Kappris makes it easy for your users to set up a printer priority list that ensures that, whatever Print Mode they use, Kappris will choose the nearest suitable printer. In environments where user choices must be pre-ordained this flexibility leaves System Administrators wondering how they can maintain control and minimise user queries.
This article shows how the users can set themselves up and discusses how the administrator might be able to influence or control the users' printer priority settings.
What is Printer Priority?
Whenever Kappris is about to print any Imprint, it needs to check which printers can actually do what the Imprint specifies. For example, if the user has requested a Print Mode called "Booklet", Kappris will search the list of available printers and identify which printers actually support booklet printing. If more than one of the available printers has the required capability, then which printer should it select?
This is where Printer Priority comes in: Kappris will always try to make the printer with the highest priority the preferred printer. It is therefore a good idea for the user to have a sensible Printer Priority list that will try, as far as possible, to give preference to printers that are nearest the user.
How does the User determine Printer Priority?
There are 3 ways for a user to do this:
- From Word, bring up the print dialog and choose Options|Printer priority
- From Outlook, bring up the print dialog and choose Options|Prioritise
- Run the program "UserDefs.exe" from your Kappris program folder
The dialog you see will be similar to this, regardless of how you get to it.
Using the dialog you can move printers up, down, to the top or to the bottom of the list. Only printers that are actually accessible to you will be shown in the list.
How is the Printer Priority list stored?
Kappris always expects to find a printer priority list in a sub-folder of your Central Configuration Folder. The sub-folder is called "Settings". Within the settings folder you will find a file for every person/workstation that has ever printed via Kappris.
The files are always named: kappris_<DIFFERENTIATOR>.cfg
The differentiator value is usually <USERNAME>, <COMPUTERNAME> or <CLIENTNAME> although an almost infinite array of other values is possible.
At Kutana we never recommend <USERNAME> because this would cause the Printer Priority list to follow the user as the user logs on at different workstations - a particularly bad idea for "floating users".
If you use standard Windows workstations, we recommend using <COMPUTERNAME>. This would give everybody who logs in the same list of printers, which presumably will be the ones nearest the workstation. This is suitable for environments where the workstations remain in the same position.
<CLIENTNAME> is necessary for Terminal Server or Citrix users because, in such an environment, the <COMPUTERNAME> will be the same for all users on the same server. It is for this reason that we would recommend <CLIENTNAME>, which is actually the name of the workstation from which they are logging into the server.
To alter the DIFFERENTIATOR, run the Kappris Control Panel (KPMgr.exe) and use Tools|Options:
The three named options (under the hood) actually set the DIFFERENTIATOR to %USERNAME%, %COMPUTERNAME% and %CLIENTNAME% respectively. Kappris then looks at the current user's environment space in order to turn these into the actual USERNAME, COMPUTERNAME and CLIENTNAME it needs to pick up the Printer Priority file in the Settings folder.
Despite the drop-down list, you can enter your own value as the "Local printer list location". If your login scripts have a means of identifying exactly where the user is in the building, you might choose to use your own environment variable, say, "WS_LOCATION" as your DIFFERENTIATOR.
In Tools|Options you would then set your "Local printer list location" to %WS_LOCATION%.
If your login scripts then set an environment value called "WS_LOCATION" to "Floor1-AreaF", Kappris will then pick up the preferred printer priority from "Kappris_Floor1-AreaF.cfg" in the Settings folder.
What can we do as Administrator?
By far the most common way of setting up users is to tell them how to use the Printer Priority dialog for themselves.
Some Kappris users, however, tend to create a list of printers and then name that list so it is picked up by the next user set up to use Kappris.
You are launching Kappris for users in the Oxford office. There are 18 workstations (WS-01 .. WS-18) and 5 printers (PRT-Apple .. PRT-Fig)
From any workstation (let's say it's called WS-Admin), logged in as any user:-
- Connect all 5 printers to your workstation;
- Use the printer priority dialog to order the printers in an the appropriate way for WS-01
- Click OK
- Now find the file "kappris_WS-Admin.cfg" in your central Settings folder and copy it to "kappris_WS-01.cfg" in the same folder
- If, say, WS-13, WS-07 and WS-03 will be using the same printer priority then copy the file to "kappris_WS-13.cfg" etc. too
- No repeat this process for any other printer priority settings you may require
Take a look at a printer priority file in the Settings folder. They are not difficult to edit, save and rename by hand if you feel you can get the printer names right!
All seems a bit complicated?
We agree and we have in mind that we will produce a tool for managing printer priority centrally. For the moment, however, once you have set these up or, better still, told your users how to make changes, it is rare that anyone needs to do anything with printer priority. It is for this reason that improvements to this feature are fairly low on our development road-map.