How to Print on Linux

Printing from the command line on Linux is a useful skill for those who prefer working in the terminal or for those who need to automate printing tasks. While most Linux distributions come with a graphical user interface for managing printers, the command line can be a faster and more efficient way to print documents, especially when dealing with large numbers of files or when working remotely. In this how-to guide, we will go through the steps required to print from the command line on Linux using different printing tools and utilities.

Using CUPS

CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) is a printing system for Unix-based operating systems. It provides a standardized interface between your computer and a printer, allowing you to print documents from any application on your computer.

Step 1: Open Terminal

Open the terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T on your keyboard or by searching for it in the applications menu.

Step 2: Check CUPS Status

systemctl status cups

This command will check the status of the CUPS service. If it is not installed, you can install it using the appropriate package manager for your Linux distribution.

Step 3: Install CUPS

On Debian/Ubuntu-based distros, run:

sudo apt install cups

On Fedora/RPM-based systems, run:

sudo dnf install cups

On Arch-based distros, run:

sudo pacman -S cups

Step 4: Start CUPS Service

Once installed, you can start and enable the CUPS service using the following commands:

systemctl start cups
systemctl enable cups

This will ensure that CUPS is running and will start automatically on system startup.

Step 5: Check Printer Name

To check the name of your printer, run:

lpstat -p -d

This will show you a list of available printers and the default printer.

Step 6: Print File

To print a file, run:

lp [options] filename

For example, to print a text file named “example.txt” using the default printer, run:

lp example.txt

Specify a printer using the -d option followed by the printer name. For example:

lp -d printer_name example.txt

Use the -n option to specify the number of copies to print. For example, to print two copies of a file:

lp -n 2 example.txt

Use the -o option to specify additional options, such as page orientation or paper size. For example:

lp -o landscape -o media=A4 example.txt

This will print the file in landscape orientation and on A4-sized paper.

Step 7: Check Print Status

Check the status of print jobs using the lpstat command. For example:

lpstat -o

This will show you a list of active print jobs.


In conclusion, learning how to print on Linux using CUPS is a valuable skill for anyone who uses Linux as their primary operating system. CUPS provides a robust printing framework that is easy to set up and configure, and it offers numerous options for managing your printers and print jobs. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily set up your printer, add it to your CUPS configuration, and start printing from your Linux computer. Whether you are a developer, a student, or a casual Linux user, printing on Linux is an essential task that you can easily master with CUPS.

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