System Notifications and Emailing

This section describes system notifications and how they can be configured to assist your users and administrators. PaperCut NG includes built-in notifications to alert users and administrators of a important pieces of information. Examples of these notifications include:

The message that is delivered to the user can be customized to suit your organization. For example, if the user is denied printing for some reason, you may wish to direct the user to the intranet page that discusses printing policies and guidelines.

Important

Notifications are important to your users because they let them know why their print jobs were denied. If notifications are not enabled, users print jobs might be deleted without them knowing and they will not understand what happened. They might then contact the Administrator or Help Desk for assistance. If they received a notification, then this situation is avoided.

System notifications can be delivered to the user in a number of ways, and the administrator can decide the preferred option. The delivery options available include:

Configuring Notifications

PaperCut NG provides flexible options for configuring the various notifications. The administrator can choose to:

  • Enable/disable each of the notification types.

  • Change the notification message to suit your organization.

  • Choose the delivery method for each notification type.

Notification text can be modified to suit your organization's requirements. The notification text is a template that can include some special fields that are replaced by the system when the message is sent. They can be used to provide more detailed information to the user. These fields are surrounded by percent characters (%).

The default notification text in the application shows a variety of examples using these fields. For a list of the fields available in each type of notification, see the following sections covering each notification type in more detail.

Printing Notifications

To change printing notification options, navigate to PrintersNotification Options.

FieldDescription

%user%

The username of the user receiving the message.

%full_name%

The full name of the user receiving the message.

%date%

The date/time that the message was sent.

%balance%

The user's current balance.

%cost%

The cost of the print job.

%printer%

The full printer name (including the server name) the job was printed to. e.g. server-name\printer-name

%printer-server%

The server name of the printer the job was printed to.

%printer-queue%

The queue name of the printer the job was printed to (i.e. without the server name).

%document%

The name of the document printed.

%pages%

The total number of pages in the print job.

%copies%

The number of copies of the document printed.

%paper-size%

The size of the paper used to print the document.

Table 13.2. Fields available in printing notifications

Notify the user before their print times out and is deleted from a hold/release queue
Options for a notification sent before a held job gets deleted

Figure 13.8. Options for a notification sent before a held job gets deleted

This notification option contains the following additional replacements.

FieldDescription

%minutes%

Minutes from now until the job is timed out and deleted. Minimum of 2 minutes.

Table 13.3. Fields only available in notification sent before deleting the held job

For more information about hold/release queue timeout see the section called “Job timeout”.

Low Balance Notification

To change low balance notification options, navigate to OptionsNotifications, and scroll down to the "Low Balance Notification" section.

Options for a single system notification

Figure 13.9. Options for a single system notification

Using the notification options (shown above), the notification can be enabled, the notification text can be changed, and the delivery type can be modified.

FieldDescription

%balance%

The user's current balance.

Table 13.4. Fields available in low balance notifications

Important

This low balance notification is only sent to users who are restricted.

Configuring Email Notifications

Before sending notifications via email, the system needs to know the SMTP server to deliver emails to. The SMTP server can be internal or external to your organization however it must allow forwarding of emails to your users. The SMTP server will typically be the same server that users set in their email application to send emails.

To set the SMTP server:

  1. Navigate to OptionsNotifications.

  2. Find the Email Options section.

  3. Enter the SMTP server in the field provided.

  4. It is also recommended that the subject and from address are changed to be applicable for your environment.

  5. Press the Apply button.

The following advanced SMTP configuration settings are also available in the configuration editor (see the section called “Using the Config Editor”).

NameDescription
notify.smtp.enable-tls

Set to Y to enable STARTTLS, or N to disable it. STARTTLS is for connecting to an SMTP server port using a plain (non-encrypted) connection, then elevating to an encrypted connection on the same port.

notify.smtp.port

The port to connect to on the SMTP server. Common ports include 25 or 587 for SMTP, and 465 for SMTPS.

notify.smtp.username

Username for SMTP authentication. Commonly an email address.

notify.smtp.password

Password for SMTP authentication.

notify.smtp.debug

Produces extra SMTP related logging for troubleshooting.

Table 13.5. Advanced email notification (SMTP) settings

Important

Anti-virus software running on the PaperCut server can block/disallow SMTP connections because it attempts to block spam sent by viruses and trojans. Ensure that any anti-virus software is configured to allow PaperCut to make SMTP connections (e.g. add an exception or disable the SMTP blocking).

When anti-virus is blocking email delivery PaperCut NG will log errors like: Mail server connection failed. Software caused connection abort.. These errors are displayed in the application log or on-screen when performing email notification tests.

If there are other SMTP connection problems, you should check that your firewall allows SMTP connections, and that your SMTP server is configured to accept connections from the PaperCut server.

Email Notification Configuration Examples
NameValue
SMTP serverYour internal SMTP server hostname.
notify.smtp.enable-tlsN
notify.smtp.port25
notify.smtp.username

Blank.

notify.smtp.password

Blank.

Table 13.6. SMTP configuration example: internal SMTP server (no authentication)

NameValue
SMTP serverYour internal SMTP server hostname.
notify.smtp.enable-tlsN
notify.smtp.port25
notify.smtp.username

A valid username for your internal SMTP server.

notify.smtp.password

The password for notify.smtp.username.

Table 13.7. SMTP configuration example: internal SMTP server with authentication

NameValue
SMTP serversmtp.gmail.com (or your Google Apps SMTP host)
notify.smtp.enable-tlsY
notify.smtp.port587
notify.smtp.username

A valid Gmail (or Google Apps) email address.

notify.smtp.password

The password for notify.smtp.username.

Table 13.8. SMTP configuration example: Gmail

NameValue
SMTP serversmtp.gmail.com (or your Google Apps SMTP host)
notify.smtp.enable-tlsN
notify.smtp.port465
notify.smtp.username

A valid Gmail (or Google Apps) email address.

notify.smtp.password

The password for notify.smtp.username.

Table 13.9. SMTP configuration example: Gmail (alternate config)

Configuring Email Addresses

To send notification messages to users via email, an email address needs to be defined for the user. User email addresses can be entered in the User Details screen. However, if all email addresses match the pattern [username]@yourdomain.com, then the email addresses can be defined globally using the global email suffix. An example of how this works is as follows:

  1. An email notification needs to be sent to user brian.

  2. No email address has been defined in Brian's user details, but a global email suffix of @myschool.com is defined in the Email Options section.

  3. To generate Brian's email address, the username (brian) and suffix (@myschool.com) are combined to form the email address brian@myschool.com.

To define the global email suffix:

  1. Navigate to OptionsNotifications.

  2. Find the Email Options section.

  3. Enable the Use email suffix to build user email addresses option.

  4. Enter the Email Address Suffix.

  5. Press the Apply button.

To confirm that the email suffix is working as expected:

  1. Navigate to the Users section.

  2. Select a user from the list.

  3. The Use global email suffix option should be enabled, and the email field should contain the address constructed from the username and suffix.

System Notifications (for Administrators)

Hardware and software errors will happen on all networks from time to time. The key to minimizing disruption is to act on errors fast. PaperCut NG's error notifications feature will help keep response times down by proactively notifying key staff of error events. Take for example a paper jam. It might take several hours before an annoyed user reports the problem as most users may simply opt to use another printer. Automated email notifications take the "human factor" out of the loop.

PaperCut NG's can also notify the administrator when printer toner levels are low (for supported printers). This allows for toner to be purchased and replaced pro-actively to minimise downtime of the printer fleet.

To enable and configure error notification options, navigate to OptionsNotifications, and scroll down to the "System Notifications" section. The following notification types are available:

  • Printer errors: Notify when a printer enters an error state for a selected period of time.

  • Low Toner warnings: Notify when a printer runs low on toner (for supported printers).

  • Application errors: Notify if a software or application error is detected. This option will allow administrators to proactively act on errors raised in the App. Log section.

  • License errors: Notify on important license events such as exceeding the licensed user limit.

All error notifications can be enabled using the checkbox, and a list of recipient email addresses can be specified. Multiple email addresses can be entered by separating them with a comma, e.g. joe@domain.org,bill@domain.org.

Tip

Consider SMS alerts: Error notifications are often important and require urgent attention. Many organizations use an email-to-SMS gateway service to ensure technical staff can receive urgent messages from anywhere in the building via the text message service on their cell/mobile phones.

Printer error notifications

Printer error notifications can be used to give advance warning when printers go into an error state.

PaperCut NG detects a printer error if either the print queue or the job at the top of the print queue are in an error state. This is equivalent to clicking on the print queue from the operating system and checking its status.

Some errors that might be seen on print queues or jobs include: paper jam, out of paper, out of toner, out of memory, device is offline, device door is open, or a generic error. The actual errors reported depend on the printer driver and which ones it supports.

The message can include information such as the name and location of the printer, the reason for the error, and how many jobs are pending in the queue (an indication of the impact).

Printer error notification settings

Figure 13.10. Printer error notification settings

The setting Time a printer has been in error before sending notification can be used to decide how soon a notification should be sent after a printer goes into error. For example if there is a paper jam the user might be able to fix it themselves, and raising an immediate notification is unnecessary. The suggested default is 10 minutes as problems lasting longer than this are probably more serious and will need technical intervention.

The following special fields can be used in printer error event notifications:

FieldDescription

%time%

The time the printer error was first reported.

%printer%

The name of the errored printer.

%printer-server%

The server name of the errored printer.

%printer-queue%

The queue name of the errored printer (i.e. without the server name).

%location%

The location of the errored printer.

%error%

The error message detail. E.g. Paper jam.

%num_jobs%

The number of print jobs currently in the queue. This information can be used as a guide to judge the severity of the error. For example, if a printer goes into error while there are 30 jobs in the queue, there are probably quite a few people waiting.

Table 13.10. Fields available in printer error notifications

Printer low toner notifications

Printer low toner notifications are used give advance warning when printers are running low on toner. This allows administrators to ensure that printers never run out of toner and improves printer uptime.

The printer toner notifications are available for supported network printers. The toner information is retrieved from the printer using SNMP over the network. To use low toner notifications, ensure that SNMP is enabled on your printer and that your network/firewalls/switches allows the PaperCut NG server to send SNMP requests to the printers. For more information see the section called “Toner Levels (for supported printers)”.

The notification message lists each printer with it's location that is low in toner, and includes toner levels for all the printer's toner cartidges. The notification message is sent each weekday at 10:30am by default.

Tip

If you would prefer to only be notified when new printers run low in toner, set the notify.toner-level.only-send-if-new to Y in the Config Editor (see the section called “Using the Config Editor”).

Low toner notification settings

Figure 13.11. Low toner notification settings

Error level event notifications

Error level event notifications help to draw the attention of the administrator to any errors that might occur. This could involve events such as problems contacting a directory server, software crashes, or processing problems.

Error level event notification settings

Figure 13.12. Error level event notification settings

The following special fields can be used in error level event notifications:

FieldDescription

%error%

The error message detail.

Table 13.11. Fields available in error level event notifications

Pending refund request notifications

Pending refund requests notifications help to draw attention of the administrator to pending refund requests. By default, daily notification messages are sent at 7 a.m.

Pending refund request notification settings

Figure 13.13. Pending refund request notification settings

The following special fields can be used in pending refund request notifications:

FieldDescription

%num_requests%

The number of pending refund requests.

Table 13.12. Fields available in pending refund request notifications

Testing Notification Methods

Once the system notifications are configured, it is useful to test that messages can be delivered. PaperCut NG provides a function to send test messages to users. This allows you to verify that notifications are working without having to try to produce notifications artificially. To send a test notification:

  1. Navigate to the OptionsNotifications.

  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page to the Test Notifications section.

  3. Enter the username of the user to send the message to.

  4. Select the delivery method to use.

  5. Enter the notification message to send.

  6. Press the Send Test Notification button

  7. Verify that the notification was received.

Comments

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