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Can’t print to an office printer? You may need to enter a passcode in macOS

It may seem outdated, but some companies with centralized advanced photocopying and binding systems track output with a code from each department or user. Although this has been common for decades, the problem arises for Mac users who are unfamiliar with the approach, especially if the printer or code requirement is a recent addition to their office, as it was for a reader.

The MacOS print dialog has not changed much in many years, so ease of use is just a dream instead of reality. This is in part because the system relies on incorporating specific printer features via printer drivers which remains terribly outdated as well.

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

  1. Select in the app you want to print from File > Print (or use the app̵

    7;s specific printing process).

  2. In the printer dialog, click the pop-up menu that appears at the bottom right. It can have the name of the app in it, like Safari when printing from the Safari browser.

  3. Look for a printer-specific item below the line that separates the cover from other options. Job Options may be marked.

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

  5. Save a preset (see below).

  6. Click Print.

mac911 printing with job code IDG

Specialized printer options appear under the pop-up menu broken by a line at the bottom right (Media & Quality shows here).

Save the layout as a preset in step 5, before printing, by selecting Presets> Save current settings as preset and call it something memorable and descriptive. All details, including the user code, are retained when you select the preset for a future print job.

This Mac 911 article is an answer to a question from Macworld reader Amanda.

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