Virtual PDF Printer with CUPS Back End for Windows Clients without roaming user profile

From SambaWiki

Beside the various PDF printer programs, which require an installation on clients, it might be useful, to have a virtual Samba printer. This enables users to create and automatically store PDF files on the server, as simple as printing. No additional software installation is required on the clients, if your Samba Print Server provides Point'n'Print support.



  • Install a new cups-pdf printer on CUPS (We consider that there is already a cups-pdf printer dedicated to linux clients with PPD linux driver, so we will create a second cups-pdf printer with RAW driver for windows clients)
  • Add a new printer in the CUPS web interface (Warning: Only cups-pdf v3.0 and later can create multiple pdf printers)
 Choose "CUPS-PDF (Virtual PDF Printer)"
 Name : Virtual_PDF_Printer_raw
 Description : Virtual PDF Printer Raw (or something else)
 Location : CUPS (or something else)
 Do not select "Share this printer"
 Brand : "Raw"
 Model : "Raw queue"
  • Change the URI of the new cups-pdf printer created
 # systemctl stop cups
 Edit /etc/cups/printers.conf
 In the section <Printer Virtual_PDF_Printer_raw> change "DeviceURI cups-pdf:/" to "DeviceURI cups-pdf:/raw"
 # systemctl start cups
  • Create a config file for the new cups-pdf printer created
 In /etc/cups/ make "cp cups-pdf.conf cups-pdf-raw.conf"
 Edit /etc/cups/cups-pdf-raw.conf
 Change to "Out /srv/samba/pdf_output"
 Uncomment "Label 2" (to avoid pdf files with the same name)
  • Create directory for pdf output on the print server
# mkdir /srv/samba/pdf_output
# chgrp -R "SAMDOM\Domain Users" /srv/samba/pdf_output/
# chmod -R 775 /srv/samba/pdf_output/
  • Add the following configuration to your smb.conf (adjust the spool path if necessary):
       path = /var/tmp
       printer = Virtual_PDF_Printer_raw
       comment = Virtual PDF Printer raw (or something else)
       printable = yes

The above section is not necessary if you use "load printers = yes" in your smb.conf

       path = /srv/samba/pdf_output
       read only = no
       hide unreadable = yes
  • Reload Samba
 # smbcontrol all reload-config
  • If you don't want to use Point'n'Print driver installation, add the following line to the printer configuration:
use client driver = yes

Using the virtual PDF printer

  • Connect the printer "PDFprinter" on your client.
  • Connect the share "pdf" on your client.
  • Simply send a print job to the PDFprinter and the PDF is stored in the shared directory "pdf" with the domain user permissions.

Solving problems

  • Apparmor prevents reading cups-pdf-raw.conf and writing to /srv/samba/pdf_output.
 Edit /etc/apparmor.d/usr.sbin.cupsd
 Add below before "}" the next two lines:
   /etc/cups/cups-pdf-raw.conf r,
   /srv/samba/pdf_output/* rw,
  • Restart apparmor
 # systemctl restart apparmor