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Manual page for LPR(1)

lpr - send a job to the printer


lpr [ -Pprinter ] [ -#copies ] [ -Cclass ] [ -Jjob ] [ -Ttitle ] [ -i [ indent ] ] [ -1234font ]
          [ -wcols ] [ -r ] [ -m ] [ -h ] [ -s ] [ -filter-option ] [ filename ... ]


lpr creates a printer job in a spooling area for subsequent printing as facilities become available. Each printer job consists of a control file and one or more data files. The data files are copies of (or, with -s , symbolic links to) each filename you specify. The spool area is managed by the line printer daemon, lpd.8 Jobs that specify a printer on a remote machine are forwarded by lpd.

lpr reads from the standard input if no files are specified.


Send output to the named printer. Otherwise send output to the printer named in the PRINTER environment variable, or to the default printer, lp.
Produce the number of copies indicated for each named file. For example:

example% lpr -#3 index.c lookup.c

produces three copies of index.c, followed by three copies of lookup.c. On the other hand,

example% cat index.c lookup.c | lpr -#3

generates three copies of the concatenation of the files.

Print class as the job classification on the burst page. For example,

example% lpr -C Operations new.index.c

replaces the system name (the name returned by hostname) with ``Operations'' on the burst page, and prints the file new.index.c.

Print job as the job name on the burst page. Normally, lpr uses the first file's name.
Use title instead of the file name for the title used by pr.1v
-i[ indent ]
Indent output indent SPACE characters. Eight SPACE characters is the default. The indent is passed to the input filter. If no input filter is present, this option is ignored.
-1 font
-2 font
-3 font
-4 font
Mount the specified font on font position 1, 2, 3 or 4. The daemon will construct a .railmag file in the spool directory that indicates the mount by referencing /usr/lib/vfont/font.
Use cols as the page width for pr.
Remove the file upon completion of spooling, or upon completion of printing with the -s option.
Send mail upon completion.
Suppress printing the burst page.
Create a symbolic link from the spool area to the data files rather than trying to copy them (so large files can be printed). This means the data files should not be modified or removed until they have been printed. This option can be used to avoid truncating files larger than the maximum given in the mx capability of the printcap.5 entry. -s only prevents copies of local files from being made. Jobs from remote hosts are copied anyway. -s only works with named data files; if the lpr command is at the end of a pipeline, the data is copied to the spool.
The following single letter options notify the line printer spooler that the files are not standard text files. The spooling daemon will use the appropriate filters to print the data accordingly.
Use pr to format the files (lpr -p is very much like `pr | lpr').
Print control characters and suppress page breaks.
The files contain troff.1 (cat phototypesetter) binary data.
The files contain data from ditroff (device independent troff).
The files contain data from tex (DVI format from Stanford).
The files contain standard plot data as produced by the plot.3x routines (see also plot.1g for the filters used by the printer spooler).
The files contain a raster image, see rasterfile.5 The printer must support an appropriate imaging model such as PostScript in order to print the image.
The files contain data produced by cifplot.
Interpret the first character of each line as a standard FORTRAN carriage control character.

If no filter-option is given (and the printer can interpret PostScript), the string `%!' as the first two characters of a file indicates that it contains PostScript commands.

These filter options offer a standard user interface, and all options may not be available for, nor applicable to, all printers.


personal identification
printer capabilities data base
line printer daemon
directories used for spooling
daemon control files
data files specified in `cf' files
temporary copies of `cf' files


lpq.1 lprm.1 plot.1g pr.1v screendump.1 troff.1 plot.3x printcap.5 rasterfile.5 lpc.8 lpd.8


lpr: copy file is too large
A file is determined to be too ``large'' to print by copying into the spool area. lpr truncates the file, and prints as much of it as it can. The maximum file length is specified by the mx capability of the printcap.5 entry for the printer. If no mx capability is specified, the default limit is 1000 Kbytes. Use the -s option as defined above to make a symbolic link to the file instead of copying it.
lpr: printer: unknown printer
The printer was not found in the printcap database. Usually this is a typing mistake; however, it may indicate a missing or incorrect entry in the /etc/printcap file.
lpr: printer: jobs queued, but cannot start daemon.
The connection to lpd on the local machine failed. This usually means the printer server started at boot time has died or is hung. Check the local socket /dev/printer to be sure it still exists (if it does not exist, there is no lpd process running).
lpr: printer: printer queue is disabled
This means the queue was turned off with

example% /usr/etc/lpc disable printer

to prevent lpr from putting files in the queue. This is normally done by the system manager when a printer is going to be down for a long time. The printer can be turned back on by a super-user with lpc.

If a connection to lpd on the local machine cannot be made lpr will say that the daemon cannot be started. Diagnostics may be printed in the daemon log file regarding missing spool files by lpd.


Command-line options cannot be combined into a single argument as with some other commands. The command:

lpr -fs

is not equivalent to

lpr -f -s

Placing the -s flag first, or writing each option as a separate argument, makes a link as expected.

lpr -p is not precisely equivalent to pr | lpr. lpr -p puts the current date at the top of each page, rather than the date last modified.

Fonts for troff.1 and TEX® reside on the printer host. It is currently not possible to use local font libraries.

lpr refuses to print a.out files and library archives.

The -s option only avoids copying the data file to the spool directory of the local machine. If the printer for a job resides on a remote machine, the data file will be copied to the remote spool directory in all cases.

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Created by unroff & hp-tools. © by Hans-Peter Bischof. All Rights Reserved (1997).

Last modified 21/April/97