Printing with Ubuntu

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Ubuntu makes printing reasonably easy and straightforward. This brief article is for those who need a specific and encouraging step-by-step guide. I hope that this article will not only ensure that you print with ease, but that you have every reason to enjoy a productive GNU/Linux desktop.

Before you begin the installation steps below, connect your printer/s. You need to do this prior to turning your system on. This helps to ensure Ubuntu recognizes how the printer is connected to the system, and it allows Ubuntu to identify the specific printer port.

Please don’t be dismayed if you plug in your printer and it’s not immediately recognized. I assure you that Ubuntu recognizes the printer. However, you will first need to configure the printer as an available device so other programs can use it.

The Ubuntu Printing Configuration Tool is used to accomplish this. For my example I will use an HP Deskjet printer connected to the Ubuntu system via a USB cable. However, these steps will also apply to printers that connect via a direct or Parallel cable.

STEP 1. Starting Ubuntu’s printer tool

From your Ubuntu main menu, select System, then choose Administration. Under the Administration menu, you will find an icon labeled Printing. Select this tool and within several seconds the Printer Configuration Tool will open.

Figure 1: Configuration toolFigure 1: Configuration tool

STEP 2. Configuring a printer connection

Now, double click on the New Printer icon. This will bring up the Add a Printer wizard.

Figure 2: Add a printerFigure 2: Add a printer

Notice that in my example, two printers are detected. However, I only have one HP Deskjet connected to this computer. Worry not! This sometimes happens, depending on the printer and the USB settings. If you see a second detected printer, ignore it and simply highlight the first that best describes your printer.

Now press the Forward button to complete the process.

STEP 3. Choosing a printer driver

In this second window, you need to click on the Manufacturer option and choose the one that fits your printer. In my case, I use an HP printer. From the Model list, be sure to select the exact model you have.

Don’t worry if your printer model isn’t there. I offer some more details below in the Troubleshooting section.

Figure 3: Select model and driverFigure 3: Select model and driver

In nearly every case, Ubuntu comes ready with a driver to support your selected model. This is specified in the box beside Driver. For my example, I use the driver named hpijs, which is the suggested driver for this printer.

You can also click the Install Driver button, if you have a CD from the manufacturer and wish to add a new driver. But, this is rarely helpful, since the latest Ubuntu comes prepackaged with nearly every driver that already exists for GNU/Linux. However, it does offer the option for future upgrades and updates to your existing drivers.

When you’re ready, press the Apply button. After several seconds your new printer will appear in the Printing Configuration Tool window.

STEP 4. Testing the printer

Highlight your new printer icon and press the right mouse button.

Figure 4: New printer iconFigure 4: New printer icon

Now choose the Properties option.

This takes you to your specific printer’s properties control. The properties control allows you to not only print a test page, but also to make changes to your printer paper, resolution, color options and ink usage.

Figure 5: Printer propertiesFigure 5: Printer properties

For now, press the Print a Test Page button. In a minute you will see a page print out that includes the Ubuntu logo and eight color bars. If this worked, you can press the Close button.

Congratulations! Your printer is now ready for use with any application.


No test page

There may be a few reasons why your test page didn’t print out.

First, with some printers the test page takes a lot longer than you might expect it to. Give the test print a good minute of time.

Second, sometimes the failure comes because you connected the printer after the Ubuntu system was started. You may wish to right click on the Printer icon again and choose remove. Then, leaving your printer connected, you can reboot your Ubuntu system and try the steps again.

Finally, failure to print a test page may have to do with cables not being properly plugged in or a problem with the driver you have selected. If everything seems to be connected correctly, try choosing a different, but similar driver and see if it allows a test print. For example, I can choose the HP LaserJet driver instead of the HP LaserJet 1100A.

No recognized driver

If you review the list of printer drivers and do not find your particular printer, nor one that is closely related, you may have to try a Generic driver. In the list of drivers, when you click the Manufacturer option, you will find Generic. By choosing this, you access a short list of generic printer drivers that may help resolve your issue.

Unfortunately, you need to know some specific technical details regarding your printer to make such Generic drivers work. For instance, most black and white laser printers manufactured after 2000 support the PCL4 or PCL5. If I know that my particular laser printer supports PCL4, I can choose this generic driver and try a test print.

But please wait! I recommend that you don’t just try out various options, since picking the wrong driver ends up forcing countless pages to print with garbage. Usually, the only solution then is to pull the plug on the printer! Instead, do some homework. Find out about your specific printer’s capabilities. If you find that it does indeed support a specific PCL or PostScript, then try the applicable generic driver.

In almost every case, this will resolve your problem and get even the most recalcitrant printer to work with Ubuntu. On rare occasions, nothing will work; and this is because the manufacturer refuses to supply any type of GNU/Linux driver for their printer line.

Using two printers

If you have more than one printer connected to your Ubuntu system at the same time, you may run into an issue. The first printer may cause the second to be identified on the wrong connection (port). The reason has to do with Ubuntu deciding that both devices exist on the same port. Notice the example in figure 6 with the red circle around the incorrect port setting.

Figure 6: Two printersFigure 6: Two printers

This results in one of the two printers failing to install properly. To resolve the issue you need to highlight the second printer, then choose the Use Another Printer option (circled green) and force the port setting manually.

In my example situation, the HP 1100 (residing on the Port #1) caused the second printer, HP 540C, which requires a USB port, not to be recognized. I highlighted the second printer and forced the proper port setting to read: USB Printer #1 (HP Deskjet 845C)

Unidentified printer

If during the initial configuration your printer isn’t recognized as attached, you will need to force configure the connection manually.

Figure 7: Configure printer portFigure 7: Configure printer port

Click on the Printer Port option (circled green in figure 7) and specify the type of printer connection you have. In most cases a printer that is connected to your system via a USB cable will use USB #1. Sometimes your USB printer may show up on other USB ports. This will only happen if you already have various USB devices connected to your Ubuntu system.

If your printer is instead connected directly through a Parallel cable, it will use Parallel Port #1. If you have a Canon printer, choose the Parallel Port #1 specifically labeled with (Canon). Likewise, if you are using an Epson printer, try first to connect with Parallel Port #1 (Epson).

Improve printouts

If you desire to print photos or high resolution graphics, you need to make changes in your configuration tool to allow for special options.

From your Ubuntu printing tool, highlight the printer icon and press the right mouse button.

Now choose the Properties option.

Click on the Paper tab to specify paper size for your photographs.

Even more important to good print quality, you need to make adjustments under the advanced settings. Click on the Advanced tab to change the resolution and print quality as well as the print mode, which adjusts color settings.

Figure 8: Advanced settingsFigure 8: Advanced settings

Once you finish making adjustments to your printer settings, press the Close button and try printing from your favorite application. You should now notice a positive difference in image quality and colors.


You are now ready to print with any of the many applications included with Ubuntu. More importantly, you now have every detail necessary to enhance your printouts or add new printers. You also have some key tips for troubleshooting hardware compatibility issues, should they ever arise.

The best part is that you can now ensure Ubuntu becomes a regular part of your daily computer work.



Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Followed the above. In step 2 of 2, it sees my printer on the parallel port, and identifies the needed driver, but when I continued to the next step 3 (there is no "Apply" function in ver 6.0.6, and there is an additional step 3) it failed to install the printer.
Then I went to a Linux help site and downloaded the HP720c driver, and in step 2, I did the "Install Driver" and navigated to the driver, and I received an error message saying that I did not have permissions to write the driver to the path where it was to be installed.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

when i install my printer, i found out that there is no selection found in the manufacturer's box so thus with model, my printer is epson lx 300+II which compatible with ibm proprinter II

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Hi! I just installed Ubuntu 6.10 on a Celeron with an Epson LX-300+ printer. I used Parallel Port (Epson) and selected the 9-pin series printer driver. Worked well! Now I'm printing fine!

Hope this helps!

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I have a Canon MPC600F. Its a windows GDI printer :(
I am able to print to it from Linux (Ubuntu 6.06) when it was connected to a windows pc via ethernet using the Canon s800 drivers. when I connect it directly to Linux pc usb, lsusb show its being detected. How can I get usb port to show up in the 'Add a printer' dialog. I'd like to see if I can use the GDI driver to print to it. Also I dont see and usb related file/directory under /dev

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I have found that printing with Ubuntu and most linux distros is a huge problem. The first problem is that it is no use telling people not to worry that their printer will be recognised and then not explaining how to configure it , or at least not pointing out that the following steps are the configuration, which will not work in my experience on at least 50% of the machines you try it on. Thats all just local machine work, wait till they ask you to do it on a virtual server.

Here is the answer, fist check that your computer is built from A class parts, no dodgy cheap ram either, connect a HP printer to it USB if possible. Get round to your nearest PC World or equivalent, no shadey back street shops, and buy a copy of a program called Windows XP Professional and install it, the printer will be recognised no problem, it will print immediately. Download all the updates make sure the firewall is activated, and then install a wireless router, connect the router to the computer using the ethernet connection on the motherboard of your computer or install an ethernet card. Then download and install a program called OpenOffice, its free and works really well, it opens Word and Excel files as well. If you want a backup program get Acronis True Image,full backup once a month and incrementals every night.


Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

You made a good point in your comment, MAKE SURE THE FIREWALL IS ACTIVATED. Since you're using winblows you're machine will crawl to a halt due to spyware, viruses, a bunch of other crap that we linux user's rarely ever have to worry about. also, if you could simply google 'ubuntu printer setup', you can read from all the threads that tell you how to setup a printer with linux. and setting up my printer to print from a winxp box over samba was a piece of cake and I am a newbie. been on linux for only about 3 months, if you know how to read than you'll do fine. there are plenty of forums of people who have already suffered so that people like you and I don't have to. ps, the only reason I still have winxp is because my gf won't take the time to learn linux!!! come back to linux and be patient and you'll be on your way!

Mike Rosen's picture
Submitted by Mike Rosen (not verified) on

Amen friend! Been on Ubuntu Feisty for only a few weeks and in spite of the fact that the majority of the learning curve is still in front of me, I am glad to finally be rid of Microsoft. There is life after Windows! M

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Today I had to use my windows because I don't know how to make g++ compile for wxApps, my school work, and I needed mingw. Half the time I was updating a firewall, or waiting on firefox, it runs slower on windows, or I was telling my computer to not restart because it had an update. Point is working on linux is just more productive. If windows required less babysitting I would use it. When I need to get work done half of that should not be maintaining a computer.

joeweedy's picture
Submitted by joeweedy on

GNU/Linux doesn't have most of the problems MS Windows does but you are still going to encounter situations like this if you venture into more advanced territories like vitalization.

My suggestion is get a tech who can help and stop complaining. There are plenty of people who make house calls. You can find better support for newbies at They'll find you someone locally if they can't help you over the phone. It's a commercial service so you get real support. The one thing I like about them is if you buy hardware from them it'll work and it'll work well into the future without fuss. They get free software. It isn't just about development.

Anyway. If you do get any hardware you'll see it's really easy to do the simple things like plugging in a printer as it is all right there for you. They document everything very clearly with pictures of USB ports, screen shots, and all that jazz. They do a better job than Apple or Microsoft in that regard. The stuff they sell just works, but if you are one of those people who can't figure out how to plug in a USB device the documentation exists.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Sorry but when i was configure a manual port USB for a PHOTOSMART c3810, in the menu dont appear the option USB.
My apologizes, my english sucks!!!

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I've gotten the same issue, the ports labeled USB #1 etc.. don't show up. I get something called LPT #1 instead, can I use that? If I figure it out, I'll be sure to post my solution.
(I'm trying to install a HP Deskjet F4100)

stanley82's picture
Submitted by stanley82 (not verified) on

Click the up/down arrows next to LPT #1 and on my machine it showed my Epson printer plus a cannon printer that I do not have.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I have successfully installed the driver for a network (Windows) printer(Samsung ML-2010) on my Ubuntu laptop. The printer shows up in the Printer box, but when I print to it, the print jobs just go in a queue with a status "Job-stopped". How do I start these jobs printing?

robert fallis's picture
Submitted by robert fallis (not verified) on

I too have this problem, with an epson d88, on ubuntu 6.06, everything is installed and I can print go photo images, but when it comes to text I get a job stopped message, has anyone any Ideas, as I cannnot find a setting to change.


Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I don't have alot of time right now and this is exactly what I needed. Thanks a bunch.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I've installed 6.10 and am trying to use my Canon Pixma ip1000 with it.

I'm able to add the printer i.e the printer is recognized and I've used the suggested driver also for it.

However when I print the test page what happens is that the printer light blinks but the test page is not printed. The job makes it to the print queue. The printer as such works since I have no problems from my Windows XP system.

Any suggestions?

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

have you checked the paper size?
Could be the old Letter/A4 difference that is causing the problem.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I had the same problem, with my ip 1600. If your printer is not on the manufacterer list when you add a printer, it probably means ubuntu has no driver for that printer.
The only solution i found is to install turboprint for linux but if you install the free version you will have to print at lowest quality or it will print their logo on your page too.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I have installed the Laserjet1018 on Ubuntu Dapper, but it doesn't print. I have tried the troubleshooting-tips, but it still doesn't work.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I have an Epson stylus color 600 and went to the process to add a printer, choose a drive. All appeared to work; the printer was recognized but when I tried to print the test page it printed a few random characters in the upper left corner of a page and then moved on to the next page doing the same thing page after page. Thus I don't seem to be able to print. Any suggestions about what to do next.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Hi All,
I, like William am having the same problem- multi garbage pages. I'm able to print a test, but when I try to print from gimp it goes wacko. I can't pause, delete, all i can do is shut down the box by hand........what to do, what to do?

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I recently got a HP printer and wanted to use it with my Dapper 6.06 installation. All went fine, except it does not print!

/var/log/cups/error_log says:
E [22/Jan/2007:12:57:20 +0100] [Job 4] No %%BoundingBox: comment in header!
E [22/Jan/2007:12:57:26 +0100] PID 16137 (/usr/lib/cups/filter/foomatic-rip) stopped with status 3!

What can I do?


cycko's picture
Submitted by cycko (not verified) on

Hey man ,

I've got the same problem with my LaserJet 2100 trying to print on Ubuntu . Status is always Stopped: job-stopped and the error.log looks exactly the same.
Did you find a solution to make the printer sun? I'd appreciate it if you could share.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Ready: No %%BoundingBox: comment in header!

error with page pro 1350W that works fine when connected via USB (error occurs when running through USrobotics unit with a server capability)

prior to this had ran terminal with information from
to get rid of /backend/http failed error

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

How do I configure Ubuntu to see and connect to a printer on a wireless network?
[email protected]

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I have installed a CANON MP360 on UBUNTU 6.06, and it works fine if I print to it from a connected Windows XP machine. The problem occurs when I try to print anything from the Ubuntu computer, regardless of whether I set the page size to A4, everything from Open Office documents to prints of web pages print in a shrunken format that takes up about half the normal size. Any ideas anyone ? I am using the MultiPass2500 printer driver.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on


I have the same problem - printing from my mac results in an image 25% of the original - have you found a solution?

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I tried to install Samsung ML-2510 by following some instructions found from a few websites. In GNOME, it didn't work at all. Samsung unified drivers supplied with its CD is useless. After downloading its current driver at samsung site, it also failed.
It worked out of the box when I switched to KDE using its wizard.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

i don't understand what problems others face. Yet from these simple instructions, i was able to have my HP office jet 4200 work with no problem at all. Just follow instruction and if you encounter any step you don't understand, i suggest you make sure you DO understand before continuing.

Tahir's picture
Submitted by Tahir (not verified) on

this guide does not even mention the command line!

ANYONE can set their printer up on Ubuntu -- its so easy that you dont even need instructions.

What newcomers wont know however is how to print from the command line.

Jonathan Hayward's picture

I added a Lexmark X1185 printer; the closest match listed in the setup wizard appeared to be the Lexmark X125(?).

When I print, there is the usual "How do you want to print?" box, and then a progress status bar, and then the status bar goes away, with the following in /var/log/cups/error_log:

E [27/Apr/2007:19:17:45 -0400] PID 11256 (/usr/lib/cups/filter/foomatic-rip) stopped with status 1!

What can I do? Is there a driver I need to download? Is the Lexmark 1185 supported?

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I tried two different printers, a Panasonic KXP-7100 and a Cannon BJC-3000, plugged into the USB port. Neither one was dectected at all. My Cannon 670U scanner (USB)is detected but won't start. Could there be something wrong with the USB setup? These devices work fine with win2000 on the same computer.

Arnaud's picture

I have two pc's. One on Ubuntu and the other on W2K... and I'm trying to share the W2K's USB hp deskjet 2360 from Ubuntu with this method. So It don't work ! The question is :
Is it possible to share via LAN a USB printer on another machine ?

Shilpa L. Deshpande's picture
Submitted by Shilpa L. Deshpande (not verified) on

Very easy to follow. Helped a lot to get the printer setup on Ubuntu 7.0

Andrew Min's picture

Kubuntu's easy too. Alt-F2, type in kprinter. Click the wizard button, and from then on it's basically the same thing as what you say.

Andrew Min

ColinDav's picture
Submitted by ColinDav (not verified) on

The printer part of the MP360 appears to work fine with the driver recommended at the following site. It is not difficult to install either

Cheers and good luck

psm22's picture
Submitted by psm22 (not verified) on

Not strictly ubuntu, but I have had issues printing to an HP Officejet network printer from a debian machine. I configured CUPS, but the print job status was always "JOB STOPPED". After a lot of interweb trawling, I did apt-get install foomatic*, and now it works.

Try it!

Garry's picture
Submitted by Garry (not verified) on

Can anyone help,I have an Epson C84 printer connected to my BT home Hub via the hubs usb connection it works great with 4 PCs using windows.I recently installed Ubuntu on one but cannot get it to print at all,Thanks in advance.
Cheers Garry

Fitzcarraldo's picture
Submitted by Fitzcarraldo (not verified) on


You might like to install the Samba share browser smb4k to see if you can see the IP address of the BT HomeHub's Samba Server. Install smb4k by typing the following into a Terminal window:

sudo apt-get install smb4k

When installation has completed, an icon should appear under Applications > Accessories. You can lauch smb4k using that or via the command line in a Terminal window:



I'm running Ubuntu 6.06 on a laptop with a CardBus wireless card networked to a BT HomeHub. I have plugged an HP PSC-2110 multifunction printer into the USB-A port of the BT HomeHub and managed to print to the printer, but it is unreliable: I have to unplug and plug in again the USB cable after each print job otherwise subsequent jobs do not print, so this is not a practical solution. Anyway, this is how I configured Ubuntu 6.06 to print to the printer via the BT HomeHub:

1. System > Administration > Printing

2. Double-click on 'New Printer'

3. Select 'Network Printer' and 'Unix Printer (LPD)'

4. In the 'Host' field enter the IP address of the BT HomeHub Samba Server, which is, by default on my BT HomeHub,

5. In the 'Queue' field enter "LPT1" (without the quotes)

6. Click 'Forward'

7. Select the printer Manufacturer and Model (HP and PSC 2110 in my case)

8. In my case the recommended Driver was "hpijs (recommended) - HPLIP 0.9.7 (Suggested)".

9. Click on 'Forward'

10. Enter whatever you want in the 'Name' field (no spaces allowed). I decided to call my printer "PSC-2110-BT-HomeHub" (without the quotes). Enter whatever you want in the 'Description' and 'Location' fields.

11. Click on 'Apply'

12. An icon for the printer should now be visible in the 'Printers' window. Right-click on this and select 'Properties'. Click on 'Print a Test Page' and the printer should print a test page.

Warning: You may find that you can only print the test page, and any other subsequent job you send to the printer does not print. The only solution I have found for this so far is to cancel the print job in Printers and on the printer itself, unplug the USB lead then plug it in again, and then resend the job, which is unsatisfactory. Maybe you'll have more luck.