Setting up printers in Cinnamon or Gnome Shell

  10 years ago

As many of you may know by now, setting up a printer in Gnome Shell can be quite easy if everything is perfectly straight forward, and you are comfortable with the default settings on your newly installed printer. 

However, if something is just slightly amiss, then it can be difficult to get things installed correctly for us GUI folks.  For example, installing a Xerox Phaser 6280N color printer requires a .ppd file to be installed to work correctly.  The suggested driver which is often the one for the 6250 is not correct, and while it may function some, it will not function optimally.  I use the 6280 as an example, because I need to access one such device at work.

If this happens, what does one do in the Gnome Shell printer utility found in System Settings to point the printer to the correct .ppd file?  The reason for the question is quite simple.  Those settings/tweaks/preferences are nowhere to be found in that particular utility.  It's assuming that every printer installation will be spot on perfect, which we all know is ludicrous.

So, a popular workaround has been to launch your web browser and browse to http://localhost:631/, which then brings up the CUPS web interface.  It works right?  Yes it does, but it can be quite a lot to wade through before you finally figure out how to install the printer correctly, and then later on, make changes if need be. 

So what happened in Ubuntu/Unity/GnomeShell/Cinnamon, that took away that wonderfully simple printer utility that made installation and tweaking such a breeze?  In a word, nothing.  The package that we're interested in is called system-config-printer, and thankfully, it is still there by default--at least in many Ubuntu based distros.  Actually, the Unity desktop has always included a menu entry for this familiar tool, although not at all intuitive to find.

However, since Cinnamon is not Unity, and rather, is a fork of the Gnome 3/Shell project, a launcher for this utility is absent.  What to do?  It's really quite simple, and as you will see, it is well worth the minimal effort.  That said, follow the steps below to launch the utility, or better still, create a nice, "as it should be" launcher in the Cinnamon Mint Menu.

*Note:  If you are unsure if system-config-printer-gnome is installed, you can simply go to the  Software Center, or Synaptic Package Manager and run a search.  If it isn't installed, then install it with your method of choice.

After you have verified and/or installed the package, simply follow the steps below to gain easy access to this utility.

Command Line Procedure:

1.  Open a terminal, and type "gksu system-config-printer"

2.  Enter administrator password, and you're in.

Creating a Cinnamon Menu Entry:

1. Right-click on the Cinnamon Menu button and select "Edit."

2. When the Menu window opens, you are going to want to add an entry for the system-config-printer command. So in the Application pane, highlight where you want the entry to appear, like System Tools.

3. Click on the “New Item” button toward the top right hand pane.

4. When the “New Item” window appears, simply name the entry what ever you’d like.  Something like “Printer Setup” would be an obvious choice, but whatever works for you.

5. In the “command:” field, enter the following line:

"gksu system-config-printer"

6. Click “OK,” and you’re done.

You should now see the new entry listed wherever you chose to put it.  Once you launch the utility, you will be asked to enter the administrator password (this, of course, is forced when you include "gksu" in the command line while configuring any menu entry).

Of course, the default icon that is given to this new entry leaves a little to be desired as it's not very descriptive.  So, you can go back to the Menu editing window, select the new entry, click on properties, click on the current icon used, and browse to the path below, and use that icon for your menu entry.  Or you can browse to any icon you so choose.  Just make sure it's in a directory that's available at login.


By the way, this process applies to Cinnamon as of v1.6.6.  Perhaps it will be already packaged in a similar fashion in future releases.  Time will tell, but for now, I hope this makes life just a little easier. 

jahid_0903014 8 years ago

useful tutorial