This article is a guide through the setup and formatting of your label printer on a Mac computer. This article uses a Zebra printer as an example. If you have a different printer, we recommend you check the printer manual or the manufacturer's website for more information.

If you don't have hardware or labels yet, read Recommended Printers and Labels first.

There are 3 easy steps how to set up a printer:

  1. Hardware setup

  2. Driver setup

  3. Configure printer defaults

⏳ From start to end ~15-20 min.

Hardware Setup

Follow the manufacturer’s guide to plug in and set up your printer hardware. When you are finished, move on to the next step to set up your drivers

Common Zebra Printer Instructions: Zebra Printers Support

Driver Setup

The next step is to set up a Zebra printer on your Mac.

  • Click the magnifying glass in the top right-hand corner of your screen and search for ‘Printers & Scanners’.

  • Click ‘+’.

  • A new pop-up window will show up. Choose your Zebra Printer. It should be displayed as follows.

  • In the ‘Use’ Section below, select ‘Select Software’.

  • You may choose your preferred driver language. If you have a thermal printer choose ZPL.

💡 Note: Most Zebra printers will use either the Zebra EPL1 or EPL2 driver. EPL2 is the most common and used for ZP series printers and older GK series printers. Some newer models, like the GX series and refurbished GK series, as well as those ending in the letter Z, also support the Zebra ZPL driver.

Check your printer model's documentation on the Zebra Support site if you are unsure which to use. If you select the wrong driver, you can change the selection in CUPS, which is explained in the Configure Printer Defaults section.

  • The final setup should look as below. Go ahead and click ‘Add’ to finally add the printer.

Your Zebra is now added to your Printers & Scanners system preferences. You can now set its default options in CUPS.

Configure Printer Defaults

Configure Printer Defaults in CUPS. CUPS is the term used for the printer configuration settings on a Mac that you access through a browser like Chrome or Firefox. In CUPS you will set your default media size and type so the labels print the correct size and with the best quality.

  • You will be able to access CUPS printer settings by visiting the following link http://localhost:631/printers/

  • Here you might encounter the following error.

  • To enable CUPS Control, Select and copy 'cupsctl WebInterface=yes'.

  • Next, click the magnifying glass in the top right-hand corner of your screen and search for 'Terminal'.

  • Once in the Terminal, paste in 'cupsctl WebInterface=yes' and click enter.

  • Click on this link http://localhost:631/printers/. (You can also type or paste the link into your web browser.) You might need to enter your credentials. Use the username and password for your computer.

Modifying Printer Settings in CUPS

  • On http://localhost:631/printers/ main page, click the ‘Printers’ tab. It should be located on the Top-Left section of the page.

  • Select your printer.

  • Choose ‘Set Default Options’ from the second drop-down (Administration) menu.

    • Click ‘General’ for general printer settings. Select the following options and click ‘Set Default Options’.

      • Set Media Size to a label size you would use this printer for.

  • Set Resolution to a dpi that is listed in Configuration Label that was printed during hardware setup.

  • Set Media Tracking to ‘Non-continuous (Mark sensing)’ if you have a Thermal Printer.

  • Click ‘Set Default Options’ to save your changes.

  • You might need to enter your credentials. Use the username and password for your computer.

  • To find your username, click the magnifying glass in the top right-hand corner of your screen and search for 'Users & Groups'.

  • Your username will be listed in the main section.

  • ‘Printer Settings’ for further modification. Select the following option and click ‘Set Default Options’.

  • Set Repair After Error to ‘Never' and click 'Set Default Options'.

  • Make sure ‘Status Light’ is steady Green on the printer panel. If the light is blinking press and hold the FEED button until the Status Light blinks off and on TWICE, then release.

  • From the ‘Printers’ page in CUPS, select ‘Print Test Page’ from the drop-down menu to print a test page.

🎉 Congrats! You completed the printer setup. It’s time to design & print labels! Read How to Customize and Print Labels.

FAQ: Common Issues with CUPS

Q: I want to add a printer but was asked to enter a name and password. Which name and password do I use?

A: Use the username and password for your computer.

Q: Where do I find my username?

A: Use the username and password for your computer.

Q: I am trying to add a printer through the CUPS GUI. But when I enter my CUPS.org username and password it just keeps asking me for my username and password! How can I use the CUPS GUI?

A: Do not use your CUPS.org username and password as they will not work. Use the username and password for your computer instead.

Q: The CUPS web interface keeps asking me for a password, but I don't have one on this computer. How can I use the web interface?

A: If you have set up your computer to not require a password or have a blank or empty password, then the CUPS web interface will not work for you. CUPS requires a login username and password to allow you to make changes through the web interface.

Q: What is DPI? Which one is the correct one?

A: DPI: Dot’s per inch. The number of dots in a printed inch. The more dot’s the higher the quality of the print (more sharpness and detail). To determine which one is correct for your printer, print Configuration Label and just choose the dpi that is listed there.

Got questions?

Reach out to our Support Team at [email protected] or by messaging us through the chat bubble :)

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