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

       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

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

            The directory where semi-persistent cache files can be

            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 ippeveprinter(1).

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 2023-12-22.  (At that time,
       the date of the most recent commit that was found in the
       repository was 2023-10-27.)  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)