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General Printing Questions

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Listed below are an assortment of frequently, and not so frequently, asked questions relating to printing.

If the question you wanted to ask isn't covered here, then please check the support FAQ as well.



How can I remove my document from the print queue?
If a printer is very busy or not currently working, print jobs for that printer will be held in a queue. This command will show the jobs which are queued to be printed:
   lpq -P printer

Each job in the queue will have a job number. Note the number of the job which you would like to delete, then:

   lprm jobnumber -P printer

How can I print A3 size?
The Xerox MFDs can print on A3 sized paper. A3 paper is in tray 4. On a self-managed machine make sure you have the correct Xerox printer driver installed, so that you can enable tray 4.

Here are some tips for printing A3 from a DICE machine. Each application presents a different print dialog:

  • LibreOffice: Go to File->Printer Settings to select the MFD printer, then click Properties and choose tray 4 and save these settings before doing File-> Print.
  • Adobe Reader (acroread): Not recommended, see PDF on DICE
  • Evince (default pdf Document Viewer): First do File -> Page Setup and check that Paper Size is set to A3 then select File -> Print to choose your MFD printer; then change Page Setup -> Paper Source to Tray 4.
  • Command-line (lpr):
    lpr -Pprinter -o InputSlot=Tray4 -o PageSize=A3 A3inputfile

How can I print A0 posters?
Poster printing and colour printing facilities are available at uCreate ML (Main Library) and uCreate KB (King's Buildings). These plotters work via pCounter - that is, users are charged through their University printing account. They are capable of printing A0, A1 and A2. There is a LATEX infposter class for producing A0 posters in the University of Edinburgh corporate style.

How do I add an efinancials printer?
See Printing from Efinancials. You will also need to let Informatics computing support know.

How do I scan a document using the Xerox MFDs?

See Scanning using the Xerox MFDs.

What do I do when the printer is jammed or out of toner?

Contact support if:

  • there is a jam.
  • the toner seems low or out. (Please note that toner for the Xerox Multifunction Devices is stocked and replaced by your local admin team. Computing Support looks after the HP LaserJet printer supplies.)
  • something more serious seems to be wrong (confirming first that the on-line button is lit, the printer is turned on, plugged in, etc).

Computing Support is not responsible for stocking paper.

Where are the printers, and are they working?

On a DICE machine typing

   lpstatĀ -p

will show you all the available printers.

There is also a list of printers for staff and research students and a list of printers for undergrad and taught students.

How do I set my default printer?

On a DICE machine, type

   echo "export PRINTER=printername" >> ~/.brc

Please note that this will only be effective the next time you log in. To make it work immediately type

   export PRINTER=printername

in each open shell.

How do I print simplex (single-sided)?

On a DICE machine use the command

   lpr -o sides=one-sided -P printername myfile.pdf

replacing printername with your chosen printer, e.g. if213m0, and myfile.pdf with the name of your file.

How do I print duplex (double-sided)?

The Informatics printers should default to printing duplex, however occasionally you may need to force them to print duplex. To do so use the sides=two-sided-short-edge or sides=two-sided-long-edge option to lpr, depending on how you want to flip your pages. eg in a shell on a DICE machine:

  lpr -o sides=two-sided-short-edge -P printername myfile.pdf
  lpr -o sides=two-sided-long-edge -P printername myfile.pdf

replacing printername with your chosen printer, e.g. if213m0, and myfile.pdf with the name of your file.

How do I ask for my document to be stapled?

It's possible to get the MFDs to staple. This can be selected from within evince

    File -> Print... -> Finishing -> Stapling

or acroread. The command line option is

    -o StapleLocation=SinglePortrait

so that, e.g.,

     lpr -P if237c0 -o StapleLocation=SinglePortrait mydoc.pdf

will staple your document. It seems possible to set this on a per-printer basis using lpoptions, e.g.

    lpoptions -p if237c0 -o StapleLocation=SinglePortrait

Unfortunately on the current MFDs the position of the staple is always
the top-left, making stapling of 2-on-1 documents awkward.
(Thanks to David Sterratt for this answer.)

How do I print my text file in 2up landscape format?

That is, how do I print a file with two portrait pages side by side on a landscape A4 page, printed out so that when bound on the short edge it can be flipped through as a landscape book?

This can be done using a2ps piped to lpr :

   a2ps -2r --output - filename | lpr -o sides=two-sided-short-edge -Pprintername

(Thanks to Neil Brown and Alastair Scobie for this answer.)

Note that, if you want the printout to go to your default printer, then you don't need the "-Pprintername" bit.

How do I print my file in booklet format?

If you want your printout in booklet form (that can be folded in the middle, ending up as an A5-sized booklet), this can be done in various ways, depending on whether the file is PDF, or PostScript, or in LibreOffice Writer format.

If PostScript, use something like:

psbook | lpr -o sides=two-sided-short-edge -o number-up=2 -Pprintername

If PDF, use something like:

pdftops filename.pdf - | psbook | lpr -o sides=two-sided-short-edge -o number-up=2 -Pprintername

Note that, if you want the printout to go to your default printer, then you don't need the "-Pprintername" bit.

From LibreOffice Writer:

select File:Print and choose Duplex: Short-Edge Binding from the General:Properties:Paper tab, and select Brochure from the Page Layout tab.

From Adobe Reader:

It may also be possible to select "Booklet Printing" from within Adobe Reader (if available on your machine).

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