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Configure a Release Station

This section describes various aspects to configuring Release Stations.

Some additional installation notes can also be found in the Release StationPrint Release Stations place a print job on hold and allow users to release it when required. Often a Release Station is a dedicated PC terminal located next to the printers, however, Release Stations can take other forms such as a web browser based interface. Some common examples where Release Stations can be used include secure printing, approved printing, and authentication. In a secure printing environment jobs are only printed when the user arrives at the print area and confirms his or her identity. This ensures the user is there to collect the job and other users can't "accidentally" collect the document. In some organizations it may be appropriate to hold jobs until they are approved by selected individuals. A good example would be a teacher approving printing on an expensive color printer. Hold/Release queues can be used as a form of authentication in an unauthenticated environment. Users must authenticate prior to releasing their jobs allowing PaperCut NG to confirm their identity. README file located here:

[app-path]\release\README.txt

Enable hold/release support on a printer

By default, print jobs are sent directly to the printer and are not held. To turn on hold/release support on a given printer:

  1. Click the Printers tab.

    The Printer List page is displayed.

  2. Select a printer.

    The Printer Details - Summary page is displayed.

  3. In the Hold/Release Queue Settings area, select the Enable hold/release queue check box. This ensures that jobs are held in the print queueA print queue displays information about documents that are waiting to be printed, such as the printing status, document owner, and number of pages to print. You can use the print queue to view, pause, resume, restart, and cancel print jobs. until users are ready to release their jobs.
  4. In Release mode, select one of the following:

    • User Release—(default) allows users to release and view only the jobs printed under their name/user account.

    • Admin/Manager only release—jobs can only be released by administrators or hold/release queue managers.

    Tip:

    To configure multiple printers with hold/release queue support, use the Copy settings to other printers function. To use this, configure one printer as required, click Copy settings to other printers; then select the printers to copy the settings to.

Assign hold/release queue managers

A hold/release queue manager is a user that has additional privileges to manage Release Stations and jobs held in hold release queues. Managers can:

  • Log on to the "manager mode" Release Stations (both the software and web-based Release Station).

  • Log on to the "secure mode" Release Stations, which switches them into manager mode so that users' print jobs can be released.

  • Release jobs that can only be released by managers or administrators.

  • Can close the Standard Release Station when running in full-screen mode.

  • Use the Override Print Account selection in the web-based Release Station.

Assign a hold/release queue manager role to a user or group

  1. Select Options > Admin Rights.

    The Admin Rights page is displayed.

  2. Assign administrator access to a user or group.

  3. Restrict the held jobs that a hold/release queue manager can view based on user and printer groups.

  4. To restrict their access to only the Release Station interface, deselect all the other admin rights.

  5. Click Apply.

For more information about assigning admin rights see Assign administrator level access.

Make a user a hold/release queue manager

  1. Click the Options tab.

    The General page is displayed.

  2. In the Hold/Release Queues area, in Hold/Release Queue Managers, enter the user's username. To enter multiple users, separate usernames with a comma (,).

  3. Click Apply.

Note:

This is a way of assigning hold/release queue manager permission gives unrestricted access to held print jobs.

Configuring a Standard Release Station

The Standard Release Station is configured using a configuration file located in the directory where the Release Station executables are located. The default configuration file is:

[app-path]\release\config.properties

This configuration file allows you to configure the behavior and look of the Release Station in a number of ways. Each of the configuration items are described in the table below:

Note:

There are more advanced options listed in the config.properties file. If you don't see what you're looking for in the table below, take a look through the config file to check if the option is listed there.

Table 45: Standard Release Station config settings (for other advanced config settings, see the config.properties file)
Config name Description
mode The mode changes the behavior of the Release Station depending on the need. The available modes are described in Release Station modes.
use-username-authentication (Y/N) - Enable username authentication. Users are required to enter their domain username to log in to the Release Station. They might also be required to enter their password, depending on the 'mode' setting. Default: Y (Yes).
use-card-authentication (Y/N/USERNAME) - Enable card-based authentication. This is designed for use with dedicated hardware card readers. If Y: The card number is validated against the user's card-number field. If USERNAME: The card value is interpreted as a username. The user is prompted for a password if required. Default: N (No).
show-jobs-from-queues Filters the list of jobs to only those print queues listed. This is a comma separated list of full printer names (i.e. server\printer). This is useful when there are multiple Release Stations, each managing the queues of a different set of printers.
releases-on This option applies to installations using Find-Me Printing and sets the behavior of jobs released from a virtual queue. For more information see Find-Me printing and printer load balancing. This setting defines the printer (or list of printers) that the jobs are printed to when released. This is usually the printer(s) in close proximity to this Release Station.
confirm-printing When enabled (Y) and users release a job that is charged to their personal account, a confirmation dialog is displayed to confirm that the user wants to print and be charged for the job. When disabled (N) the confirmation dialog is never displayed.
display-columns Used to customize the columns displayed and the order they are displayed in the list of print jobs. The default value is: date,user,printer,document,machine,pages,cost
display-column-widths Used to customize the width of columns displayed. The setting can only be used if the display-columns is defined. The number of values must match the number of values in the display-columns setting. The default value is: 8,12,25,30,15,8,8
hide-printer-server-names (Y/N) - Used to hide the printer server names from the list of print jobs. Default: N (No)
show-print-all (Y/N) - Indicates whether Print All is displayed. Default: Y (Yes)
show-cancel-all (Y/N) - Indicates whether Cancel All is displayed. Default: Y (Yes)
max-idle-secs The number of seconds without user input, before the user is logged out of the Release Station. The default is 30 seconds.
show-user-balance (Y/N) - Indicates whether to hide the user balance information when a user logs into the Release Station. Default: Y (Yes)
background-color Allows for customizing the background color of the Release Station to match the organization's colors. The color format is the hexadecimal color code used in HTML - #RRGGBB (where RR is the red component, GG is the green component and BB is the blue component).
font-color Allows for customizing the font/foreground color used in the Release Station. The color format is the hexadecimal color code used in HTML.
locale Allows to override the default language used for the Release Station. The value is a valid ISO language code. E.g. en, zh_HK.
title The title that is displayed at the top of the Release Station screen.
instructions The instructions to display at the login page. Include a <br> to start a new line.
card-and-username-instructions The instruction text that is displayed when using both card authentication and username authentication, displayed in-between the card entry and username entry fields. Include a <br> to start a new line.
username-label Override the label text for the Username field.
password-label Override the label text for the Password field.
logo-image Allows a custom logo image to be displayed. For best results the image should be between 50 and 80 pixels in height. PNG, JPG or GIF images are allowed.
scale-factor Allows to adjust the size of text displayed in the Release Station. Higher value increases the text size. Larger text might be preferable on high resolution screens or touch screens. The default is 1.5.
release-cancel-gui-style Allows to set the GUI style of the Release Station actions. The valid styles are link and button. Setting it to button is useful when running Release Station on touch screens. The default is link.
enable-card-self-association (Y/N) - Enable or disable card self-association. This allows users to associate their card with their account without needing any administrator assistance. Default: N (No)
enable-on-screen-keyboard (Y/N) - Enable or disable the on-screen (software) keyboard. Use of the on-screen keyboard is recommended for touch-screen devices. Supported on Microsoft Windows only, via the on-screen keyboard utility (osk.exe) or an alternate application. Default: N (No)
on-screen-keyboard-path Specify an alternate on-screen keyboard application to the Microsoft Windows default. Supported on Microsoft Windows only. Default: (none)
Tip:

When running Release Stations from the \\server\PCRelease share, each workstation can have its own configuration file. The "config.properties" is used for default settings for all Release Stations, but you can override settings by defining another configuration file for each Release Station. Put these files in the same directory and use the following naming convention:

config.[machine-name].properties

where [machine-name] is the name of the machine running the Release Station.

Since the machine specific configuration file overrides the default settings, if you want to clear a setting then it must be unset or commented out in both configuration files. Apple OSX servers might require the fully qualified domain name of the machine running the Release Station rather than the short name. A custom configuration file can also be specified as a startup command-line option using the following syntax: pc-release.exe --config "[config file path]"

Release Station modes

The Release Station modes available are described below. The Release Station mode is changed in the configuration file as described in Standard Release Station Configuration.

Table 46: Standard Release Station modes
Mode Description
ReleaseAny This is the default mode. It allows a user who logs onto the Release Station to release any held jobs. Any jobs released are charged to the logged in user.
Manager Manager mode allows only administrators or hold/release queue managers to log in to the Release Station. In Release Station mode, all jobs are listed and users are not automatically logged out due to inactivity.
Secure Secure mode allows users to only see and release print jobs that they have printed. Release Station managers can see and release all users' print jobs.
NoPassword This works similar to the secure mode, however, users don't need to enter the password to view jobs.

In all modes except Manager mode, users are logged out automatically after a period of inactivity defined in the configuration file, the default being 30 seconds.

Card-based user authentication

In some environments, users are issued with identity cards that are used for authentication. The cards might be used to gain entry to buildings, or borrow from a library. The cards can also be used to authenticate users at the standard Release Station. Using a card is often much more convenient and less error-prone than entering a username and password.

To use card-based authentication an appropriate hardware card-reader is required. The card reader must be connected to the machine running the Release Station and act as a keyboard. i.e. when the user swipes/scans their card, the card reader outputs the digits just as if someone entered them using the keyboard. There are card readers that can do this for all commonly used card types (e.g. magnetic stripe, barcode, etc). An easy way to test a card reader is to open a text editor and place the cursor in a new text document. Then when a card is swiped the card number is displayed in the text file.

The card numbers entered at the Release Station are validated against the Card/Id number field for the user. This is located at the bottom of the User Details screen in the Admin web interface. Before card authentication can be used, the users' card numbers must be associated with the user record in PaperCut NG. You can manually enter the numbers, automatically synchronized from Active Directory or LDAPThe Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is a directory service protocol that runs on a layer above the TCP/IP stack. It provides a mechanism used to connect to, search, and modify Internet directories. The LDAP directory service is based on a client-server model. (see Synchronize user and group details) or imported in bulk using the Batch User Import file (see Batch import and update user data).

Once card numbers are associated with users, you can enable the card-based authentication in the Release Station by setting the use-card-authentication to Y in the Release Station's config.properties file. Once the Release Station is restarted it is in card-authentication mode, and can be tested by swiping a card through the card-reader.

Alternatively, users can self-associate card numbers at the Release Station. Enable this functionality by setting enable-card-self-association to Y. Note that this also requires use-card-authentication to be enabled as well.

The config.properties file has some other settings to change how the card-number is read from the reader. For example, you can change the header and trailer characters used by some card readers to indicate the start and end of the card number. See the config file for details.

Friendly client machine aliases

In some environments (for example, public libraries), it is important for users to identify print jobs by the client machine from which they were printed. By default, the Release Station lists either the IP address or the machine's unique network name Neither of these are helpful to Release Station users. To avoid this problem the administrator can define a list of aliases, that map the unfriendly names to a more user-friendly name.

For example, print jobs might be displayed in the Release Station as 192.168.1.100 or winpc0076, but would be more meaningful for the user to be displayed as Public PC 1.

These aliases are defined in the [app-path]/release/client-machine-aliases.properties file. The entries are in the format:

[machine]=[alias]

It is also valid to have multiple entries that map to the same alias. So to add aliases for the example above the following lines would be added to the client-machine-aliases.properties file:

192.168.1.100=Public PC 1 winpc0076=Public PC 1

Job timeout

If a user does not release their held job after a defined time, their job is automatically deleted. This prevents a buildup of old and abandoned jobs in the Hold/Release queue. The default timeout is 30 minutes. To change the timeout:

  1. Click the Options tab.

    The General page is displayed.

  2. In the Hold/Release Queues area, in Delete held jobs if not released after, enter the number of minutes to wait for users to release their job before it is deleted.

  3. Click Apply.

Configuring the User web interface Release Station

  1. Click the Options tab.

    The General page is displayed.

  2. In the User Features area, complete the following options as appropriate:

    • Allow users to view held jobs—enables the Jobs Pending Release screen in the User interface. When this check box is cleared, no related functionality is available from the User interface.

    • Only allow users in this group to view held jobs—enables the Jobs Pending Release screen in the User interface for all users in a group.
    • Users have permission to—changes the type of jobs users can see and release. The available options are:

      • view their own jobs only—users see their own jobs that are held in the hold/release queue. Jobs printed by other users are not displayed. They can cancel their own jobs, but cannot release them. This is useful if users are required to be physically at the printer to release a job, where a standard Release Station is running.

      • release their own jobs—users can release or cancel their own jobs. Jobs printed by other users are not displayed.

      • release any jobs (charged to their account)—users can release or cancel any job that is being held, including jobs from other users. If a user releases a job that was sent by a different user, the releasing user is charged for the job. This option is equivalent to the Release Any mode used in Release Station and is ideal for authenticating printing in a unauthenticated environment.

    • Enable the 'Release All' and 'Cancel All' buttons—allows users to release or cancel all held jobs by clicking one button. When this option is disabled, users must release or cancel jobs individually.

      This option is for the convenience of the users. It can save a user a few clicks when they want to release all their jobs at once. However, if the user is able to release jobs other than their own, a user might accidentally release (and be charged for) many other users' jobs.

  3. Click Apply.


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