Can’t print to an office printer? You may need to enter an access code in macOS


It may seem outdated, but some businesses with centralized high-end photocopying and binding systems track output with a code from each department or user. While this has been common for decades, the problem crops up for Mac users unfamiliar with the approach, especially if the printer or code requirement is a recent addition to their office, as it was for one reader.

The macOS print dialog hasn’t changed much in many years, so usability remains only a dream instead of reality. That’s partly because the system relies on incorporating specific printer features via printer drivers that remains horribly outdated, too.

This set of steps should work for most printers that require a code:

  1. In the app from which you want to print, select File > Print (or use the app’s specific print process).

  2. From the printer dialog, click the pop-up menu that appears near the bottom right. It may have the name of the app in it, like Safari when you’re printing from the Safari browser.

  3. Look for a printer-specific item below the line that divides Cover Page from other options. It may be labeled Job Options.

  4. Enter the code in the appropriate field, checking boxes or other options if necessary.

  5. Save a preset (see below).

  6. Click Print.

mac911 print with job code IDG

Specialized printer options appear under the pop-up menu broken by a line on the bottom righthand side (here, displaying Media & Quality).

Save your setup as a preset in step 5, before printing, by choose Presets > Save Current Settings as Preset and naming it something memorable and description. All the details, including the user code, are retained when you select the preset for a future printing job.

This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Amanda.

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