Deploying Printers via Apple Remote Desktop

You’ll need Apple Remote Desktop.  You’ll also need to download the Mac OS X Driver install file for your printer.  I recommend PostScript as available.

  1.  Open your Driver DMG file and copy the .pkg installer file out of it.  Open Apple Remote Desktop and select the machines you want to deploy to.  Click on “Install” and select your driver .pkg file.  Click on”Install”

Deploy Driver Package

2.  Once you’ve installed the driver, you can add your printers.  Use the “Send UNIX Command” to install the printer using the lpadmin terminal command.

lpadmin -p printernamewithoutspaces -L "Printer Descriptive Location" -E -v lpd://PrinterIPAddress -P /Library/Printers/PPDs/Contents/Resources/PrinterDriverName.ppd.gz -o

Send Unix Command to add printer

3.  Open Microsoft Word, choose File – Print.  Select your new printer and configure your presets.  Choosing to assign presets to the specific printer.

Set Presets in Word

4. With the Finder as the active application, choose “Go” and “Go to folder” from the Finder menu.  Browse to “~/library/preferences

goto library preferences

5.  Find your printer preset file.  It will be named ““.  Copy the file to a folder on your Desktop.

print preset plists.png

6.  Use the “Copy Items” command in Apple Remote Desktop to copy the .plist preset file for your printer to the machines you added the printer to.  Choose to “Place Items in: ‘Specify Full Location’ and type:    /private/var/

Copy Plist Files 2.png

7.  Finally,  choose the “Send UNIX Command” action in Apple Remote Desktop.  Copy the .plist printer presets to the User’s preferences with the command:

cp /private/var/ ~/Library/Preferences/

-Run command as “Current console user on target computer“.

Copy Plist to user prefs.png

8. You’ve now successfully deployed printers and custom presets to Mac OS X Machines using Apple Remote Desktop!


8 thoughts on “Deploying Printers via Apple Remote Desktop

  1. Can you repost the UNIX commands in a more readable font and also a case-sensitive version instead of all caps? I’m not certain that all the switches need to be capitalized, certainly the paths won’t work. Just sayin’. Thanks for the info however.


  2. I havent used ARD in a few years I am getting this error when sending the command, any suggestions on what i am doing wrong?
    APHS_207_IMAC12 (
    lpadmin: Expected name=value after “-o” option.


  3. Hi Jason,

    Thanks for the great information! We are required to add printers: Advanced > Windows printer via spoolss > URL: smb://serverurl/queue . Is there an equivalent command for the smb setup?



    1. Hi Joe!
      You should be able to modify the command similar to:
      sudo lpadmin -p PRINTERNAME -E -v smb://PRINTSERVER/PRINTQUEUE \ -m pathtoyourdriver\drivername.ppd -L “LOCATION” -o auth-info-required=negotiate


    1. Hi Ahsen!
      That’s the tricky part – you’ll have to locate the driver file name that you want to use. Make sure you have the driver loaded on your machines if needed before deploying printers. Then, on a test machine, check “/Library/Printers/PPDs/Contents/Resources/” for the correct driver file (It will look like “PrinterDriverName.ppd.gz”. It requires a bit of investigation to correctly identify. I haven’t discovered how to easily identify the driver file for a printer yet.


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