I am trying to print groups of pdf files without opening the files.

I am trying to print from either the automator app, which is a hot folder to print, or drag and drop onto printer. Every time it prints the page scale to fit. I changed the setting in terminal to.....

defaults write com.apple.Preview PVImagePrintingScaleMode 0

Thinking that maybe those uses the preview app to print. That did change the setting if I open up preview but it did not fix the problem.

I have logged into CUPS but I am not seeing anything in there about scaling.

If I open the pdfs in preview or acrobat and manually print them and have the setting at 100% they come out correctly.

lp -o fit-to-page. ??? but do I just type that into terminal? does it need to have a false on the end?

Not sure what needs to be done to fix the problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

1 Answer 1


If you drag and drop onto the Printer queue window, or otherwise send a job to print without settings the print options, then CUPS will fall back on the default options for that queue.

Check the manual to see if there's a way to set the default for your printer using its control panel, or other method.

Failing that, you can set the default options for a specific queue in the CUPS web front-end. First, make sure that you can access the CUPS web interface:

cupsctl WebInterface=yes

Then in your browser, go to http://localhost:631

Click on Printers in the menubar at the top. Click on the print queue. Then choose Set Default Options from the 2nd drop-down menu. CUPS menu


You may find a Fit To Page parameter, with options:

CUPS menu2

But the available options will depend on the definable characteristic of your printer. The fact that it is scaling suggests it does have such a setting.

As for the lp command: that command sends files to a print queue, and you can specify the job options that are used. To find the appropriate options, use:

lpoptions -l <printQueueName>

The print Queue Name is optional for the default printer.

So, for my HP LaserJet, I get (among other things)

HPPaperPolicy/Fit to Page: PromptUser *NearestSizeAdjust NearestSizeNoAdjust

The asterisk shows the current default. If I wanted to change that for a specific file, I would use:

lp -d <printQueueName> -o HPPaperPolicy=NearestSizeNoAdjust /path/to/file

Again, you don't need the -d flag to set the destination if it's the default printer.

  • Thank you for your reply, I have tried the steps you listed about the CUPS. But my printer does not have the Fit to page drop down. I have looked thru all 90 pages of the user manual and nothing in there about it. But I am not sure how to use the lp commands.....Is this in terminal? Mar 26, 2020 at 14:12
  • What model is your printer? Does it have a control panel for configuring it? Yes, the lp command is used in Terminal. You can also try saving the Default settings in the Print menu by setting everything and then holding Alt when you press Print. I don't know if this will affect dropping on the print window, though. Can you explain your entire workflow more fully, and why opening in Preview isn't ideal, as there may be other options. For instance, it is possible to use AppleScript to open the PDF in Preview, print it, and close.
    – benwiggy
    Mar 27, 2020 at 10:40

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