How to Install a Spine Label Printer on a Mac Running OS X as a Raw Text Printer

Here’s what I am going to share with you today: how to install a spine label printer (Zebra GX430t) on a Mac running any version of OS X 10.6 or higher, for use with Innovative Interfaces Millennium’s spine label printing program. This should also work for any other ILS or spine label printing program that determines the formatting of the spine labels rather than the printer determining the formatting. In Windows this is easy to do, just install the printer as a Generic brand printer using a Generic/Text Only driver and voila–you are finished. On a Mac, however, the whole process has to be a mighty headache with multiple steps, which I will share to hopefully help you avoid a migraine or possibly bursting a blood vessel due to stress.

I am writing this not only for the benefit of technical services librarians and library IT staff, but also as a future reference to myself in case I ever have to do this again, since it was such a pain in the posterior and I lost my notes from when I did it initially two years ago. When I Googled the issue I found very little to help except for one document that got me part of the way through, but didn’t address using a raw driver instead of printer-specific drivers. Instead of installing the printer the regular Mac way, you use the web-based CUPS interface

Steps for installing a network connected Zebra GX430t spine label printer:

1. On your Mac, open up your web browser and type in the address bar: http://localhost:631. This should open up the CUPS (Common UNIX/Linux Printing System) web interface where you can add the printer. If you get a message saying that the webinterface is disabled, open up Terminal on the Mac and enter this command: cupsctl WebInterface=Yes. Then go back to your browser and try again. This time you should see a page with the heading CUPS with the version number next to it and the options: CUPS for Users, CUPS for Administrators, CUPS for Developers.

2. Under CUPS for Administrators, click “Adding Printers and Classes”

3. Under Printers, click “Add Printer.” You will be asked for the Mac’s username and password. Enter both to move to the add printers page. NOTE: you cannot use the CUPS web interface if you do not have a password on your Mac. You will have to go into your account and add a password.

4. Under the Other Network Printers group, click the radio button for AppSocket/HP JetDirect, then click “Continue”

5. In the text box next to Connection, type in socket://<your printer’s IP address> then click “Continue.” If you do not know the IP address you will need to ask your network administrator for it, or if you have a Zebra GX430t you purchased set-up from Computype, open the printer and look underneath the lid at the sticker containing your printer’s network info.

6. Name your printer something like SpineLabelPrinter, or whatever convention determined by your library. Just don’t use spaces, /, or #. You can add a human-readable description in the next line. I used Spine Label Printer since this is our only one. You can also add a location below the description in case you are adding more than one networked label printer and need to differentiate. Leave the share button at the bottom unchecked then click “Continue.”

7. In the selection box next to “Make” scroll down until you locate Raw. Select Raw, then click “Continue.”

8. Under Model, select Raw Queue, then click “Add Printer.”

At this point you may or may not see the Spine Label Printer in the Mac OS printer/scanner settings, so therefore you MUST do the following (because even if you initially see the printer in the Mac printers list :

1. Add a class for the spine label printer by clicking the Administration tab at the top of the screen, which will take you back to the Printers, Classes and Jobs admin. page, then click “Add Class” under Classes.

2. Name the class something useful like SpineLabelPrinters or LabelPrinters (no spaces, / , or #) then add your human-readable description in the description box. Again, I used Spine Label Printers. NOTE: The class description is what will show up in the Mac list of printers, not the label printer itself, so if you have multiple spine label printers that may be used by this particular Mac you will have to add each spine label printer you create via the CUPS interface to a separate class with an appropriate description (class description=Tech Serv Spine Label Printer, etc.)

3. Under Members, select your newly added spine label printer and click “Add class.” You will receive a message that says the class was successfully created and you can exit the browser.

4. Test your label printing program to make sure it can see the class you created in the CUPS interface and see that it prints properly. If there are any issues you can double-check your settings by going back into the CUPS web interface, clicking on the top tab “Printers”, clicking on the printer name and selecting “Modify” from the Admin. drop-down.

At this point you should be up-and-running with your spine label printer installed successfully on your Mac, and hopefully with no muss or fuss!

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