Installing the Printer Management Tool
The CentOS 6 distribution includes a tool named system-config-printer which is usually accessible from the desktop using the System -> Administration -> Printing menu option. In the event that this menu option is absent, it is likely that this package is not currently installed. This may be rectified by issuing the following commands in a Terminal window:
yum install system-config-printer
Installing a Directly Connected Printer
By far the easiest type of printer configuration is when the printer is attached directly to the system via a parallel, serial or USB port. To configure a locally attached printer, invoke the Printer configuration dialog by selecting the System desktop menu and choosing Printing from the Administration menu. The tool will scan the system and display any detected printers. The following figure shows the Printer configuration dialog after the detection of a locally attached HP Deskjet 5800 printer:
If no printers are detected, make sure the cable to the printer is securely connected and the printer is switched on. If the printer is still not detected the next step is to try to manually add it as outlined in the next section (“Manually Installing a New Locally Connected Printer and Printer Driver.”)
Manually Installing a New Locally Connected Printer and Printer Driver
When CentOS 6 detects a printer, it will automatically select a driver if the printer is recognized and a driver is available. To manually add a printer:
- Begin by clicking on the New button in the Printer configuration toolbar.
- A ‘Please Wait. Searching for Printers’ dialog box will appear as the system is scanned for a locally attached printer, followed by a dialog requesting the root password.
- Once the search is complete, the New Printer dialog will appear including an entry for each detected printer.
- In the following figure, CentOS 6 has detected an HP DeskJet printer connected to a USB port together with a range of other ports to which a printer could, potentially, be connected:
- Select the desired locally connected printer from the list in the left-hand panel and click the Forward button.
- The printer manager will search for and install the correct driver for the selected printer and then prompt for the option to print a test page.
If the test page option is not provided:
- In the Printer configuration dialog, select your printer.
- Right-click with the mouse to pop up the menu and select Properties.
- Click on Print Test Page to send a test page to the printer.
Adding a Network Printer
In addition to printers connected directly to a system, CentOS 6 is also able to communicate with network-based printers (for example, a WiFi enabled printer present on the same network as the CentOS 6 system).
To add a network-based printer:
- Begin by launching the printer settings tool (System -> Administration -> Printing).
- When the tool appears, click on the New button located in the toolbar and click on the Network Printer heading located in the Devices panel.
- CentOS 6 will list any network printers that have already been detected.
- If your desired network printer is not already listed, select the Find Network Printer option and enter the hostname or IP address of either the printer or the system to which the printer is connected before clicking on the Find button. If CentOS 6 can locate the printer, it will be listed in the Devices panel.
- Once located, select the device and click the Forward button to search and install the appropriate driver.
- Once a driver has been installed, click Forward once again to provide printer name, location and other descriptive details.
- Finally, click Apply to add the printer to the system and to print a test page if desired.
Configuring a Printer Connected to a Windows System
If you need to access a printer that is connected to a Windows system, you can easily configure CentOS 6 to support this.
- Visit the Windows system and make sure the printer is shared and, ideally, find out the share name (though the CentOS 6 Printer configuration tool will allow you to browse the Windows network to find available printers if necessary).
- On Windows XP select Printers and Faxes from the Start menu and find your printer. Right-click on the printer and select Sharing.
- In the properties dialog, select Share this printer if it has not already been selected.
- Enter a Share name or note the name if one already exists.
On Windows 7:
- Select Devices and Printers from the Start menu,
- Right-click on the printer to be shared and select Printer Properties.
- In the properties dialog select the Sharing tab.
- In the properties dialog select Share this printer if it has not already been selected and Share name or note the name if one already exists.
On the CentOS 6 system:
- Begin by checking that SAMBA traffic is permitted in the Firewall settings (System -> Administration -> Firewall).
- Next, invoke the Printer configuration dialog (System -> Administration -> Printing).
- Click on the New button in the toolbar and select Windows Printer via SAMBA to display the following configuration panel:
If you already know the workgroup, computer name, and printer share name of the device to be accessed, enter this information using the following syntax:
Note that the workgroup and :port values are optional. For example, to configure access to a printer with a share name of hp5850 connected to a Windows system named engr99ps.eos.ncsu.edu residing on the WOLFTECH network, the following would be entered into the smb:// text field:
If the shared printer requires authentication, you can choose to be prompted for the login and password each time the printer is accessed or to store these credentials in the CentOS 6 printer manager so they do not need to be manually entered for each print job. When entering your username, you may need to preface your unity ID with wolftech/ such as wolftech/johndoe.
Having selected the correct printer:
- Click on Verify to confirm that the printer is accessible to CentOS 6.
- If the verification is successful, a message dialog will report Print Share Verified.
- Assuming successful verification, click Forward and follow the steps outlined in the previous section to select an appropriate printer driver.
Once the SAMBA printer is configured:
- Right-click with the mouse on the new printer in the Printer configuration dialog.
- Select Properties and click on the Print Test Page button.
- A test page should then appear on the printer.