How to Set or Change Default Print Settings on Mac OS X


This article will show you how to set or modify the default print settings on your Apple Mac computer.

I recently purchased an Apple MacBook Pro, which I thought did a nice job of finding my Canon MX850 printer on my local network. However, I found it difficult to change the default print settings, and I thought I would share my experience. To save paper, I wanted duplex printing to be selected by default and here is how I made that happen. I am using a 13inch MacBook Pro running OS X version 10.6.6. Depending on your OS version this may or may not work with your system.

Step 1:

Open your internet browser and enter the following (or click on it): http://localhost:631/printers which will take you to a list of your printers. CUPS is Apple’s printing system. It will look something like this:

Apple MacBook Pro set default print settings for Canon MX850 step 1.

Step 2:

Select the printer that you want to modify its default print settings. You should see a screen like this:

Apple MacBook Pro set default print settings for Canon MX850 step 2.

Step 3:

Select set default options from the administration drop down menu like this:

Apple MacBook Pro set default print settings for Canon MX850 step 3.

Step 4:

Change the default printer settings to whatever you like and then click the set default options button at the bottom of the screen. It will ask for your username and password to set your changes.

For my printer, the duplex options were not all together. Some were located at the top of the list, while the main option to turn on duplex printing was at the bottom of the options list. So if the printer options do not work as you expected, double check the entire list to make sure you did not miss one. My duplex printing did not set right at first because I did not see the AutoDuplexCheckBox option at the bottom of the list. So for my Canon MX850 I set four options. The first was Auto Duplex Printing to ON. Secondly, I set Duplex to Duplex – Long Edge. Next I set Print Area to Use normal-size printing. And finally, I set AutoDuplexCheckBox to 1. This will make your Canon MX850 print both sides of the paper by default.

Apple MacBook Pro set default print settings for Canon MX850 step 4.

Step 5:

You should be all set and you should see a confirmation screen that looks similar to this:

Apple MacBook Pro set default print settings for Canon MX850 step 5.

Thanks for reading my LAVAGOAT blog. Comments, questions, and feedback are welcome.

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About Mike Gonzales
I am almost finished with my Bachelors Degree in Computer Science.

5 Responses to How to Set or Change Default Print Settings on Mac OS X

  1. Steve says:

    That’s brilliant – I’ve been looking for 30 minutes for a solution to this. But isn’t it a bizarrely complicated way to change the defaults? I thought Macs were supposed to be simple and intuitive. Anyway, really thanks for this!

  2. Terry says:

    Great post. Thanks for the tip

  3. deidre leipziger says:

    this worked fine on my macbook until i got to this security thing that is now telling me “The user name or password you entered for area “CUPS” on localhost:631 was incorrect. Make sure you’re entering them correctly, and then try again.”

    which password/name is it asking for? what is CUPS???????????

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