How PaperCut MF authenticates at an MFD

How PaperCut MF authenticates at an MFD

Typically a site planning on implementing print and copy monitoring (or perhaps adding copy monitoring to an existing print management system) will contact us and discuss the requirements with regards to how PaperCut MF authenticates.

It’s our job as the master distributor for PaperCut MF in the UK to provide a neutral point of view and outline various factors to consider when planning print/copy management, as it can be a little daunting knowing where to start. A key aspect is how users authenticate at the copier/MFD.


With PaperCut, there are various authentication options, including:

  • Username and password – Users can use their domain/network username and password to log into the MFD.
  • Identity number – Users can log in with their identity number. ID numbers are convenient when usernames are very long or too cumbersome to enter. For example, rather than entering a username like ‘john.smith001’, it may be more convenient to enter an employee ID of ‘1234’.
  • Identity number with a PIN – When users log in with their ID number, they must also provide a PIN number which provides an additional layer of security.
  • Swipe card – The user may log in by swiping a card (magnetic stripe, Mifare, barcode, HID etc).
  • Swipe card with a PIN – When users log in by swiping a card, they must also provide a PIN number. This provides an additional layer of security in case a user loses a card, this will stop anyone else logging in with the card and getting “free” copies.
  • Automatically log in as user – A specific user is always logged in to the device (useful for print room staff).

Using a contactless card reader attached to the MFD (supported models only) is the quickest authentication method. Users simply walk up to the MFD and wave the card near the reader. The reader pushes out the number it reads from the card and sends this information to the PaperCut server where it performs a look-up to see what user has that card number associated with it. Once the lookup process has taken place (it’s instant, don’t worry!) the copier logs the user on and allows them to take photocopies or release any prints waiting, assuming there is enough credit.

As well as the methods mentioned above, PaperCut embedded also supports Biometric authentication. Biometrics (or biometric authentication) refers to the identification of humans by their characteristics. When used for print and copy control authentication this is typically finger or thumbprints.


What if you don’t know the numbers on your cards or don’t want to maintain card numbers and import them into PaperCut?

No worries! PaperCut allows self-registration. This time-saving feature puts all the responsibility on your users and away from the overworked IT Team.

Users with cards attempting to swipe the card for the first time will be prompted on the screen of the MFD that the card they have scanned is unknown to PaperCut. They will then be asked to associate that card with their user account. Users will simply input their network username and password and then as if by magic the card number scanned is assigned to that particular PaperCut user. The next time users wish to log in they swipe the card as normal and are logged in and allowed access to the MFD.

Other options include importing card numbers into PaperCut from a CSV file, importing card numbers from LDAP or even keeping the card data on an external database. Alternatively, if you have nothing better to do with your time, you can manually input each card number in PaperCut one by one…

So card based authentication is the preferred method. It’s quick and easy to use and inexpensive to set up. We are glad to say that the majority of sites that install PaperCut MF in the UK use cards for authentication.

Selectec is happy to offer a 40-day trial of PaperCut MF get in touch and we can set you up.

PaperCut MF authenticates
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Fastek Consultancy have worked on many large scale PaperCut projects with Selectec over the last few years. The level of expertise and support from Selectec is of the highest standard. Fastek have been approached by a number of other software companies wanting to work with us on machine management projects and we have turned them all down, purely because of the strength of our relationship with Selectec

Gary Whitaker Fastek Consultancy
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