Printers and Scanners

To add a printer open Printers from the application menu and click on the Add button.

To scan a document open Document Scanner from the application menu.

Warning

Linux Mint 20 shipped with a package called ippusbxd. This package prevents many printers from working correctly. If this package is installed on your computer, remove it and reboot.

Note

Network printers can be automatically added and reappear even if you remove them. If you do not like this behaviour, remove the cups-browsed package.

Manufacturers

Hewlett-Packard (HP)

The HP drivers are called HPLIP. They are open-source and they are installed by default in Linux Mint. As a result, most HP printers and scanners work out of the box and don’t require you to install any additional drivers.

Installing hplip-gui

In addition to the already installed hplip driver, there is a package available in the Linux Mint repositories called hplip-gui.

This package provides the following utilities:

  • An HP status tray icon
  • HP Device Manager
  • HPLIP Toolbox
  • HPLIP Fax Utility
  • Fax Address book

Although you do not need hplip-gui to use your HP device, it can provide extra information (such as ink levels) and help troubleshooting.

Installing the proprietary plug-in

Some HP printers require proprietary software technologies to allow full access to printer features and performance. Unfortunately, these technologies cannot be open sourced, but to resolve this HP uses a binary plug-in for these printers.

To see if your printer requires the HP plugin-in, check the list of devices at the HP Developer Website.

To install the plugin-in, open a terminal and type:

apt install python3-pyqt5
sudo hp-setup

Then follow the instructions written on that website.

Brands which provide .deb packages

The following brands provide Linux drivers for their printers and scanners in the form of .deb packages:

  • Epson
  • Lexmark
  • Samsung
  • Xerox

Look for Linux drivers on your manufacturer’s website, download the packages and double-click them to install them with Gdebi.

Hint

When you have a choice between different package options, choose .deb. If you have a choice for the package architecture choose amd64 (note that this is sometimes called x86_64 or even just 64-bit).

Canon

Canon provides Linux drivers for its printers and scanners. They have different websites for Europe, the USA and various countries.

When downloading drivers from Canon, choose the debian Package archive option.

If they come as .tar.gz archives, decompress them.

Canon driver archives usually contain an install.sh script which already has execution permissions. Run it and follow the instructions provided by Canon.

Brother

Brother provides a utility to download and install the right driver for you.

Download the utility, choose deb when asked.

Decompress it, give it permission to execute and run it in a terminal:

chmod a+rx ./linux-brprinter-installer*
sudo ./linux-brprinter-installer*

Then follow the instructions provided by Brother.

Driverless Printing and Scanning

A standard protocol called IPP was designed to communicate with printers and scanners over the network. Nowadays this protocol is supported by many devices.

Driverless printing and scanning consists in using IPP locally, i.e. to be able to print and scan without the need for any drivers at all.

ippusbxd

ippusbxd was an early implementation of IPP over USB. It didn’t work well and caused many issues. It was installed by default in Linux Mint 20. If this package is installed on your computer, make sure to remove it.

apt remove ippusbxd

Then reboot your computer.

ipp-usb

ipp-usb is a new implementation of IPP over USB. It works much better and recognizes many printers and scanners. If you are unable to make your device work using printing/scanning drivers, give ipp-usb a try.

First, remove your printer using the Printers configuration tool.

Then install ipp-usb from the repositories:

apt install ipp-usb

Finally reboot the computer.

Note

When ipp-usb is installed local printers are automatically added. They will reappear if you remove them.

Warning

When ipp-usb is installed it takes over communication with all printing/scanning devices, i.e. printing/scanning drivers cannot work, they’re inhibited.

sane-airscan

sane-airscan provides support for eSCL (Apple AirScan, AirPrint) and Microsoft WSD (WS-Scan, Web Services for Devices).

If you can’t get your scanner to work give sane-airscan a try.

Install it from the repositories:

apt install sane-airscan

And reboot the computer.