This help document describes how to configure and manage destinations with CUPS.
Destinations are individual printers and classes (pools) of printers. Printers use a description file with one or more driver ("filter") programs that communicate with the printer through a "backend" program. CUPS currently uses PPD (PostScript Printer Description) files to describe the printer and driver programs needed, some of which come with CUPS while others come with your operating system or Linux distribution. Backends are specified using a URI (Universal Resource Identifier) where the URI scheme is the backend name, e.g., "ipp://126.96.36.199/ipp/print" specifies the "ipp" backend - like PPD files, some backends come with CUPS while others come with your operating system.
Classes are associated with one or more printers and are typically used to distribute print jobs amongst a group of printers or provide redundancy or high availability when printing. Print jobs sent to a class are forwarded to the next available printer in the class.
lpadmin(8) program is used to add, modify, or delete destinations, while the
lpinfo(8) command is used to list the available printer drivers and backends. The
cupsctl(8) program is used to manage the printing system as a whole, including things like debug logging and printer sharing. The CUPS web interface ("http://localhost:631" or "https://servername:631") can also be used, and most operating systems provide their own GUI administration tools.
lpadmin command is used to create, modify, or delete a printer. The
-p option specifies a printer to create or modify:
lpadmin -p printername ...
lpadmin accepts several additional options after
-p printername when adding or modifying a printer:
-x option deletes the named printer:
lpadmin -x printername
-m option to
lpadmin specifies the driver ("model") to use for the printer. You can run the
lpinfo -m command to list all of the available drivers ("models") on your system:
Each line contains the driver name followed by its description, for example:
drv:///sample.drv/dymo.ppd Dymo Label Printer drv:///sample.drv/epson9.ppd Epson 9-Pin Series drv:///sample.drv/epson24.ppd Epson 24-Pin Series drv:///sample.drv/generpcl.ppd Generic PCL Laser Printer drv:///sample.drv/generic.ppd Generic PostScript Printer drv:///sample.drv/deskjet.ppd HP DeskJet Series drv:///sample.drv/laserjet.ppd HP LaserJet Series PCL 4/5 drv:///sample.drv/intelbar.ppd Intellitech IntelliBar Label Printer, 2.1 drv:///sample.drv/okidata9.ppd Oki 9-Pin Series drv:///sample.drv/okidat24.ppd Oki 24-Pin Series drv:///sample.drv/zebracpl.ppd Zebra CPCL Label Printer drv:///sample.drv/zebraep1.ppd Zebra EPL1 Label Printer drv:///sample.drv/zebraep2.ppd Zebra EPL2 Label Printer drv:///sample.drv/zebra.ppd Zebra ZPL Label Printer everywhere IPP Everywhere
everywhere driver is used for nearly all modern networks printers sold since about 2009. For example, the following command creates a destination for a printer at IP address 188.8.131.52:
lpadmin -p printername -E -v ipp://184.108.40.206/ipp/print -m everywhere
The CUPS sample drivers (the "drv:///sample.drv/..." lines above) can be used for "legacy" printers. For example, the following command creates a destination for a HP LaserJet printer at IP address 220.127.116.11:
lpadmin -p printername -E -v socket://18.104.22.168 -m drv:///sample.drv/laserjet.ppd
Note: The CUPS sample drivers are designed to provide basic printing capabilities for the broadest range of printers possible, but generally do not exercise the full potential of the printers or CUPS. Other drivers (including the
everywheredriver) provide greater printing capabilities and better print quality.
CUPS comes with several standard backends that communicate with printers:
dnssd: The Bonjour (DNS-SD) protocol.
ipp: The Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) with optional encryption.
ipps: The Internet Printing Protocol with mandatory encryption.
lpd: The Line Printer Daemon protocol.
socket: The AppSocket (JetDirect) protocol.
usb: The Universal Serial Bus (USB) printer class.
lpinfo -v command to list the available backends and printers:
Each line contains the backend "class" followed by the backend name or a full printer device URI, for example:
network lpd network ipps network ipp network socket network dnssd://Acme%20Laser%20Pro._ipp._tcp.local./?uuid=545253fb-1cb7-4d8d-98ed-ab6cd607cea7 network dnssd://Bar99._printer.tcp.local./?uuid=f9efff58-9086-4c95-accb-81dee876a475 network dnssd://Example%20EX-42._ipps._tcp.local./?uuid=4a0c67ad-2824-4ddf-9115-7d4226c5fe65 network dnssd://Foo%20Fighter-1969._pdl-datastream._tcp.local./?uuid=4e216bea-c3de-4f65-a710-c99e11c80d2b direct usb://ZP/LazerJet%20MFP?serial=42
network class of backends is used for all network protocols. The Using Network Printers help document describes how to use the standard CUPS network backends. The
direct class of backends is used for directly-connected printers such as USB and Bluetooth. Because these backends use a system-specific identifier, you should only use the reported device URIs.
Once you know the correct URI for the printer, set it using the
lpadmin -p printername -v device-uri
lpadmin command allows you to set various options for a printer:
-o PageSize=Legalsets the default page size to US Legal.
allow:list defines a whitelist of users and groups while the
deny:list defines a blacklist of users and groups.
CUPS supports sharing of printers with other computers and mobile devices. Two
cupsctl options control the general printer sharing features:
Once you have enabled printer sharing, you then must select which printers will be shared using the
lpadmin command and the
-o printer-is-shared=true option.
For example, to share two printers ("foo" and "bar") on the local network, run the following commands:
cupsctl --share-printers lpadmin -p foo -o printer-is-shared=true lpadmin -p bar -o printer-is-shared=true
lpadmin command is used to create, modify, or delete a class. The
-c option specifies a class to create or modify and is combined with the
lpadmin -p printername -c classname
-r option specifies that the named printer is removed from the class:
lpadmin -p printername -r classname
-x option deletes the named class:
lpadmin -x classname
The printing system log files track the activity of the scheduler, printer drivers, and backends. If problems occur and the log files do not provide sufficient details to diagnose the problem, you can enable debug logging using the
To disable debug logging, run the same command with the