System Administration Guide: Printing

File Content Type

In this Oracle Solaris release, to assign the file content type printer definition by using Solaris Print Manager, first deselect the Use PPD files default attribute in the Print Manager drop-down menu in Solaris Print Manager. You cannot select a file content type if you use PPD files. The default file content type for printers that are associated with PPD files is PostScript. This file content type is automatically set by the tool. You can also specify file content type by using the lpadmin -I command.

Print filters convert the content type of a file to a content type that is acceptable to the destination printer. The file content type tells the LP print service the type of file contents that can be printed directly, without any filtering. To print without filtering, the necessary fonts must also be available in the printer. You must set up and use filtering for other types of files.

Most printers can print directly the following types of files:

When submitting a file for printing, the user can indicate the content type of the file by using the lp -T content-type command. If no file content type is supplied when the request is submitted, the LP print service checks the first file in the request to determine the content type. If the file begins with ^D%! or %!, the request is considered to contain PostScript data. Otherwise, the request is assumed to contain simple (ASCII) text. The LP print service uses the file content type to determine which filters to use to convert the file contents into a type the printer can handle.

When you are not specifying PPD files, Solaris Print Manager provides a list of file content types from which you can choose when you install or modify an attached or network-attached printer. The choices are translated to the names that the LP print service uses. The following table describes the file content types that you can choose with Solaris Print Manager.

Table 12–1 Choosing File Content Type With Solaris Print Manager When Not Using PPD Files

File Contents Choice 

LP Print Service Name 




PostScript files do not require filtering.  



ASCII files do not require filtering. 

Both PostScript and ASCII 

simple, postscript

PostScript files and ASCII files do not require filtering. 



All files require filtering, except those files that match the printer's type. 



No filtering is required. If the printer cannot handle a file content type directly, the file will not be printed. 

Choose the file content type that best matches the printer's capabilities. PostScript is the default choice in Solaris Print Manager and is probably correct most of the time. PostScript means that filtering is not needed for PostScript files.