Using printtool

There's no doubt about it: setting up and using Linux printing can be quite a task for a newbie. The best way is to use the point-and-click tools that come with the more user-friendly Linux distributions. These tools help make a hard task become quite easy.

If you are using Red Hat (or Debian with gnome or other Red Hat like distro), the printtool program lets you configure your printer without editing /etc/printcap. Just follow the steps listed below:

Step 1 Open a terminal window.
Both KDE and GNOME have icons that look like terminals, which you click to open a terminal window. Or, you can right-click anywhere on your desktop, go to "New" then click on "Terminal".

Step 2 Launch printtool.
You do this by issuing the command printtool. (Note: You must be root to run printtool.)

Step 3 Add a printer.
Click the "Add" button. The "Add a Printer Entry" dialog box will pop up.

Step 4 Choose a printer.
Select the type of printer (Local Printer, Remote Unix (lpd) Queue, SMB/Windows 95/NT Printer, or NetWare Printer (NCP)). Note: If your printer is attached to the parallel port of your computer, the printer type is Local Printer. Click "OK". Then the "Edit Local Printer Entry" dialog box will pop up.

Step 5 Specify the printer device
Specify the Printer Device, using /dev/lp0 as the name of the first parallel port (MS-DOS LPT1). If needed, you can change the "Printer Names" and "Spool Directory" to reflect a printer device other than lp0.

Step 6 Click on "Select".
Click "Select." The "Configure Filter" dialog box will pop up.

Step 7 Selecting printing options
Select the Printer Type, Resolution, Paper Size, and Color Depth. Select Printing Options as you wish and set the Margins. Notice the "Fix Stair-Stepping Text" option, this is something your printer might require. You may not realize that this option is needed until after exiting the dialog box. Don't panic. You can get back to this screen and revise the options at any time by starting printtool, selecting your printer, and clicking "Edit."

Step 8 Leaving printtool
Click "OK" to exit the "Configure Filter" dialog box. Click "OK" to exit the "Edit Local Printer Entry" dialog box. Click "PrintTool->Quit" to exit printtool. Now your printer is ready to use! Not as difficult as you may have thought, right?