "WIDTH" and "LENGTH" are the width and length of the media in points, inches, centimeters, or millimeters, respectively.
-o landscape option will rotate the page 90
degrees to print in landscape orientation:
lp -o landscape filename lpr -o landscape filename
-o orientation-requested=N option rotates the
page depending on the value of N:
-o orientation-requested=3- portrait orientation (no rotation)
-o orientation-requested=4- landscape orientation (90 degrees)
-o orientation-requested=5- reverse landscape or seascape orientation (270 degrees)
-o orientation-requested=6- reverse portrait or upside-down orientation (180 degrees)
-o sides=two-sided-short-edge and
sides=two-sided-long-edge options will enable two-sided
printing on the printer if the printer supports it. The
sides=two-sided-short-edge option is suitable for
landscape pages, while the
sides=two-sided-long-edge option is suitable for portrait
lp -o sides=two-sided-short-edge filename lp -o sides=two-sided-long-edge filename lpr -o sides=two-sided-long-edge filename
The default is to print single-sided:
lp -o sides=one-sided filename lpr -o sides=one-sided filename
-o job-sheets=start,end option sets the banner
page(s) to use for a job:
lp -o job-sheets=none filename lp -o job-sheets=standard filename lpr -o job-sheets=classified,classified filename
If only one banner file is specified, it will be printed before the files in the job. If a second banner file is specified, it is printed after the files in the job.
The available banner pages depend on the local system configuration; CUPS includes the following banner files:
none- Do not produce a banner page.
classified- A banner page with a "classified" label at the top and bottom.
confidential- A banner page with a "confidential" label at the top and bottom.
secret- A banner page with a "secret" label at the top and bottom.
standard- A banner page with no label at the top and bottom.
topsecret- A banner page with a "top secret" label at the top and bottom.
unclassified- A banner page with an "unclassified" label at the top and bottom.
-o job-hold-until=when option tells CUPS to
delay printing until the "when" time, which can be one of the
-o job-hold-until=indefinite; print only after released by the user or an administrator
-o job-hold-until=day-time; print from 6am to 6pm local time
-o job-hold-until=night; print from 6pm to 6am local time
-o job-hold-until=second-shift; print from 4pm to 12am local time
-o job-hold-until=third-shift; print from 12am to 8am local time
-o job-hold-until=weekend; print on Saturday or Sunday
-o job-hold-until=HH:MM; print at the specified UTC time
Aside from the web interface, you can use the lp command to release a held job:
lp -i job-id -H resume
where "job-id" is the job ID reported by the lpstat command.
-o job-priority=NNN option tells CUPS to
assign a priority to your job from 1 (lowest) to 100 (highest),
which influences where the job appears in the print queue. Higher
priority jobs are printed before lower priority jobs, however
submitting a new job with a high priority will not interrupt an
already printing job.
-o outputorder=normal and
-o outputorder=reverse options specify the order of the pages. Normal order prints page 1 first, page 2 second, and so forth. Reverse order prints page 1 last.
-o page-ranges=pages option selects a range
of pages for printing:
lp -o page-ranges=1 filename lp -o page-ranges=1-4 filename lp -o page-ranges=1-4,7,9-12 filename lpr -o page-ranges=1-4,7,9-12 filename
As shown above, the
pages value can be a single page, a
range of pages, or a collection of page numbers and ranges separated by
commas. The pages will always be printed in ascending order, regardless
of the order of the pages in the
The default is to print all pages.
The page numbers used by
page-rangesrefer to the output pages and not the document's page numbers. Options like
number-upcan make the output page numbering not match the document page numbers.
-o page-set=set option to select the even or odd pages:
lp -o page-set=odd filename lp -o page-set=even filename lpr -o page-set=even filename
The default is to print all pages.
-o number-up=value option selects N-Up
printing. N-Up printing places multiple document pages on a
single printed page. CUPS supports 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, and 16-Up
formats; the default format is 1-Up:
lp -o number-up=1 filename lp -o number-up=2 filename lp -o number-up=4 filename lpr -o number-up=16 filename
-o page-border=value option chooses the
border to draw around each page:
-o page-border=double; draw two hairline borders around each page
-o page-border=double-thick; draw two 1pt borders around each page
-o page-border=none; do not draw a border (default)
-o page-border=single; draw one hairline border around each page
-o page-border=single-thick; draw one 1pt border around each page
-o number-up-layout=value option chooses the
layout of the pages on each output page:
-o number-up-layout=btlr; Bottom to top, left to right
-o number-up-layout=btrl; Bottom to top, right to left
-o number-up-layout=lrbt; Left to right, bottom to top
-o number-up-layout=lrtb; Left to right, top to bottom (default)
-o number-up-layout=rlbt; Right to left, bottom to top
-o number-up-layout=rltb; Right to left, top to bottom
-o number-up-layout=tblr; Top to bottom, left to right
-o number-up-layout=tbrl; Top to bottom, right to left
-o fit-to-page option specifies that the document
should be scaled to fit on the page:
lp -o fit-to-page filename lpr -o fit-to-page filename
The default is to use the size specified in the file.
This feature depends upon an accurate size in the print file. If no size is given in the file, the page may be scaled incorrectly!
-o outputorder=reverse option will print the
pages in reverse order:
lp -o outputorder=reverse filename lpr -o outputorder=reverse filename
-o outputorder=normal option will
print starting with page 1:
lp -o outputorder=normal filename lpr -o outputorder=normal filename
The default is
-o outputorder=normal for
printers that print face down and
for printers that print face up.
-o mirror option flips each page along the
vertical axis to produce a mirrored image:
lp -o mirror filename lpr -o mirror filename
This is typically used when printing on T-shirt transfer media or sometimes on transparencies.
-o raw option allows you to send files
directly to a printer without filtering. This is sometimes
required when printing from applications that provide their own
"printer drivers" for your printer:
lp -o raw filename lpr -o raw filename
-l option can also be used with the
lpr command to send files directly to a printer:
lpr -l filename
CUPS supports several options that are only used when printing plain text files. These options have absolutely no effect on PostScript, PDF, HP-GL/2, or image files.
-o cpi=value option sets the number of
characters per inch:
lp -o cpi=10 filename lp -o cpi=12 filename lpr -o cpi=17 filename
The default characters per inch is 10.
-o lpi=value option sets the number of lines
lp -o lpi=6 filename lpr -o lpi=8 filename
The default lines per inch is 6.
-o columns=value option sets the number of
lp -o columns=2 filename lpr -o columns=3 filename
The default number of columns is 1.
Normally the page margins are set to the hard limits of the
printer. Use the
-o page-top=value, and
-o page-bottom=value options to adjust the page
lp -o page-left=value filename lp -o page-right=value filename lp -o page-top=value filename lp -o page-bottom=value filename lpr -o page-left=value -o page-right=value -o page-top=value -o page-bottom=value filename
value argument is the margin in points; each
point is 1/72 inch or 0.35mm.
-o prettyprint option puts a header at the
top of each page with the page number, job title (usually the
filename), and the date. Also, C and C++ keywords are
highlighted, and comment lines are italicized:
lp -o prettyprint filename lpr -o prettyprint filename
-o nowrap option disables wrapping of long lines:
lp -o nowrap filename lpr -o nowrap filename
CUPS supports several options that are only used when printing image files. These options have absolutely no effect on PostScript, PDF, HP-GL/2, or text files.
-o position=name option specifies the position of the
image on the page:
center- Center the image on the page (default)
top- Print the image centered at the top of the page
left- Print the image centered on the left of page
right- Print the image centered on the right of the page
top-left- Print the image at the top left corner of the page
top-right- Print the image at the top right corner of the page
bottom- Print the image centered at the bottom of the page
bottom-left- Print the image at the bottom left corner of the page
bottom-right- Print the image at the bottom right corner of the page
options change the size of a printed image:
lp -o scaling=percent filename lp -o ppi=value filename lpr -o natural-scaling=percent filename
scaling=percent value is a number from 1 to 800
specifying the size in relation to the page (not the image.) A
scaling of 100 percent will fill the page as completely as the image
aspect ratio allows. A scaling of 200 percent will print on up to 4
ppi=value value is a number from 1 to 1200 specifying the
resolution of the image in pixels per inch. An image that is 3000x2400
pixels will print 10x8 inches at 300 pixels per inch, for example. If
the specified resolution makes the image larger than the page, multiple
pages will be printed to satisfy the request.
natural-scaling=percent value is a number
from 1 to 800 specifying the size in relation to the natural
image size. A scaling of 100 percent will print the image at its
natural size, while a scaling of 50 percent will print the image
at half its natural size. If the specified scaling makes the
image larger than the page, multiple pages will be printed to
satisfy the request.
CUPS supports several options that are only used when printing HP-GL/2 files. These options have absolutely no effect on PostScript, PDF, image, or text files.
-o blackplot option specifies that all pens should
plot in black:
lp -o blackplot filename lpr -o blackplot filename
The default is to use the colors defined in the plot file or the standard pen colors defined in the HP-GL/2 reference manual from Hewlett Packard.
-o penwidth=value option specifies the default pen
width for HP-GL/2 files:
lp -o penwidth=value filename lpr -o penwidth=value filename
The pen width
value specifies the pen width in micrometers.
The default value of 1000 produces lines that are 1 millimeter in width.
Specifying a pen width of 0 produces lines that are exactly 1 pixel wide.
This option is ignored when the pen widths are set in the plot file.