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For printing we are using CUPS, the Common Unix Printing System, which is integrated into the supported desktops systems. This means that from the 'printing' menu of most (if not all) applications you can choose a printer and to set options for the printing job.

Default printer

To set the default printer we recommend the 'lpoptions' terminal command:

lpoptions -d printer_name

sets the printer 'printer_name' as your default printer (to prevent confusion, you shouldn't set a separate $PRINTER variable in your .bashrc).

Printing from a shell

The terminal printing command used in CUPS is 'lp'. The alternative commant 'lpr' is also supported, but has a different interface. More information on the available options is obtained with 'man lp' and 'man lpr', respectively. For instance,

lp -d printer_name filename

prints a file named filename on the printer printer_name.

One-sided printing

By default two-sided printing is activated for printers supporting it. For one-sided printing on such a printer, use:

lp -o DUPLEX=none filename

Printing PDF files

PDF files can cause trouble printing. Especially the (outdated) Adobe acrobat reader is known for its bad printing behaviour, like randomly stopping to print or not starting at all. Instead, we recommend the program Okular which can be found in the Office menu.

Printing from Matlab

Due to an outdated printing method in Matlab, printing directly from the program can be buggy. In this case, please export the document as PDF and print it from e.g. Okular.


If the toner cartridge of your office printer is empty, please contact the secretary of your group. If you need help changing the cartridge, please write an email to root.

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