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LPR(1) lpr command LPR(1)


lpr - off line print


lpr [ -A ] [ -B ] [ -b,l ] [ -C class ] [ -D debugopt ] [ -F filterformat ] [ -G ] [ -h ] [ -i indentcols ] [ -k ] [ -J job ] [ -K,# copies ] [ -m mailTo ] [ -P printer ] [ -r ] [ -R remoteAccount ] [ -s ] [ -T title ] [ -U user ] [ -V ] [ -w width ] [ -X userfile ] [ -Y ] [ -Z options ] [ -1,2,3,4 font ] [ -- ] [ filename ... ]


Lpr uses a spooling daemon to print the named files when facilities become available. If no names appear, the standard input is assumed.


The authentication type is set by the value of the AUTH environment variable.
Do filtering of job files by the filters specified by the printcap. Combine the output of the filtering operation into a single job file and then send the single file to the lpd print spooler.
-b, -l
either of these flags specifies a binary or literal file, and no (or minimal) processing is to be done by the print spooling system. Printed using the f format filter (:if=... or :filter=...).
-C class
Specify the job classification for use on the burst page and to set the priority. Priorities range from A (lowest) to Z (highest); the default priority is A. For example,
lpr -C B foo.c
sets the priority/class to B and the file foo.c is printed.
-D debugoptions
Debugging is controlled using the -D option. This accepts a comma-separated list of debugging settings. These settings take one of two forms: facility=value, or value to set an overall default value.
-F filterformat
Filter or format specification. By default, input is assumed to a standard text file and the f format is used; the output device is assumed to be a simple line printer. Other formats available are listed below. Not all formats may be available on all printers; see printcap(5) for details. Formats are single lower case letters; the following are the valid arguments for -F together with the assumed type of data. For compatibility with previous versions of lpr, the format types can be used as options themselves (i.e. by omitting the F) except where noted below, a warning may be issued in such cases.
Similar to the -B option, but only processes individual files.
No banner or header for this job.
-i indentcols
Indent input by indentcols. Note that this option is not supported on all printers.
-J jobname
Specify the job name to print on the burst page; defaults to the name of files in the job or (STDIN) if input is from a pipe.
-Kcopies, -#copies
Specify the number of copies of each file to be printed. You may or may not get the requested number of copies depending on the intelligence of the remote printing system.
lpr normally creates a temporary file for the input read from stdin before sending it to the remote printer. The -k (kut-through) option will simply copy from STDIN to the destination print spooling system. If you kill the job in the middle of creation then the partly transferred file will get printed. This option may not work with very large jobs, non-LPRng spoolers, or when you have encryption or authentication enabled.
-m mailTo
Send mail upon unsuccessful completion to user mailTo. The mailTo value has been used to do such things as specify email (user@host), paging (page:user@host), both (user@host,page:user@host) and all sorts of other notifier information. See the LPRng HOWTO for details on how this is implemented.
-P printer
By default, the destination printer is taken from the command line -P printer value, then the environment variables PRINTER, LPDEST, NPRINTER, NGPRINTER, then first entry in the printcap information, and and finally the default_printer entry from the configuration file, and then the compile time default.
-R remoteAccount
Specify accounting information to be used by a remote system that prints your output.
This parameter can be used to specify a billing code to be charged for the printing.
The DREADED REMOVE AFTER PRINTING option. Beware, for lpr will delete the files after spooling them. Present by demand from users for compatibility with other Berkeley lpr implementation, but really should NOT be present.
-T title
Specify the title used by pr(1); defaults to the file name.
-U username
The -U option is used to specify a user name for the job. This is available only to ROOT or users listed in the allow_user_setting configuration option. This is obviously a security loophole, but it is present to allow systems such as SAMBA to submit jobs on behalf of users. See Authenticated Transfers below.
Verbose mode. Additional -V flags increase verbosity. Use debug flags for extreme verbosity.
-w width
Specify the page width for printing the job.
-X path
User specified filter for job files. Processing is done on the client host.
Make a direct connection to the printer device and do not spool.
-Z options
Pass the specified options to the print spooler. Used when additional or specialized information must be provided to the spooler.
OBSOLETE OPTIONS Lower case -c, -d, -g, -n, -t, -v
Used to indicate: -c is data produced by cifplot(l), -d is tex(l) (DVI format from Stanford), -g is standard plot data as produced by the plot(3X) routines, -n and -t is output from (device independent) troff, -v a raster image for devices like the Benson Varian. These are obsolete. These are retained for historical compatibility, but most of their functionality has been replaced by the abilities of the printer support system to determine the file type and do the appropriate conversions.
This is obsolete. This option is retained for historical compatibility, but this functionality should be implemented on the client system before sending the job to the printer. Use pr(1) to format the files, then print using f format. This may not be supported on the print system.
This flag is included for compatibility with other versions of lpr. In these versions it will create a symbolic link to the files to be printed. Lpr now sends files directly to the server and it is irrelevant.
OBSOLETE OPTIONS -1,2,3,4fontname
Specify a font to be mounted on font position i for TROFF printing (Obsolete).


By default, if no filenames are specified lpr will read stdin and print it.


The original LPR network protocol defined in RFC1179 did not provide for user to server authentication. This is now supported by LPRng. See the LPRng support documentation for details on its operation and support.


The LPRng version of lpr attempts to be functionally compatible with common implementations of lpr. However, there are some commands and functionality that are deliberately missing.
-s Symbolic Links
(Berkeley LPR) This option specified that a symbolic link to the original data file rather than a copy of the data file was to be used when spooling jobs. This opens up a variety of security problems, as well as being ineffective when printing to a remote host.


LPRng supports ultra-lightweight printing by eliminating the need for a print spooler. This is quite dangerous, but makes the lpr client very lightweight. The -Y command line option and the :direct printcap option enables lpr to connect directly to a specified port or use a program to send a job. This filter also enables client side filtering, so if there are any filters specified in the printcap entry they will be used. For example:
lpr -Y -Phost%port file1 file2 ...
 approximately equivalent to:
   for i in file1 file2 ...; do
     ${filter} <$i;
  # ${filter} is filter from printcap
   done  >host%port (TCP/IP connection)
lpr -Y -Phost%port -X userfilter file1 file2 ... approximately equivalent to: for i in file1 file2 ...; do userfilter <$i; done >host%port (TCP/IP connection)
Summary: -P host%port > TCP/IP connection to host%port -P /dev/lp > /dev/lp -P '|/program' | /program
SPECIAL CASE lpr -Y -Ppr@host -X userfilter file1 file2 ... approximately equivalent to: for i in file1 file2 ...; do userfilter <$i >temp.$i; done lpr -Ppr@host temp.file1 temp.file2
The -B option or the :lpr_bounce is used to filter and make a single file out of a set of print files and then forward them.
lpr -B -Ppr@host
  approximately equivalent to:
   lpr -Y -P/tmp/tempfile file1 file2 ...
   lpr -Ppr@host /tmp/tempfile
You can also use a printcap entry and the :direct options.
lpr -Plp file1 file2
   Same as:
lpr -Plp -Y -Ph14%9100 file1 file2
The :remote_support option is used to prevent the lpq and lpc program from attempting to send jobs to the device.


By default, the destination printer is taken from the command line -P printer value, then the environment variables PRINTER, LPDEST, NPRINTER, NGPRINTER, then first entry in the printcap information, and and finally the default_printer entry from the configuration file, and then the compile time default.


The following exit values are returned:
zero (0)
Successful completion.
non-zero (!=0)
An error occurred.


The printer names and other information is obtained by using a printcap file or some other database. The ${HOME}/.printcap file can be used to specify user level options and configuration information. See printcap(5) for more information.


The files used by LPRng are set by values in the printer configuration file. The following are a commonly used set of default values.
/etc/lprng/lpd.conf	LPRng configuration file
${HOME}/.printcap	user printer description file
/etc/printcap	printer description file
/etc/lprng/lpd.perms	permissions
/var/run/lprng/lpd	lock file for queue control
/var/spool/lpd		spool directories
/var/spool/lpd/QUEUE/control	queue control
/var/spool/lpd/QUEUE/log	trace or debug log file
/var/spool/lpd/QUEUE/acct	accounting file
/var/spool/lpd/QUEUE/status	status file


lpd.conf(5), lpc(8), lpd(8), checkpc(8), lpq(1), lprm(1), checkpc(8), printcap(5), lpd.perms(5), pr(1).


Patrick Powell <>.


Most of the diagnostics are self explanatory. If you are puzzled over the exact cause of failure, set the debugging level on (-D5) and run again. The debugging information will help you to pinpoint the exact cause of failure.


LPRng is a enhanced printer spooler system with functionality similar to the Berkeley LPR software. The LPRng developer mailing list is; subscribe by visiting or sending mail to with the word subscribe in the body.
The software is available via
2006-12-09 LPRng