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Tips for using the Ip command to print from Linux systems

The lp command on Linux systems offers a range of printing options that allow you to print documents using a variety of options. In this post, we take a look at some that offer interesting possibilities.

The recent Printing from the Linux command line post covers printing in double-sided and portrait mode. In this post, we’ll look at printing:

  • Multiple pages per sheet
  • Specific pages or page ranges
  • Pages with borders
  • Multiple copies

How to print multiple pages per sheet

With lp, you can print as many as 16 pages of a document on one side of a single sheet of paper. To specify the number of pages to print on a page, use the  lp -o number-up=# command (e.g.,  lp -o number-up=16 mydoc). If your document doesn’t contain as many pages as you’ve requested in the layout, that’s OK. The page will simply have an empty area.

You also get to choose how those pages are arranged. The default is to print left to right and top to bottom (also referred to as “lrtb”). This is clearly the most common way to order content.

 1  2  3  4
 5  6  7  8
 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16

If instead you choose “btrl”, your output pages would be organize like this:

16 12  8  4
15 11  7  3
14 10  6  2
13  9  5  1

Of course, that just represents the order of the pages. If the pages themselves contain normal text, those printouts are going to include some very tiny letters, and you might need a good magnifying glass to read them!


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