Simply put, this is what I want: I want to take a unique printer preset that has already been made and make the OS default to it any time that particular printer is selected to be printed to.

I know how to edit a particular printer's 'Default Settings' preset through the CUPS web UI, but this solution doesn't work for me because one of the printing options I need to change doesn't appear in this UI (for science: the printers I'm working with are Konica Minolta Bizhub C252, C353, and C364; the setting I'm looking to change is make the default color "Grayscale").

I have been able to modify the com.apple.print.custompresets.forprinter.PRINTER.plist file to get the system print dialog to pull up the preset that I want by default, but there is a problem with solving things this way: I can't edit this PLIST file properly with TextEdit (the XML gets mangled), and installing XCode on every machine isn't feasible. A solution could be to bring an editor with me on a thumb drive to each machine, but I don't know of an app I could use.

Any path to a solution to this problem, I am open to. I've tried to be as specific about my ultimate goal as possible, and I will answer any followup questions I can.

Any ideas?

3 Answers 3


There is a much easier way.

  1. Create a Print Preset, with the settings as you want them. Select it.

  2. Press the Print button while holding down Alt (Option).

That will force your current settings to be the default for the printer.

  • 1
    Wonderfull! While I love the Option trick I have to confess that Apple did a really poor job documenting its behavior. At least it should change the button name when you press alt.
    – sorin
    Feb 23, 2019 at 9:18

This Konica model is a PostScript printer, right?

You shouldn't need to directly edit any .plist file for this.

The correct way to do this without using the GUI (web UI or printer settings) is via the lpadmin command.

  1. First, find out what options are provided by the printer (which are laid down in the PPD file located in /etc/cups/ppd/printqueuename.ppd):

    lpoptions -l -p printqueuename

    Most likely you will see lots of lines, one of them like these:

    ColorModel/Color Mode: *CMYK Gray

    In each line the asterisk (like above in '*CMYK') denotes a default setting, which will be automatically applied when printing, and you do not need to specify it separately.

    That means, you would have to supply a print job you want done in Gray on the command line like this:

    lp -d printqueuename -o ColorModel=Gray some-file
  2. Second, now use this Knowledge to change this setting system wide by running this command:

    sudo lpadmin -p printerqueuename -o ColorModel=Gray

    You can now check, if your setting has been applied. For this, run:

    lpoptions -p printerqueuename | grep --color ColorModel

Of course you can apply this method for any other particular setting. To repeat:

  1. Use lpoptions -l -p printer to find out the (vendor-specific) syntax of option names and their values

  2. Use lpadmin -p printer -o option1=valuaA -o option2=valueB ... to set (multiple, in this case) default print settings (which will also show up pre-selected in the OS print dialog). [Note: for more recent CUPS versions you have to use -o option1-default=valueA...]

  3. Check success of setting with lpoptions -p printer (or check it with the GUI).

  • One note: this method only allows to use options provided in PPD. Some printers provide certain options via their own proprietary print dialog extensions (PDE). Such options may not be available in PPD and therefore cannot be set on command line.
    – Leo Braun
    Jun 2 at 4:55

Are you looking for a way to edit files easily?

TextWrangler is a good option. It's a small, free, and good plist editor. You can put that on a thumb drive and go to each machine and install it. On your thumb drive you can also have a file named "plist_edit.sh" with these contents:

edit /path/to/your/plist/com.apple.print.custompresets.forprinter.PRINTER.plist

Once TextWrangler is installed, just double-click the plist_edit.sh file. I know you don't want to have to install something on every machine but TextWrangler is nice to have and "light" and once it's installed, it's there. This question is a bit old so I'm guessing you found a solution already.

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