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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Printers and other output devices bridge the ethereal world inside our computers and the tangible world outside. We can use them to obtain physical representations of our digital concepts, and to create relatively permanent records of our activities and projects. They also have myriad settings that can affect the appearance of our printouts.

Even though we live in a digital age, our day-to-day lives are still firmly rooted in paper. For the average Mac user, printing usually involves plugging in an inkjet printer and forgetting about it. For designers, however, there's a lot more involved. Your print devices often include inkjet and laser printers, and plate and film imagers. Understanding how these technologies work with Mac OS X makes it much easier to create outputs that are correct, or just to print invoices for your clients.

Setting Up Printers

Mac OS X uses an application called Printer Setup Utility to set up and manage your printers ( Figure 3.1 ). It's hiding on your hard drive in Applications > Utilities. Since Apple includes a large selection of printer drivers with Tiger, you may be able to get away with simply plugging your printer into your Mac or network. If the printer connects directly to your Mac, all you need is a USB cable. If you have a networked printer, you'll need an Ethernet cable. If you aren't sure about the whole networking thing, check out Chapter 6, "Networking."


Figure 3.1 All the controls you need to add, remove, modify, and monitor your printers are in Printer Setup Utility.

If the necessary printer driver is included with Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger, local printers, meaning printers that are connected directly to your Mac, should automatically appear in the printer list when you print; no extra steps are required. If the printer doesn't appear in the list, or if it is a networked printer, you'll have to manually add it.

  1. Click the Add button at the top of the Printer List window. The Printer Browser window opens to the Default Browser and shows you a list of available printers ( Figure 3.2 ). Don't worry about the IP Printer button for now. We'll get to that shortly.

    Figure 3.2 The Printer Browser window lists all of the printers you can use if they are connected directly to your Mac or on the same network as you are.

  2. Click the printer you want to add from the list of available printers.
  3. Click the Add button in the lower right corner of the window.

If your printer doesn't show up in the list of available devices in the Printer Setup Utility Printer List window, that's OK. Some printers don't show up automatically. Here's how to add the stubborn ones:

  1. Click the Add button at the top of the Printer List window.
  2. Click the More Printers button in the Printer Browser window to open the More Printers pane.
  3. Use the pop-up menu at the top of the pane to select the connection type your printer uses. For example, if you have an Epson printer connected to your Mac via USB, choose Epson USB from the menu ( Figure 3.3 ).

    Figure 3.3 The pop-up menu in the More Printers pane lists all of the connection types that are currently available. Choosing the connection for your printer forces your Mac to look in only one place for available printers. Selecting Epson USB, for example, tells your Mac to look for any Epson printer that's connected to your Mac with a USB cable.

  4. Choose your printer from the list.
  5. Click the Add button.

Adding Print Drivers

Even though Mac OS X has an amazing number of drivers preinstalled, Apple can't keep up with every printer and output device on the market, so you may have to add drivers yourself. This is more common with high-end output devices like direct-to-film and direct-to-plate systems than it is with run-of-the-mill laser and inkjet printers.

Always start by visiting the manufacturer's Web site and downloading the latest drivers for your printer, even if you have an installation disk. It's fairly common for manufacturers to issue new and updated drivers that won't be on the disk that shipped with your printer. Downloading the drivers from the manufacturer's Web site ensures that you always have the latest and greatest drivers, which usually fix bugs, as well as add new or improved functionality. As an example, one of my printers is capable of duplex, or two-sided, printing, but I couldn't take advantage of the feature until an updated printer driver was released. Unfortunately, you may not know about a feature your printer has until an updated driver is available.

Printer drivers are typically delivered in installer applications, sometimes called packages, that handle the dirty work of putting all the necessary files and drivers where they need to go. Simply double-click the installer and follow the instructions. You may need to enter your administrator password before the installer can do its job. Once the installer finishes, you can add your printer through Printer Setup Utility as if the driver had been there all along. In some cases, the installer automatically runs a script that finds and adds the printer to your list so you don't have to.

GIMP Printer Drivers

As sad as it seems, not every printer manufacturer sees the value in creating printer drivers for the Mac. In some cases they write drivers, but don't take the time to write high-quality drivers or ones that are fully functional. Enter Gimp-Print, an open-source printer-driver system that Mac OS X takes advantage of to add hundreds of printers that otherwise wouldn't work with your Mac. In Mac OS X v10.3, the drivers were included; you just had to know how to find them. In Mac OS X v10.4, they show up along with all of the other preinstalled drivers in the Print Using pop-up menu in the Printer Browser window ( Figure 3.4 ). GIMP-Print drivers are easy to pick out from the print driver list: look for Gimp-Print after the printer driver's name.


Figure 3.4 GIMP printer drivers are easy to spot: They always include the word Gimp right after the printer model. GIMP printer drivers aren't made by your printer's manufacturer, but sometimes they give you more options than the official driver does.

If you find that the printer driver you currently have assigned to your printer doesn't offer all of the features you expect, check to see if there is a Gimp-Print version available in the Print Using list.

  1. Choose your printer manufacturer from the Print Using pop-up menu.
  2. Scan the list for a version of your output device that also includes Gimp-Print in its name. As an example, if you have an HP DesignJet 2500C, the official HP driver is called HP DesignJet 2500CP PS3. The Gimp-Print version of the driver is called HP DesignJet 2500C – Gimp-Print.
  3. Select the printer driver you want to use.
  4. Click Add.

Manually Choosing a Printer Driver

Sometimes printers don't correctly identify themselves to your Mac, giving you the "Driver not installed" error. If you know the printer driver is installed, you can select it yourself in the Printer Browser window.

  1. Select the printer manufacturer from the Print Using pop-up menu ( Figure 3.5 ).

    Figure 3.5 Select your printer's manufacturer from the Print Using pop-up menu if you have to manually select the correct driver.

  2. Choose the printer from the model list that appears just below the Print Using pop-up menu.
  3. Click Add.

Not all print shops and service bureaus stay up-to-date with the latest equipment, so if you connect your Mac to their network to output files, you may need to use a PostScript printer description file that was written for Mac OS 9 and never updated for Tiger. For instance, you may have a printer description file that someone copied from an older Mac OS 9 machine and then e-mailed to you ( Figure 3.6 ). In this situation, you will have to manually add the printer driver too.

  1. Save the printer description file in a folder that's easy for you to find. I made a folder called Printer Descriptions in my Documents folder.
  2. Click the Add button in Printer Setup Utility's Printer List window.
  3. Select the printer you want to add in the Printer Browser window.
  4. Choose Other from the Print Using pop-up menu.
  5. Use the standard Open dialog to navigate to the location where you saved the printer description file.
  6. Select the printer description file.
  7. Click the Open button.
  8. Click Add in the Printer Browser window.

Figure 3.6 PostScript printer description files that were developed for Mac OS 9 will work in Tiger, but they aren't always easy to identify. The printer description file on the top is for the HP LaserJet 5000; the one on the bottom is for a Fiery XJ 800 RIP.

IP Printers

Some networked printers and RIP servers won't show up in the Printer Browser window because they use their IP addresses to identify themselves on your network. An IP address is just a specially crafted unique number that identifies a device on your network. It is always a set of four numbers separated by periods—for example, Whoever set up or manages your network should be able to tell you if any of your printers are IP printers instead of AppleTalk printers. They can also tell you the IP addresses of the printers you need to use. To learn more about networking and IP addresses, see Chapter 6.

Here's how to add an IP-based output device to your printer list:

  1. Find the IP address of the printer you want to add.
  2. Click the Add button at the top of the Printer List window.
  3. Click the IP Printer button at the top of the Printer Browser window ( Figure 3.7 ).

    Figure 3.7 Clicking the IP Printer button opens the IP Printer pane of the Printer Browser window, where you can enter your printer's network address.

  4. In the IP Printer pane, from the Protocol pop-up menu select the type of communication protocol the printer uses.
  5. Enter the printer's IP address in the Address field.
  6. If you have a special name for the print queue, enter it in the Queue field. If not, leave the Queue field blank.
  7. If your output device's printer description doesn't appear in the Print Using field, click the pop-up menu and select the appropriate description.
  8. Click Add.

Be sure to enter the information exactly as it is given to you. Capitalization, spelling, and punctuation must be accurate.

Hiding or Showing Printers in Your List

I have several printers in my office, plus I output to different devices when I travel, or if I'm at a vendor, service bureau, or print shop. My printer list, even after pruning output devices I know I won't use again, has grown to more than 20 devices.

If your printer list is like mine, and is getting long enough that it's difficult to find specific printers, hide the printers you don't use regularly.

  1. Launch System Preferences by choosing Apple menu > System Preferences.
  2. Select the Print & Fax icon.
  3. On the Print & Fax preference pane, click the Printing tab to display a list of every printer you have set up ( Figure 3.8 ).

    Figure 3.8 The Print & Fax preference pane lists all of the printers you have set up, regardless of whether they are currently available.

  4. Uncheck the boxes next to the names of the printers you want to temporarily hide. To make a printer visible again, simply recheck its box.

Setting a Default Printer

Your default printer is the one that is automatically selected each time you go to print from any application. My default printer is an HP LaserJet 5000 for two reasons: It's the printer I use most often in my office, and it prevents me from accidentally sending a document to a printer that's expensive to use, such as a 44-inch wide-format DirectJet, or a film and plate imaging system.

To set a specific printer or other output device as your default printer, you need to use Printer Setup Utility (Applications > Utilities).

  1. Launch Printer Setup Utility.
  2. From the Printer List, select the printer you want to set as your default.
  3. Click the Make Default button.

You can also set your default printer in the Print & Fax preference pane. Here's how:

  1. Launch System Preferences (Apple menu > System Preferences).
  2. Click the Print & Fax icon.
  3. Click the Printing tab.
  4. Select the printer you want to use as your default from the Selected Printer in Print Dialog pop-up menu ( Figure 3.9 ).

    Figure 3.9 You can use the Print & Fax preference pane to set your default printer too. Choose the printer you want from the Selected Printer in Print Dialog pop-up menu.

Setting Up a Shared Printer

Just because your inkjet or desktop laser printer isn't necessarily a network device doesn't mean that you can't share it with other designers in your office. The quick and dirty way to share your printers is tucked away in the Sharing preference pane of System Preferences.

  1. Launch System Preferences (Apple menu > System Preferences).
  2. Select the Sharing icon.
  3. Click the Services tab if it isn't already selected.
  4. Check the Printer Sharing box ( Figure 3.10 ).

    Figure 3.10 The Printer Sharing option in the Sharing preference pane is fine if your Mac is the only one with a printer and you want to share it with everyone else in your office. It makes a mess of your printer list, however, if you have any networked printers set up there: They'll show up as duplicates for everyone else.

I call this "quick and dirty" because you end up sharing all of the printers from your printer list, even printers that may already be on the network. That's confusing because everyone else sees the printer on the network, along with the duplicate that you are sharing. It gets worse if several people are sharing the same printers because the list of duplicates keeps growing.

The better way to share a printer lives in the Print & Fax preference pane:

  1. Launch System Preferences (Apple menu > System Preferences).
  2. Select the Print & Fax icon.
  3. In the Print & Fax preference pane, click the Sharing tab.
  4. On the sharing tab, check the "Share these printers with other computers" box ( Figure 3.11 ).

    Figure 3.11 The Print & Fax preference pane gives you a much more elegant way to share your printers. First check the "Share these printers with other computers" box, and then uncheck the boxes for the printers you don't want to share. Be sure to deselect any networked printers so that they don't double up in everyone else's printer list.

  5. The list of printers you see includes all of the printers you have set up for your Mac. Uncheck the boxes for the printers you don't want to share or that others can already see on your network.

Pooling Printers

If you have more than one of the same printer, or similar printers, you can group them together in a printer pool. The advantage of a printer pool is that you don't need to worry about figuring out which printer is currently available before you output a job. Instead, choose your printer pool as an output device; your Mac will print to the first available printer.

This is really handy if you work in an environment where several people are printing documents at the same time. The downside is that you don't get any feedback telling you which printer your output went to. You have to check each device until you find your print job.

To set up a printer pool, launch Printer Setup Utility (Applications > Utilities).

  1. Select the printers you want to add to your pool.
  2. Choose Pool Printers from the Printers menu.
  3. Give your pool a descriptive name like Black & White Proofs or Color Printers.
  4. Click the Create button.

Printer pools show up in your Printer List just as any other output device does.

Desktop Printers

Desktop printers link you to a window that shows the current status of a specific printer. You can have individual desktop printers for all of your output devices ( Figure 3.12 ). When you double-click a desktop printer icon, you can see the status of printing or queued jobs, control what jobs print and in what order, and (for printers that support it) check your printer's toner or ink level. Without desktop printers, you have to launch Printer Setup Utility and then double-click on a printer in the Printer List window see this information.


Figure 3.12 Desktop printers give you quick access to the controls for a printer. Double-clicking one opens a window where you can start and stop print jobs, see what jobs are waiting to print, check ink and toner levels, and even order printer supplies from Apple.

If you have a core group of printers you use all the time—say a laser printer for proofs, direct-to-plate and direct-to-film systems, and a wide-format inkjet—and you need to monitor the status of the jobs you send to them, desktop printers will make your life much easier.

  1. To create a desktop printer, open Printer Setup Utility (Applications > Utilities).
  2. Select a printer by clicking it.
  3. From the Printers menu, choose Create Desktop Printer.
  4. Give your desktop printer a name in the Save As dialog.
  5. Click the Save button.

The default location for desktop printers is your Desktop. If you want to save the desktop printer somewhere else, that's OK. Either choose a location from the Where pop-up menu when you are naming your desktop printer, or move its icon after you create it.

If you no longer need a desktop printer, just drag it to the Trash. Only the desktop printer icon is deleted. Your original printer stays in the Printer List.

Working with Print Queues

Print queues let you manage the various jobs you are printing. When you print something, the queue for the printer you are sending the job to automatically appears in the Dock with an icon that represents your print device. The queue icon disappears after your job finishes printing. If you double-click the printer queue icon in your Dock, it shows the printer queue window ( Figure 3.13 ). This is the same window that opens when you double-click a desktop printer icon or double-click a printer name in Printer Setup Utility's Printer List window.


Figure 3.13 The printer queue window shows you any jobs that are printing to that output device, enables you to start and stop print jobs, and gives you one-button access to the printer's utilities.

Let's take a look at the components in a printer queue window.

The top of the window holds the buttons that control what happens to your print jobs, and the bottom of the window shows the jobs that are currently printing or waiting to print. Each printer queue window shows a specific printer, so print jobs show up in the queue for only the printer they are going to.

  • Start Jobs/Stop Jobs. The Start Jobs/Stop Jobs button is a toggle switch that enables or disables sending jobs to a printer. If the button displays Stop Jobs, then clicking it will prevent anything from printing to that specific printer. If the button displays Start Jobs, clicking it allows data to pass to the printer again.Stopping a print queue is useful if you have several documents to print but need to wait until other jobs have finished. Stop the print queue, and then print your documents. They will stack up in the print queue waiting for you to click the Start Jobs button before they move on to the printer.
  • Delete, Hold, and Resume. Selecting a job in your print queue brings the buttons at the top left of the printer queue window to life. The Delete button deletes the currently selected job; the Hold button puts the selected job on hold, keeping it in the queue until you are ready to print it; and the Resume button releases a job that is already on hold so that it can print.
  • Utility. If your printer has a utility application for functions like monitoring ink levels and aligning or cleaning print heads, the Utility button activates it for you. The information you see here depends on the type of printer you have. Some printers, in fact, don't display anything here at all.
  • Supply Levels. The Supply Levels button shows how much ink, toner or other consumables your printer still has. This feature works only if your printer supports it.
  • Completed. The Completed tab shows you a log of previously printed documents. The list includes the filename, the status of the print job (Finished or Canceled), and the date and time of the print job. This is useful for job tracking, especially if a print job is missing and you need to prove that you output it.

Preview Before Printing

Mac OS X can create an onscreen preview of a document you are about to print, which is useful if you want to get an idea of what an output looks like before taking the time to send it to your printer and potentially waste toner, ink, time, and money.

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. Click the Preview button in the Print dialog ( Figure 3.14 ).

    Figure 3.14 The Preview button in standard Print dialogs renders your document as a PDF so that you can see what it should look like before sending it to your output device. The PDF version of your document displays in Apple's Preview application, so some transparency effects may not look exactly the same as in your printed piece.

  3. If your document looks like what you expect, click Print to continue or Cancel to return to your document without printing. You can also use the Soft Proof option to see what a color document will look like if you are printing it to a black and white printer ( Figure 3.15 ).

    Figure 3.15 The Soft Proof option simulates what a color document will look like if you are printing to a black and white device. If you are printing to a color device, it doesn't change how your preview looks.

Soft Proofing toggles the document between how it looks onscreen and how it should look after it is printed. If your document is in color, but you are printing it on a black and white device, Soft Proof shows what your output will look like in black and white. If you are printing a color document to a color printer, the Soft Proof option is disabled.

Print Dialog Options

Applications such as Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress have their own printing options and disable the printing options that are built into Apple's Print dialog. If you are printing from a professional page-layout or graphics application, always use the printing features built into the program instead of trying to use Apple's. On the other hand, if you are using an application that takes advantage of Apple's Print dialog, there are some options buried away that you can use. Let's take a look at the Print dialog.

To view the Print dialog, choose File > Print (Command-F) ( Figure 3.16 ).


Figure 3.16 This is a standard Print dialog. Most applications use this, but Adobe and Quark override it and display their own instead.

  • The Printer pop-up menu lets you select the output device you want to use. Your default printer is already selected.
  • The Presets pop-up menu lets you choose from customized groups of printer options and settings you have already created so that you don't have to select all of your custom settings each time you print a document. We'll talk about presets later in the chapter in the "Printer Presets" section.
  • The options and settings pop-up menu groups and organizes all of the printing options that a specific printer or output device can take advantage of. Depending on your printer, you may have more or fewer options. I'll focus on the options that you are most likely to see regardless of what output device you are using.

Copies & Pages

Using the Copies and Pages options, you can select the number of copies you need, whether or not they are collated, and the page range to print. Everything in this section is set by filling in a field or checking a box; it's pretty easy to figure out.


The Layout options handle two functions: printed page layout and duplexing ( Figure 3.17 ).


Figure 3.17 The Print Layout pane lets you control how many individual pages are printed on each sheet, and it also holds the controls for duplex, or two-sided, printing.

  • Pages per Sheet. The Pages per Sheet pop-up menu lets you choose the number of pages in your document that print on each sheet ranging from 1 to 16. Choosing 1 means that each document page prints on its own sheet. Choosing 4 means that four document pages will print on each sheet. This is handy for quick proofing, for mock ups, and to see how long documents look while saving paper.
  • Layout Direction. The Layout Direction buttons determine the order in which each document page prints on each sheet. The forward Z configuration is most like a traditional page: left to right, top to bottom. The backward Z is right to left, top to bottom. The backward N is top to bottom, left to right, and the forward N is top to bottom, right to left. Layout Direction is disabled if you are printing one page per sheet. I use this if I have several small pages, like business card proofs, that I want a client to look at. They can look at several at once, and I save paper.
  • Border. The Border pop-up menu lets you assign a page border when you are printing multiple pages on a sheet. The default option is None, but adding a page border makes it easier to see where the edge of each page is. Some clients have a hard time visualizing page edges if you output print samples that have several pages on the same sheet. Adding borders can really help.
  • Two-Sided. The Two-Sided radio buttons are available only if your printer supports duplexing, or two-sided printing. The default option, Off, is single-sided printing. "Long-edged binding" prints on both sides of the sheet and assumes that you are binding on the left, as with a book. "Short-edged binding" prints on both sides of the sheet and assumes you are binding at the top, as with a flip-chart.


Use the Scheduler options to specify when your job will print. The default option is Now. Setting a job to print at a later time is useful when you need to follow a print schedule and your workflow expects certain jobs to be available at a predetermined time. You can also schedule large, time-consuming files to print when your office is closed, freeing up your printers during business hours.

If you output large-format, high-resolution graphics, such as banners, signs, or mountable prints, try scheduling your largest file to start printing at the end of your workday. You don't have to remember to start the print job, and your output is waiting for you when you show up the next morning.

  • At. Choosing the At radio button lets you choose a specific time for your job to print. Use the time field to the right of the radio button to enter the time when your job should print.
  • On Hold. Choosing the On Hold radio button sends your job to the printer queue and leaves it on hold until you change its status in the printer queue. This is useful if you want to send a job to a printer but don't want it to print until you have the correct stock loaded, or if you need to wait for final approval before printing.
  • Priority. This pop-up menu determines how important a print job is compared with other jobs in your print queue. The standard priority is Medium. Changing the priority of a print job to High or Urgent will make it print before other jobs sent at the same time, and changing the priority to Low makes a job print after other jobs sent at the same time.

Paper Handling

With the Paper Handling options, you fine-tune the settings you chose in the Copies & Pages pane ( Figure 3.18 ), meaning you can change the output page order and paper size.


Figure 3.18 From the Paper Handling pane, you can override your printer's default order for outputting pages.

  • Page Order. The default Page Order option is Automatic. Many printers that output pages printed side up automatically print documents in reverse page order. This option lets printers that are smart enough choose the best order to print your pages in. The Normal option forces your printer to output pages in the order they appear in your document. Reverse forces your pages to print out with the last page in you document first, and the first page last.
  • Print. The Print option lets you choose whether all, odd-numbered, or even-numbered pages in your document print.
  • Destination Paper Size. With Destination Paper Size, you set the size of the paper you are printing on. Choosing "Scale to fit paper size" lets you scale your document up or down to fit an alternate sheet size. For example, if you are printing a letter-size sheet that bleeds on all four sides, you can output it to a tabloid-size sheet. Your document prints at full size without cutting off the bleed area. This is handy if you are creating a full-size mockup of a document for a client.


The ColorSync options are not what you use to set your system ColorSync options. Instead, this is where you select how to handle color management for your current print job and apply some special effects to your output. If you want to learn more about ColorSync and color management, check out Chapter 5, "Color Management."

  • Color Conversion. Choosing Standard from the Color Conversion pop-up menu tells your Mac to handle color management. If your color workflow is managed by your output device, choose In Printer. If you aren't sure, or you don't have a color-managed workflow, leave this option set to Standard.
  • Quartz Filter. Thanks to Tiger's systemwide graphic rendering technology, Quartz, you can apply special effects to your document at print time. The Quartz Filter pop-up menu lets you choose from several different special-effects filters, such as Sepia Tone, Blue Tone, and Reduce File Size.

Cover Page

The Cover Page options let you print an extra page with your document that contains additional information about the print job. Some agencies may find this useful for auditing and job billing information.

  • Print Cover Page. The default setting for printing cover pages is None. If you want to add a cover page to the beginning of your document, choose "Before document." If you want to add a cover page to the end, choose "After document."
  • Cover Page Type. The Cover Page Type pop-up menu includes Standard, Classified, Confidential, Secret, Top Secret, and Unclassified cover page templates. You can't add more, and they are not editable.
  • Billing Info. Use the Billing Info field to add the name, job number, or other identifying code you use to track whom should be billed for the job you are printing. The billing information gets added to the cover page.

Error Handling

Depending on your printer model and the drivers your Mac uses to communicate with it, you may have an Error Handling menu. This menu shows up more commonly in PostScript laser printers that support multiple paper trays.

  • PostScript Errors. By default, error reports are not generated when a job fails to print. If your printer supports this feature, however, you can choose "Print detailed report" from the Error Handling options. This is useful for troubleshooting documents that won't print no matter what you do.
  • Tray Switching. Some printers let you control whether or not they automatically switch paper trays when they run out of paper. The Tray Switching radio buttons let you choose to use the printer's default settings, automatically switch to another tray, or display an alert. The Tray Switching options are dimmed if your printer does not support them.

Paper Feed

If your printer has more than one paper tray or manual-feed capability, you can use the Paper Feed options to control which trays your print job pulls paper from ( Figure 3.19 ).


Figure 3.19 Use the Paper Feed options to force a print job to pull paper from a specific printer tray. You can also use them to pull the first page of your document from a different paper tray, which is useful if you need a different stock for the first page or if you want to add a slip sheet between copies of the document.

  • All Pages From. If you want all pages to pull from a specific tray or paper feed, use the "All Pages from" pop-up menu to select the tray you want. The default is Auto Select, which lets your output device choose where it should pull stock from.
  • "First Page from" and "Remaining from." If you want the first page of a multipage document to pull from one tray and all of the others to pull from a different tray, use the "First page from" and "Remaining from" pop-up menus.

Printer Features

The Printer Features options change based on your currently selected output device. What you see is determined by the printer description file, or printer driver, that your printer is using. If your output device is pretty limited in what it can do, or if the printer manufacturer neglected to add features when it created the printer driver, you won't see much here.

When I use my HP LaserJet 5000, my only option is a pop-up menu for choosing my media type. On the other hand, this printer includes two unique menus: Finishing and Image Quality. Other printers group these, or similar, options in the Printer Features options.

Application settings

Whatever application you are currently using can show its own set of options, too ( Figure 3.20 ). If your application adds a set of options, it appears below Printer Features and usually lists the application name plus the word Settings. For example, the text-editor application I use all the time, Tex-Edit Plus, shows up as Tex-Edit Plus Settings. Microsoft Word, on the other hand, shows up as just Microsoft Word.


Figure 3.20 The application settings options are application specific and vary depending on what application you are currently using. The options on the left are from Tex-Edit Plus, and the ones on the right are from Microsoft Word.

You can usually choose to print the even, the odd, or all pages in your document from here, as with the Paper Handling options. Some applications add more options that relate to the type of document you are outputting.


The Summary pane shows you a summary of all the settings you have selected for your document. If you created a complex group of output settings, this is the place to go before clicking Print. You can double-check everything from one window and look for mistakes before they cost you money. If you are about to output 500 books with 30 double-sided pages on custom stock, it's nice to know if you forgot to turn on duplexing before you see pages coming out of the printer.

Printer Presets

Modifying a bunch of printing settings can be a real pain, especially if you know you have to do it all over again the next time you need to print something. Using presets will help save your sanity and improve your productivity by saving time and reducing errors. After you make your changes in the Print dialog pop-up menus, save those changes in the Presets pop-up menu ( Figure 3.21 ).


Figure 3.21 After creating a complex group of printer settings, use the Presets menu to turn them into a group that you can select anytime you want.

After you finish creating your document output settings, do the following:

  1. Choose Save As from the Presets pop-up menu.
  2. Give your settings an appropriate name, like Black and White Only or Image Setter 133lpi.
  3. Click OK.

Now you can select those settings from the Presets pop-up menu instead of reentering them each time you need to print. In addition to saving time, you are reducing mistakes, since you don't have to worry about incorrectly selecting or forgetting a setting.

You can also rename or delete a printer-settings group from the Presets pop-up menu.

To rename a settings group:

  1. From the Presets pop-up menu, select the settings group you want to rename.
  2. Choose Rename from the Presets pop-up menu.
  3. Enter a new name in the Rename Preset To field.
  4. Click OK.

To delete a set:

  1. From the Presets pop-up menu, select the settings group you want to delete.
  2. Choose Delete from the Presets pop-up menu.

Unlike other parts of Mac OS X, here you don't get a dialog asking you what you want to delete, and you don't get any warning. The assumption is that the printer preset you have selected is the one you want to delete.

PDF Button

Mac OS X uses a technology called Display PDF to render everything you see onscreen as PostScript, giving you a much more accurate representation of what you will see when you print something. That also means you have the ability to create PDFs without having to install Acrobat. We'll go more in depth in Chapter 4, so for now, know that Mac OS X's built-in PDF tool is useful but isn't the best option for outputting professional jobs.

With that in mind, there are a couple of cool features hidden inside the PDF button that sits at the bottom left corner of the standard Print dialog ( Figure 3.22 ). If you are using Tiger's built-in faxing tools, this is where you find the Fax PDF option that lets you fax documents. I really like the Save PDF to Web Receipts Folder option. When I purchase something on the Internet, I use this to save my Web page receipt for my records.


Figure 3.22 The PDF button actually opens a menu. Click and hold it to see a wide range of PDF options, including Save as PDF and Fax PDF. Although you can create PDFs from here, they aren't created with the Adobe Distiller engine, so it shouldn't be used for final job outputs.

Faxing in Tiger

Mac OS X v10.3 and v10.4 include faxing capabilities. If you spend a lot of time faxing, a dedicated fax machine is probably a better option. On the other hand, Tiger's built-in faxing works just fine for occasional use. Here's how to fax from applications that don't override Apple's Print dialog with their own:

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. Click and hold on the PDF button in the Print dialog.
  3. Choose Fax PDF from the pop-up menu.
  4. In the dialog that opens, enter the phone number you want to fax your document to in the To field.
  5. If you want to include a message with your fax, enter that in the Message field.
  6. Click the Fax button to send your file.

Mac OS X's built-in faxing is pretty utilitarian. You can send and receive faxes, but that's about it. If you need to fax on a fairly regular basis, consider purchasing fax software. My favorite is pagesender, from SmileOnMyMac ( ( Figure 3.23 ). It's inexpensive, has robust logging, uses the information from several popular contact managers (including Apple's Address Book), and even shows up in print dialogs as if it were just another printer, working around Adobe and Quark's custom print dialogs.


Figure 3.23 If you plan to fax from your Mac on a regular basis, consider pagesender, from SmileOnMyMac, which offers a much more robust and complete feature set than Apple's Fax PDF option does.

Of course, your Mac needs a modem in order for faxing to work. iBooks and PowerBooks have a modem built in. Most G4 and—until fall 2005—G5 PowerMacs had a modem built in. Apple's Intel-based Macs, including the MacBook Pro, don't include a modem. Apple and several other companies sell external modems that connect to your Mac via USB, but if you don't already have a modem in your Mac, it's probably easier just to buy a fax machine.

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Last Update: November 17, 2020