Batch Printing and the Popup and Hold/Release print queues

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Printing large batches of print jobs is common in many organizations. Examples include:

  • Mail-merged newsletters
  • Batch invoices and mail-outs
  • Student reports during end-of-semester reporting time.

Many of these batch printing applications work by sending a large amount of small individual jobs to the print queue. It is usually desirable for these batch print jobs to print in a predefined order. For example the jobs may be printed in alphabetical order and this order used to match up with a separate batch of printed envelopes.

PaperCut can affect batch printing order if an account selection or confirmation popup is enabled.

Normally a print queue will print jobs in the order they are received, but this logic cannot be applied if a popup is used. The reason for this is that if a single user failed to acknowledge their popup, they would hold up the queue for other users/jobs.

The order of jobs can also be affected if different jobs within the batch are significantly different sizes. This is because it can take longer to process larger jobs, allowing smaller jobs to print earlier.

Solution 1

Enable hold/release on the printer. Jobs will be held in a queue from which they can be released using PaperCut’s web based or standalone release stations.

Jobs released all-at-once using the release station’s “Release All” function will be printed in their original order, so when printing batches, send off the whole batch to the printer for holding in the release queue and then release all at once using the release station’s “Release All” function.

For more details on enabling hold/release and using release stations please see the manual.

Solution 2

Organizations often employ the following solution:

Set up a separate dedicated print queue for the reporting application. This is often a new queue on the server that points to an existing physical printer. Give the queue a name such as “Batch Printing Queue”. Exclude this queue from the popup using one of two methods:

  1. Completely disable monitoring on the queue as explained in Chapter 5:
  2. Disable the popup on this queue by using the following option on the printer in PaperCut: Override user-level settings → Do not display account selection popups (Always charge personal account)..

Organizations also often:

  • Limit access to the queue so only selected/trusted users can access the special queue. A group filter can be applied via the printer’s Filters & Restrictions tab in PaperCut, or the standard sharing permissions of the OS can be used.
  • Limit access to the queue by time so it’s only available during the period required (for example during school reporting time). This prevents accidental use of the queue for other jobs.
  • Set a zero page cost on the printer, or use a dedicated special user account (if it is required that the user is not charged for this type of printing).
  • If the queue has been completely removed from PaperCut monitoring and the workstation is running Windows, it may be appropriate to enable the option Print directly to the printer on the Advanced tab of the printer’s Properties dialog. This option will ensure that other users/jobs can’t jump into the queue during batch operations.

Categories: Tips & Tricks, Configuration


keywords: student reporting programs, print order, batch print runs, queue management, out of order, out of sequence, Deltek accounting reports

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Article last modified on April 15, 2016, at 04:20 PM
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