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Web Print (Driver-less printing via a web browser)

Web PrintWeb Print enables printing from user-owned devices without the need to install printer drivers and manage server authentication. is a driver-less printing service that allows users to print by uploading documents from a web browser. No client software or driver installation is required. Web Print provides a simple way to enable printing for laptop, wireless, and anonymous users, without the overhead of installing printer drivers and managing server authentication.

Note:

Web Print is not available on direct print queues. To offer this service to your users, set up a server queue for this device/printer.

The growth in popularity of laptops and other small devices such as Netbooks and smart phones is changing the landscape of network printing. There is now a growing need to support casual printing from user-owned devices. Educating users about how to configure these devices can be inconvenient and complicated, due to issues such as drivers and authentication, and in some situations might not be possible at all.

Due to this complexity, many organizations do not allow printing from user-owned systems. A common workaround in these environments is for users to send themselves a document (e.g. via email, on a USB drive) and print from an in-house system. Web Print works in a similar way: it allows a user to upload their file to an in-house system (known as a Web Print server) and have this system perform the printing on their behalf.

With Web Print, users are authenticated when they log in to the PaperCut NG user web interface. Any documents they upload can then be tracked against their user name. Users have access to the standard features normally available for in-house printing, including access to shared accounts.

Figure 53: Web Print architecture overview

Key Features

Some of the key features of PaperCut's Web Print solution include:

  • Simple wizard style interface, accessed from any web browser.

  • Users authenticate with their regular (network / domain) logins.

  • 100% web based. No drivers, client software, or browser plugins required.

  • File uploads with progress indicator (in the style of GMail attachment uploads).

  • Supports popular document formats including PDF, DOC/DOCX (and other Microsoft Office Word formats), XLS/XLSX (and other Microsoft Office Excel Formats), PPT/PPTX (and other Microsoft Office PowerPoint formats) and Microsoft XPS (XML Paper Specification). Web Print also supports common image formats including JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF and BMP.

  • Users select printers from an auto-generated list or a clickable printer map, which you can design or import using open standards and free software.

Introduction to Web Print

Web Print works in two ways.

  • It can print PDF and picture files directly.

  • It can accept popular file formats and convert them to print jobs using common external applications. This is done by orchestrating applications such as Adobe Reader TM, Microsoft Office TM and the Microsoft XPS Viewer as background server-side tasks. Using this approach ensures that maximum print compatibility and quality is maintained.

Important:

Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office and XPS Viewer are not supplied with PaperCut. It is your responsibility to purchase and conform to the licensing requirements of any third party software.

Supported Applications and File Formats

The following table lists the supported document types and associated applications that Web Print can use to render and print jobs. Before some file formats can be accepted as an upload, you must install its supporting application.

Table 54: Web Print File Formats and Applications
Document Type File Format(s) Direct PrintingDirect Printing allows you to print directly from a desktop to a printer, without the need for a print server. Supported External Applications
Portable Document Format PDF Support built-in (all platforms) Adobe Reader 9, Adobe Reader X (10), Adobe Reader XI (11)
Picture File JPEG, TIF, BMP, PNG, GIF Support built-in (Windows only)
Spreadsheet XLS, XLSX, etc. External application required Microsoft Office Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016
Presentation PPT, PPTX, etc. External application required Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016
Word Document DOC, DOCX, etc. External application required Microsoft Office Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016
Microsoft XPS XPS External application required Microsoft XPS Standalone Viewer (Essentials Pack) - For more information see XPS Viewer Installation Instructions

Security Considerations

Before setting up Web Print it is worth considering any security implications. Because Web Print allows any user with access to the PaperCut NG user web interface the ability to upload a document for printing, it naturally increases surface area for attack.

More specifically, security vulnerabilities that might usually be considered local, because they are triggered by opening a document in a Microsoft Office application or Adobe Reader can become a remote vulnerability. This is because these same applications are used to render print jobs on the server after the user has uploaded their document.

You can mitigate much of the security risk through security best practice, such as regularly applying security updates to the orchestrated applications. Organizations that are very security conscious might consider the sandbox approach. Sandboxing the Web Print server provides an extra layer of protection/isolation.


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