FAQs: Printing with Userful Desktop

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Copyright © 2007-2012 Userful Corporation. All rights reserved.
(Updated 2012.12.05)

  This page is also available in:   English, Español, Français, Português, Deutsch  

If you can't find what you're looking for here, return to the Userful Desktop FAQs page.

Printer Setup and Configuration

Q: How do I set up a printer in Userful Desktop?

Use the Print Configuration Tool. Setting up a printer involves the following basic steps:

  1. Set up your printer and cables as instructed by the manufacturer.
  2. Go into Administrator Mode in Userful Desktop.
  3. Use the Printer Configuration tool to set up the printer driver.

For detailed instructions, please see the following documents:

Q: Why isn't print cost notification working?

It could be your printer settings. Configuration of print cost notifications requires the following basic steps:

  1. Set up your Print Payment Policy in Userful Manager.
  2. Apply it to your computers.
  3. Make sure your printer options are set properly.

For detailed instructions, please see Printing Guide - Print Cost Notifications.

Q: Why did I receive the message "Unable to open USB device"?

With a USB printer, you might get a message like this:

Unable to open USB device “usb:/dev/usb/lp0”: No such device

This indicates that the printer is not communicating properly with the computer. Printers occasionally need to be rebooted. Please do the following:

  1. Power off the printer and unplug the USB cable.
  2. Power it on again.
  3. Once the printer finishes its warm-up procedure, reconnect the USB cables.
  4. Try printing again.

If this does not resolve the problem, reboot Userful Desktop then try printing again. If the problem persists, report the problem to Userful Customer Support.

Print Job Management

Q: What if my print job queue is blocked or print jobs are not printing?

Sometimes a print job will cause printing problems, possibly for all stations using the same print server. Or, a user may have started several extra print jobs, and one or more are still sitting in the print queue waiting to print. In either case, you can use CUPS (Common Unix/Linux Printing System) to clean things up.

Checking and managing your printers and print job queue involves the following basic steps:

  1. Start the CUPS print management tool.
  2. Start the print job queue or clear jobs from the queue as needed.

For detailed instructions, please see the Userful Desktop Printing Guide.

Q: What if my print job doesn't print out?

There are various possible reasons that may cause problems with printing. Here are the most common ones in the order they should be checked:

  • If you are printing an PDF file, the file may contain some non-standard codes in it. Try printing it one page at a time.
  • The file you are printing may have faulty print codes in it.

Check the Printer

Consult your printer manual if necessary as you go through these questions.

  1. Is the printer turned off or offline? ("Offline" means it is on but not accepting print jobs.)
    • Check the printer's status display or lights to verify this. If it is off, turn it back on, wait for it to come back online. Check to make sure it is not displaying errors (or lights indicating a problem).
    • Check the printer's power cable and printer cable and make sure they are firmly connected. (The printer cable may be a USB cable, a parallel cable, or a network cable.)
  2. Is there a paper jam? Check the printer's status display.
  3. Is the printer out of paper? Check the printer's status display.
  4. Is the printer out of ink? Check the printer's status display.
  5. Is the printer a network printer?
    • If so, determine if other computers such as other Userful Desktops (not connected to the same computer with the problem) or a staff computer can print to it. If no other computers can print to it, the networked printer is likely disconnected from the network or its IP address has changed.
  6. Can you print a test page from the printer itself?
    • Check that the printer itself is working by using the test print button(s) on the printer. If this test print does not work, there is a problem with your printer. Consult your printer manual for troubleshooting help, and contact the printer manufacturer for technical support.)
  7. Is there a problem with the printer cable itself?
    • If all the above checks still do not solve the problem, try replacing the printer cable with another one to make sure the cable is not faulty. (The printer cable may be a USB cable, a parallel cable, or a network cable.)

Check the Print Queue

Follow the instructions in "Print Job Administration" to help check the following:

  1. Is the print job not appearing in the print queue?

If these troubleshooting steps fail to resolve the printing issue, please report the problem to Userful Support.

Printing From Applications

Q: How can I print-preview from a Web browser?

Follow these steps:

For Firefox or Epiphany:

  1. Start up a Web browser.
  2. Find the Web page you wish to print-preview.
  3. Click on File > Print Preview.

Q: What if I'm having trouble printing from the installed office suite?

Sometimes installed office suite does not pick up all available printers and properly select a default printer.

You can check which printer office suite application is printing to by using File > Print... and seeing which printer name is automatically displayed. If the printer that office suite application is printing to is called "Generic Printer", please follow these steps:

  1. Save your document and close application. You can use File > Exit or click on the X at the top-right of the window.
  2. Double-click on your document file to open it again.
  3. Try printing again.

Q: Why do some Web pages print out as gibberish?

Some Web pages are designed to only use specific fonts; fonts that are not available on all computers. Web browsers are smart enough to simply substitute other fonts, but printing software is not so smart. This is why you may see images print out fine, but text comes out as a garbled mess of characters.

There are two different problems involved here, so there are two workarounds. Please try the first one; if it does not work, try the second one.

Solution 1

Change the default font of your Web browser. This is only a temporary workaround, since the default font will switch back once you end the session. So this workaround should only be used in the session having the printing problem. We will make this fix a permanent one soon.


  1. Start the Web browser and find the Web page that is causing printing problems.
  2. Set the default font in the Web browser to a DejaVu font.
    • Firefox:
      1. Go to Edit > Preferences > Content
      2. Default Font should be set to DejaVu Serif.
      3. Click on Advanced... on the right of Default Font.
      4. At the top it should say Fonts for: Western.
      5. Serif should be set to DejaVu Serif.
      6. Sans-serif should be set to DejaVu Sans.
      7. Monospace should be set to DejaVu Sans Mono.
      8. Click OK and then Close.
    • Epiphany:
      1. Go to Edit > Preferences > Fonts & Style > Detailed Font Settings.
      2. At the top it should say For language: Western.
      3. Variable width should be set to DejaVu Serif.
      4. Fixed width should be set to DejaVu Sans Mono.
      5. Click Close in the Preferences dialog windows.
  3. Try printing again.

Solution 2

If you are still having the same problem with printing, we have a package that can be installed that circumvents this problem. Please contact Userful Customer Support and inform them of this issue.