Customizing PaperCut and educating end users
Out of the box software is fantastic, and we try to make PaperCut as useful as possible, with as little tweaking as possible! With that said, people are people - everyone’s different - and that goes for differences between organizations too.
Some organizations don’t use payment systems at all, while for others it’s the most important thing on the menu. A university may want to integrate their PaperCut login with their WebSSO authentication system - whereas a small corporate customer might instead want to authenticate using Google OAuth.
Customization is critical - not only for making it look like ‘yours’, but for helping your users feel more comfortable with the system adoption. If customization is done right, your users won’t even realize it’s 3rd party software!
This is sometimes the first thing that people see of PaperCut. We think the login page is pretty beautiful, but we’re biased - and we’re also not at your organization. We’ve made it as simple as possible to quickly customize the login page - change colors, logos and buttons to make it look just like your intranet or your school’s team colors.
How do your users find the login page?
It’s fantastic the login page now looks like a legitimate site for your users, but make sure your users know how to find it in the first place. Make sure you advertise where your user services web interface url lives. Some great ways to advertise this can include:
- School portal page
- Bulletin/notice board
- Your IT help page
- A poster behind the printer
Signing in or logging on
Logging into PaperCut should already be second nature for your users - if you’re sync’ing PaperCut with AD, or LDAP - then your users can already log in with their regular directory username and password.
You can also take things a step further in the direction of simplicity - if you’re using WebAuth or WebSSO across your intranet sites already - then you can do the same with PaperCut. Set up SSO in your environment so that your users don’t have to re-enter their username/password on the PaperCut web interface. If you’re a Google Apps organization, then take a look at how to set up Google Single Sign On for the web interface too. Less logins to manage means less calls to the help desk!
User client customization
As you can tell by now, most of the PaperCut experience is customizable - and if you’re running the PaperCut User Client, the same story is true. Just like for the web login page, a lot of customers add handy resources here so that users can help themselves.
Customize the User Client balance window with a link that lets users access internal IT information. Maybe create a printing specific help page, containing numbers of who to call if printers need attention, or if they need a refund.
Sometimes the inevitable happens. Rumor has it that printers can occasionally jam, or toner splatters onto a page, or other print-related problems can suddenly show up. If you’re someone who has just spent your print quota on a print job, and it doesn’t look good, you’ll be lining up for a refund.
Every organization has different requirements here, so PaperCut can be pretty flexible with the setup. Some customers prefer to talk to whoever it is requesting a refund (remember that IT help or Refund help link that you’ve put on the login page / user client? Perfect!) - whereas others prefer to allow students or users to just submit a refund request through PaperCut.
Whichever method suits your organization best, head over and enjoy the movie-quality how-to video on the refunding print jobs page.
Implementing a print management system is probably the easiest part - getting users on board, and adopting the system can be tricky! People can be set in their ways, so you want to make the transition as smooth as possible.
See if you can get a group of people together - bribe them with the best coffee beans, cakes, an afternoon off - whatever works. Walk them through the new system and see if they raise any concerns - get them involved in the process and listen to their feedback. Is it not feasible to automatically convert all their print jobs to grayscale on day one? Maybe offer that you can change it to suggest converting the document, and showing what they can save - instead of forcing the user to convert the document.
Once you have your group of print champions, they can also help their colleagues, friends, project members and cube buddies with the life-change.
Sometimes it can feel like you’re the only person out there printing less, or the only person in the world who’s printing in grayscale instead of color. Make everyone feel part of the same effort by giving an update at company meetings, or occasionally sending out an update email with the savings (both cost and environment) that everyone has contributed to.
It’ll encourage people to save even more, and will keep awareness of the savings on top of everyone’s minds.
Notifications - automated from the system, not from irate users!
Setting up email notifications can be one of the most karma-inducing parts of the system. A little work ahead of time means that you’ll get calmly notified when the most-used printer next to the cafeteria is at 5% toner. Time to pack the sandwich and the spare cartridge, and head up to the cafeteria to be closer to the action.
PaperCut can also be set up to send user notifications like low balance or to send them a notification when their job is denied.
Using the same email delivery that you set up above, you can now also schedule reports to be sent automatically. Gone are the days of having to rush back to your desk before the management meeting, to find (and print) the latest print budget reports.
Have the executive summary report automatically email to the management team’s admins once a month. Have the department summary emailed to each department head on a weekly basis. Whatever numbers are needed, you can schedule email reports to whoever you need.
New user settings
Don’t get us wrong - having someone new join your organization, or starting off a new school year is all exciting stuff! However that doesn’t mean that as an IT admin, you want to be stuck at your desk, individually configuring all the new people.
With New User settings, you can set things up so that all new joiners in the Maths Department get $20 of credit automatically - while those in the Art Department get a whopping $50. We can help with the automation, but not with the fairness!
To make sure you get the beach time, forest time or just you-time that you deserve - make sure that you set up other trusted administrators with access to the system. We shudder (with you) when we think of shared credentials, so instead head over to see how to assign administrator access in PaperCut.
You can give granular access to the people or groups that you need - and set them up to be able to access as much or as little of the system as you’d like! What’s better is that the people that you want to be able to approve those refund requests don’t have to be full admins - and the printer admins only need to be able to access the printers, not the user details with the balances!
Secure PaperCut’s web server
We love security here at PaperCut - it’s top of our minds, and we even have a security response team dedicated to it! We have a security FAQ, but if you’re as excited about security as us, you’ll want to grab a coffee and have a read of the Web Server Security Settings page.
There are some great tips there around forcing use of HTTPS, or setting up your server to use your organization’s certificate. You can never be too careful, and customizing the security of your PaperCut install can go a long way to keeping you sleeping soundly at night!