PawPrints from a Macbook

Update: You can now also use PawPrints from any computer by following these instructions from Brown. They’re probably much easier. Also, the print driver is already installed on the latest Mac operating systems anyway.

Audience: The intended audience of this post is Brown students who have CS department logins and use Macs, and from time to time need to print at the libraries. I suspect this strategy can be adapted for Windows users or for similar systems at other schools. Let me know if you have anything to share.

If you have a CS department account and SSH set up on your laptop, you don’t need to bother searching for a free computer in the SciLi next time you need to print. If you run Mac OS, copy the script below into an empty text file (or you can download it here.) You should name the file “pawprint” (with no extension) and change my CS department username (ambell) to your own.

The file should be put in /usr/local/bin. If your account doesn’t have have admin capabilities for your laptop, you may need to use a command like “sudo mv pawprint /usr/local/bin.” Then navigate to that directory, and add executable permissions to the file: type into the terminal “sudo chmod +x pawprint.”

To print a file from your Mac to PawPrints, just navigate to the directory where your files are and type pawprint filenames. You can type as many file names as you want at a time from your laptop, then walk over to a print station. If you entered multiple filenames, I believe PawPrints will bundle them all into one print item, named after the first file.

Thanks to Chris Sulawko for suggesting a few days ago that I try printing to PawPrints over ssh!


echo “starting print of:” $@
scp $@
ssh lpr -P pawprints $@
ssh rm -f $@
echo “files have been sent to pawprints”


  1. Tell the user the parameters passed to the function
  2. Copy the files to your home directory on your departmental account.
  3. Order the print of the files.
  4. Remove the files.
  5. Tell the user that the files have been sent.