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When I print something (Firefox 5 but also other apps), the option "color" is always set to "Color (CMYK)". How do I make "monochrome" or "black & white" the default?

This is a Kyocera FS-C5100DN with CUPS 1.4.6-5ubuntu1.3.

[EDIT] Output of lpstat -d -v:

system default destination: FS-C5100DN
device for FS-C5100DN: socket://

So the question is now: Can I change the default somehow on my own computer without changing settings on the server?

share|improve this question
Can someone with enough points please add "black&white" or "monochrome" or "B&W" or some similar tag? – Aaron Digulla Aug 8 '11 at 11:28
I don't think that's necessary. Also the colors tag you used is actually for something else in Unix. The cups tag is the right one to use for this. – Caleb Aug 8 '11 at 12:19
Please show the output of lpstat -d -v. – Gilles Aug 8 '11 at 21:32
up vote 7 down vote accepted

You can configure CUPS defaults for your account by running the lpoptions command. Run lpoptions -l to see what options are available for your printer, and determine which one corresponds to the color/monochrome choice. For example, with this output

$ lpoptions -l | grep Color
ColorModel/Color Model: Gray Black *RGB CMY CMYK KCMY

I would set ColorModel to Black. Then run lpoptions -o NAME=VALUE to set a default option. This creates a file called ~/.cups/lpoptions that applications using CUPS will read.

lpoptions -o ColorModel=Black

Other printers may use different parameters, e.g.

lpoptions -o ColorType=Mono

You can define aliases for sets of options and make one of them the default.

lpoptions -p FS-C5100DN/bw -o ColorModel=Black
lpoptions -p FS-C5100DN/color -o ColorModel=RGB
lpoptions -d FS-C5100DN/bw
share|improve this answer
+1 for this excellent answer! – Aaron Digulla Aug 10 '11 at 6:58
Note: Color is not a standard option. On my Epson XP-202 it was Ink=MONO, to you really have to | less it up and read in general :-( – Ciro Santilli 巴拿馬文件 六四事件 法轮功 Apr 22 '15 at 16:42

Most CUPS printer drivers have this in their options settings. I don't know about Ubunutu but a default CUPS installation will include a special local-host only web server that can be used for configuration and management of printers. Try this URL:

From there go to the Printers tab, select the printer you want to modify, then choose "Set Defaults Options" from the Administration menu. My printer has B&W default options under the Printout Mode tab, but yours may vary.

share|improve this answer
The "Printers" tab is empty :-/ Which is odd because I can print (just did it :-) ) lpq can see my printer. My guess is that this is a remote queue. Any idea where I should look for it? – Aaron Digulla Aug 8 '11 at 14:05

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