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Deploying Printers via Script

October 20, 2018

Deploying printers on the Mac in an enterprise environment, or heck, just in a small office environment, can be done in multiple ways. If you don’t have a management tool, or ARD, you’re going to be running around doing it by hand. If you have a management tool, like Munki or Jamf, then you can deploy printers in a more automated fashion. My preferred method is to use a Bash script to deploy printers because it provides me a little more flexibility

Identify The Driver

The first thing to do is to identify the printer and the driver that is required. For most printers this is pretty simple, just navigate to the IP address of the printer to verify the make and model, then head over to the vendor’s website to download the latest driver. Once you have the driver, install it on your machine and then go find the driver file on your system. On the Mac, most printer drivers are stored in:

/Library/Printers/PPDs/Contents/Resources

If your printer has a “RIP”, or “Raster Image Processor“, identifying those drivers can be a little trickier. Head over to this post on how to identify the driver, and download it, on an EFI Fiery RIP. Drivers for an EFI Fiery or other RIP are usually stored in:

/Library/Printers/PPDs/Contents/Resources/<localization folder>

For us here in North America, that folder path would be:

/Library/Printers/PPDs/Contents/Resources/en.lproj

Once you have identified the driver, copy the full path of the driver file (Option-Command-C, or hold down Command then Edit->Copy as Pathname, or right click while holding Command) to your clipboard.

Build The Command

The next thing we need to do is figure out the command to run to add the printer. Fire up Terminal and let’s figure out the commands to use. We will utilize the lpadmin command to get the printer on the system. For this post this is what our command will look like:

sudo lpadmin -p <name> -E -o printer-is-shared=false -v ipp://1.1.1.1 -D "<name>" -P "/Library/Printers/PPDs/Contents/Resources/Xerox WorkCentre 5955.gz"

That looks a little daunting, so let’s break it down a little bit.

-p <name>  This flag sets the name of the printer as seen by the cups process. Use a name with no spaces, or substitute underscores for the space.

-E  This flag enables the printer to accept jobs

-o printer-is-shared=false  The -o flag allows us to pass options to the printer. In this case we are making sure the printer is not shared on the network.

-v ipp://1.1.1.1  The -v flag sets the URI of the printer.

-D <name>  Where -p set the name the cups process saw, the -D flag sets what I call the “friendly” name, the name that is visible in the GUI.

-P <driver path>  Pretty self explanatory, the -P flag sets the path to the driver.

Now that we have everything, run the command in Terminal to add the printer. You can verify the printer added by using the lpstat -a command. With the printer added, open up a program and send a test print to the printer. It is important for us to do this step so that we know our handy work is working properly.

Put It In A Script

Let’s get to the script to add the printer. Open your favorite code editor (TextMate or Sublime Text for me) and start a new script. I utilize Bash, but you could just as easily do this in Python if you prefer. First we want to make sure the proper driver is on the system, and if it isn’t we want to install it.

If the driver file is not on the system, we call the jamf binary to trigger our install policy. Adjust this to fit your management toolset.

Now with the driver check complete, we use a case statement to choose the printer (or printers) to install. We pass the choice to the script using Script Parameters in our Jamf Pro server policy. Here’s an example showing how we can install one printer, or multiple printers in an office.

You can hopefully see the flexibility this provides us for using one script to install multiple printers. Sure, we still have multiple policies in the JPS, but rather than have multiple printers or multiple scripts as well, we can do this with just the one. And, when a printer needs to change, we just edit the script.

Bonus Round

What about adding printer options, like paper trays or output trays or setting a printer to B&W instead of color? We can use lpoptions to figure out what those options are and to set them. Since that can be a daunting task, head over to this post about using lpoptions to identify the settings.

Hopefully this post has helped you evaluate the use of a script to add printers and has given you a new tool for your toolbox.

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  1. October 20, 2018 at 2:32 pm
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