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UBC Mathematics: MathNet FAQ [Missing Printout]

UBC Mathematics: MathNet FAQ [Missing Printout]

Question: Where does/did my printout go?
Author: Joseph Tam
Date: Jun 9, 2010

Note: As of Dec. 1, 2005, the default printer for public workstations has been set to null i.e. your printout is thrown away. You must set the printer where you want your print jobs sent to. See FAQ subject on how to set the printer:

How do I set the printer that my print jobs should go to?

To find the location of the various public printers, you ought to check this FAQ item:

What public printers can I use and where are they located?


To find which printer is the default printer using Windows, go to the printer control panel:

Start -> Settings -> Printers
The default printer will have a check mark over the icon.

Unix (Linux, Solaris)

Under Unix, the default printer can be found by looking at the output of

For example, the output may look like
	Printer: pulp@viol  'HP4300, Rm125 (duplex)'
	 Queue: no printable jobs in queue
	 Status: job 'smith@viol+232' removed at 20:15:34.286
	 Filter_status: done at 20:15:34.271
The default printer is named "pulp" and it's located in Rm125. The last printout was sent by user "smith" at 20:15:34. To send it to a particular printer, you can supply the "-P" flag to the print command:
lpr -Ppulp file ...
If you have a missing printout, first make sure that the printer you intended to print to to was actually the printer used (Unix: use the lpq command to see that your username was the last finished job and that the room location is what you expect). If the printout is still missing, it could be that
  • You sent it to the wrong printer. Don't just keep resending your printout without finding out what happended to it.

  • Somebody mistakenly took your output.

  • You have not set the printer that your print job should go to and sent it to the default 'null' printer. See note at top of this page.

  • The file has Postscript errors and can't be printed. Try viewing the file with Ghostscript to see if it is well formed. Also, try printing from within the same room as the printer so that you can observe the printer. If you suspect it is a Postscript error, contact the IT staff.

  • You are trying to print something other than letter size (8.5x11.0inch) paper. This is especially common with European print-ready files formatted for A4 size appear which is not commonly used in North America. You'll may have to reformat the paper in this case. Check the LCD window to see if it complains about not being able to supply the correct size paper.

  • The printer is jammed or is out of paper - the output of "lpq" will have pending jobs to be printed (and your is last in line) and the LCD window on the printer has an error condition. In this case, contact the IT staff. Unless you know what you are doing, don't try to repair it yourself.

  • You tried to print a file the printer does not understand. You ought to get a shingle sheet stating that it could not print your file format. In this case you'll need to convert the file format to something the printer can understand (like Postscript).

  • Configuration screw up: if you cannot explain why a print job disappeared, contact the IT staff. We can't fix it if we don't know about it.