How to copy print spool document in Mavericks?

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by saqibhasan, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. saqibhasan macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2007
    Hi there,

    I'm on the road at the moment but have sent a file to be printed - it is an online thing and so I can't reprint it. I have paused the printer, but in the past if I have inadvertently closed my printer server (the little icon in the dock) then it has erased all files pending.

    In the past, I had managed to go to the spool dir (/private/var/spool/cups) and copy the files to my desktop as pdfs. For some reason, in mavericks I can't do this - it says the file is not pdf and is corrupted. So not sure what to do? I don't want to risk losing the file basically.

    Any and all help appreciated ;)
  2. NoBoMac macrumors 68000

    Jul 1, 2014
    Some more details, please? I'm not understanding what you are doing and intentions. Basically, yes, I'm not surprised it doesn't work and kinda surprised it ever did.

    Example, a print job to a printer might be a Postscript file or HPGL or other format, depending on the printer and it's drivers. So, yeah, can't copy and expect PDF in probably many cases.

    Why not just print the web page as a PDF file via the PDF button in the print dialog? I do that all the time from webpages: purchases, boarding passes, payments, with great results (occasionally, a website is not setup for a "print view" of something, so, get stuck with all their border fluff/graphics/etc).
  3. saqibhasan thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2007
    In the past, you could click and drag it off onto your desktop.

    The print I've made is from coupons and it doesn't let you choose how to print, otherwise I would have just saved it as PDF.

    In 10.8, I could copy from print spool as a PDF using cp command.
  4. NoBoMac macrumors 68000

    Jul 1, 2014
    Well, it's not so much Mavericks, but how the print job is generated. I don't print much, but my last print job, a boarding pass for a flight, was sent as a PDF to CUPS from a web page (the airline has a "print boarding pass" button).

    Yes, some print jobs get sent to CUPS as PDFs. You can see that by opening a terminal window, "cd" to /var/spool/cups, then do:

    head -1 enter_name_of_data_file_here

    (data file starts with a "d")

    If the print job is a PDF file, you will see "%PDF". Otherwise, the print job was sent to CUPS in some other format. For example, I had two print jobs that appeared to be PCL format (no idea what generated those).

    You can also look at the control file of the print job. As above, go to the cups folder, then if you have the "strings" command installed (think that is available only if you have Xcode installed):

    strings enter_name_of_c_file_here

    You will get a lot of stuff. You want to locate "document-format", and the line after that will tell you what format the source file of the print job is in.

    So, some of these coupon generator sites might be sending Postscript, GIF/JPEG, and just about any other format.

    But, long story short, nothing has changed in Mavericks.
  5. saqibhasan thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2007
    thanks for that.

    i tried head -1 command and got a bunch of gobbledegook. Strings I can't try since I don't have x-code and my mobile data is like 2.4gb to cover for the next 2 weeks!

    thanks anyway. dunno why it's not doing it this time - it's the same coupon site.
  6. NoBoMac macrumors 68000

    Jul 1, 2014
    That you got gobbly gook with the head command means that the print file is not PDF. Probably can get a clue by sifting through the gobbly gook.

    A PDF print file will look something like the attached screen grab.

    Attached Files:

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