cups(1) — Linux manual page


cups(1)                          Apple Inc.                          cups(1)

NAME         top

       cups - a standards-based, open source printing system

DESCRIPTION         top

       CUPS is the software you use to print from applications like word
       processors, email readers, photo editors, and web browsers. It
       converts the page descriptions produced by your application (put a
       paragraph here, draw a line there, and so forth) into something your
       printer can understand and then sends the information to the printer
       for printing.

       Now, since every printer manufacturer does things differently,
       printing can be very complicated.  CUPS does its best to hide this
       from you and your application so that you can concentrate on printing
       and less on how to print. Generally, the only time you need to know
       anything about your printer is when you use it for the first time,
       and even then CUPS can often figure things out on its own.

       The first time you print to a printer, CUPS creates a queue to keep
       track of the current status of the printer (everything OK, out of
       paper, etc.) and any pages you have printed. Most of the time the
       queue points to a printer connected directly to your computer via a
       USB port, however it can also point to a printer on your network, a
       printer on the Internet, or multiple printers depending on the
       configuration. Regardless of where the queue points, it will look
       like any other printer to you and your applications.

       Every time you print something, CUPS creates a job which contains the
       queue you are sending the print to, the name of the document you are
       printing, and the page descriptions. Job are numbered (queue-1,
       queue-2, and so forth) so you can monitor the job as it is printed or
       cancel it if you see a mistake. When CUPS gets a job for printing, it
       determines the best programs (filters, printer drivers, port
       monitors, and backends) to convert the pages into a printable format
       and then runs them to actually print the job.

       When the print job is completely printed, CUPS removes the job from
       the queue and moves on to any other jobs you have submitted. You can
       also be notified when the job is finished, or if there are any errors
       during printing, in several different ways.

       The easiest way to start is by using the web interface to configure
       your printer. Go to "http://localhost:631" and choose the
       Administration tab at the top of the page. Click/press on the Add
       Printer button and follow the prompts.

       When you are asked for a username and password, enter your login
       username and password or the "root" username and password.

       After the printer is added you will be asked to set the default
       printer options (paper size, output mode, etc.) for the printer. Make
       any changes as needed and then click/press on the Set Default Options
       button to save them. Some printers also support auto-configuration -
       click/press on the Query Printer for Default Options button to update
       the options automatically.

       Once you have added the printer, you can print to it from any
       application. You can also choose Print Test Page from the maintenance
       menu to print a simple test page and verify that everything is
       working properly.

       You can also use the lpadmin(8) and lpinfo(8) commands to add
       printers to CUPS.  Additionally, your operating system may include
       graphical user interfaces or automatically create printer queues when
       you connect a printer to your computer.

       The CUPS web site ( provides access to the cups
       and cups-devel mailing lists, additional documentation and resources,
       and a bug report database. Most vendors also provide online
       discussion forums to ask printing questions for your operating system
       of choice.

ENVIRONMENT         top

       CUPS commands use the following environment variables to override the
       default locations of files and so forth. For security reasons, these
       environment variables are ignored for setuid programs:

            Whether to allow any X.509 certificate root (Y or N).

            The directory where semi-persistent cache files can be found.

            The directory where data files can be found.

            The default level of encryption (Always, IfRequested, Never,

            Whether to allow expired X.509 certificates (Y or N).

            The Kerberos service name used for authentication.

            The hostname/IP address and port number of the CUPS scheduler
            (hostname:port or ipaddress:port).

            The directory where server helper programs, filters, backend,
            etc. can be found.

            The root directory of the server.

            The directory where state files can be found.

            Specifies the name of the user for print requests.

       HOME Specifies the home directory of the current user.

            Specifies the default port number for IPP requests.

            Specifies the location of localization files.

            Specifies the default print queue (System V standard).

            Specifies the default print queue (Berkeley standard).

            Specifies the location of temporary files.

FILES         top


CONFORMING TO         top

       CUPS conforms to the Internet Printing Protocol version 2.1 and
       implements the Berkeley and System V UNIX print commands.

NOTES         top

       CUPS printer drivers, backends, and PPD files are deprecated and will
       no longer be supported in a future feature release of CUPS.  Printers
       that do not support IPP can be supported using applications such as

SEE ALSO         top

       cancel(1), client.conf(7), cupsctl(8), cupsd(8), lp(1), lpadmin(8),
       lpinfo(8), lpoptions(1), lpr(1), lprm(1), lpq(1), lpstat(1), CUPS
       Online Help (http://localhost:631/help), CUPS Web Site
       (, PWG Internet Printing Protocol Workgroup

COPYRIGHT         top

       Copyright © 2007-2019 by Apple Inc.

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the CUPS (a standards-based, open source
       printing system) project.  Information about the project can be found
       at ⟨⟩.  If you have a bug report for this manual
       page, see ⟨⟩.  This page was obtained from the
       project's upstream Git repository ⟨⟩ on
       2020-11-01.  (At that time, the date of the most recent commit that
       was found in the repository was 2020-04-27.)  If you discover any
       rendering problems in this HTML version of the page, or you believe
       there is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or you have
       corrections or improvements to the information in this COLOPHON
       (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to

26 April 2019                       CUPS                             cups(1)

Pages that refer to this page: cups-config(1)ippeveprinter(1)client.conf(5)cups-files.conf(5)backend(7)filter(7)cupsd(8)cupsd-helper(8)cupsfilter(8)cups-lpd(8)