Capturing a Mac Spool File

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PaperCut Support may ask you to supply a spool file. This is a little more difficult on the Apple Mac platform (see below for other platforms) and involves “capturing” a spool file using one of the following procedures:

Automated Script (recommended)

This method involves running a command/shell script on the system hosting your print queues (i.e. the print server) to gather up required files. The procedure is:

1. Enable snapshot level debug logging as discussed here.
2. Temporarily stop the printer, or turn off the printer so that jobs hold in the queue.
3. Print a job, or set of jobs that demonstrates the problem behavior. This printing may be performed from a workstation. NB If OS X prompts you with a choice of “Cancel”, “Add to Printer” or “Resume” select “Add to Printer”
4. Download and unzip onto the system hosting the print queues (normally the server running PaperCut), the script from here: gather-files-for-papercut.zip
5. Copy the file to your home directory.
6. Ensure execute permissions are set on the file. (Command-click on the file, select Get info, and set under Ownership & Permissions)
7. Double click on the gather-files-for-papercut.command file. Enter your system password if requested (admin access is required).
8. Email the file files-for-papercut.tgz found in your home directory (or if running from the command prompt your current directory) to PaperCut Support. Also include the “expected” information related to the job including:
- the number of pages
- the paper size
- other attributes such as grayscale, copies, etc.
If you need to capture multiple examples you must run this command (and rename the files-for-papercut.tgz) each time.

Manual Method

Please use the automated method above, unless requested by support.

1. Temporarily stop the printer, or turn off the printer so that jobs hold in the queue. Print a test job that demonstrates the problem behavior.
2. Open the Terminal under Applications/Utilities
3. Type the following in the terminal:
       mkdir ~/gatherspoolfiles
       sudo -i
       [enter your password]
       cp $(ls -t /var/spool/cups/d* | head -n 2) ~<username>/gatherspoolfiles
       exit
where <username> is your short login name. (i.e. this denotes the location of your home directory).
4.You should now find at least one file in your ~/gatherspoolfiles directory with a name like:
          d00077–001
5. Email the file(s) to PaperCut Support and also include the “expected” information related to the job including:
- the number of pages
- the paper size
- other attributes such as grayscale, copies, etc.

Windows Server Method

If you are printing from a Mac to a Windows print server the following process might be easier than the options above:

1. On the Windows print sever temporarily pause the print queue for the printer causing problems. You can do this by right clicking on Start → Printers and Faxes → Name of the printer and selecting the “Pause Printing” option.
2. Print a test job from the Mac to the printer that demonstrates the problem behavior.
3. Take a copy of the spool file (*.SPL) from C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\PRINTERS. The directory may contain a number of spool files. Copy the file whose timestamp matches the “submitted time” of the job.
4. Rename the file such that it helps PaperCut Support and Developers to understand what should have been detected. (E.g. 5-pages.SPL)
5. Zip and email the file to PaperCut Support.

See also:


Categories: Troubleshooting


keywords: mac print to file, apple,

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Article last modified on September 25, 2015, at 03:26 AM
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