Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Print to old LocalTalk LaserWriters System
Some of my costumers use these old heavyweight Apple LocalTalk LaserWriters (i.e. Personal LaserWriter NT) to print their bills. There was always the question of why they don't work in OS X? But with the release of 10.2 (Jaguar) which includes CUPS, and with the help of, they now will print.
  1. Download the drivers and ghostscript from and install the packages.

  2. Download and install the LocalTalk Bridge on your "Printserver." Your printserver is, in fact, an OS 9 computer with the ability to connect a LocalTalk printer.

  3. Reboot the "Printserver".

  4. Add the LocalTalk Printer via PrintCenter as is explained in the manuals.
Now you can print on these oldheavyweights.

[Editor's note: I haven't tested this hint myself, as I no longer have one of these heavyweights lying around (nor an OS 9 machine...). Again, my apologies if this is somewhat of a duplicate, but I'm erring on the side of too much info on the printing hints...]
  • Currently 3.00 / 5
  You rated: 3 / 5 (3 votes cast)

Print to old LocalTalk LaserWriters | 18 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Print to old LocalTalk LaserWriters' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
And it didn't work before?!
Authored by: seek on Nov 19, '02 10:10:50AM

I've been using an old LW select 360, connected through LocalTalk Bridge to an OS 9 machine and then onto the Ethernet LAN without a problem since 10.0.
The PPDs for those old Apple printers were always pre installed and the correct one was even auto-detected by the print center in my case.

Maybe someone forgot to tell me it wasn't supposed to work?

Now, apparently, I could use the parallel port of the LW select 360 on the print server built into my Asante broadband router using Gimp print and cie. That would be nice... But I really like the feedback Appletalk provides on the printing process compared to LPR.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Ethernet bridge for LocalTalk printers
Authored by: mclbruce on Nov 19, '02 11:47:01AM

You don't have to use an old Mac running OS 9 to get an old laserwriter on an Ethernet network. You could also use an Asante Localtalk to Ethernet bridge to connect a Localtalk printer to an OS X computer:

Farallon makes a similar device, called the EtherMac iPrint adaptor. I couldn't find it on Proxim's web site but it's still available mail order:

I have found that OS X does have the ppd files for some of the older Apple printers and once you get them on Ethernet they will work fine in OS X. Some of these older printers still have a lot of life left in them...

[ Reply to This | # ]
Ethernet bridge for LocalTalk printers
Authored by: seek on Nov 19, '02 11:52:06AM

Oh yeah, hardware bridges are nice, silent and cool.

But a SE/30 or a IIsi with an Ethernet card are a lot cheaper!

[ Reply to This | # ]
Ethernet bridge for LocalTalk computers
Authored by: mclbruce on Nov 19, '02 01:54:46PM

Right you are seek. I wonder if anyone has tried using LocalTalk Bridge for networking, not just printing? You could connect an Ethernetless Mac such as a Mac Plus to your Ethernet enabled server machine running LocalTalk Bridge. Would you be able to mount the Mac Plus HD in OS X?

[ Reply to This | # ]
Ethernet bridge for LocalTalk printers
Authored by: barryjaylevine on Nov 19, '02 01:39:52PM

I recommend (and use) the iPrintLT which can be found on the web for about $60 or so. You also need one "PhoneNet" connector (between the printer and the iPrintLT). The iPrintLT ships with both patch and cross-over RJ45 cables. My current system is a Dual-867 running 10.2.2. The printer is a LaserWriter 4/600.

Want to get even faster printing? Set the PPD as "Generic" instead of to the specific printer you have. This will disable some special features your printer may have but, in the case of my LW 4/600, there are no special features anyway!


[ Reply to This | # ]
It does work (like a charm)
Authored by: googoo on Nov 19, '02 12:33:50PM

I just wanted to point out that this hint does work as posted. I have been doing exactly the same thing with a Power Mac 7100 (running Mac OS 8.6) connected to a LaserWriter 4/600 PS since installing OS X on my other Macs in 2001. The LaserWriter is too nice a printer to give up, and the 7100 works too well as a print server to justify purchasing a hardware bridge. (The 7100 also runs a few legacy programs that do not work on OS X.)


[ Reply to This | # ]
This works, But...
Authored by: foo12 on Nov 19, '02 02:00:58PM

LocalTalk Bridge is notoriously finicky and hacky. Just a heads up.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Personal LaserWriter 300?
Authored by: bOOzo on Nov 19, '02 02:55:09PM

I was very excited when i first saw this topic, but it did not work for me.. Is Apple Personal LaserWriter 300 not supported..?

[ Reply to This | # ]
Personal LaserWriter 300?
Authored by: sfn on Nov 19, '02 10:08:24PM

The 300 is a serial Quickdraw printer so I don't think this hint applies but I too am looking for a solution to use this printer in X.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Personal LaserWriter 300?
Authored by: Bassil on Nov 19, '02 11:31:46PM

Two thoughts here:

1) what about a USB -> (Mac) serial adapter?
(or a USB -> PC serial -> Mac serial adapter?)

has anyone given that a spin?

eg. iPrint Serial , or a Griffin Technology gPort or one of their other serial adapters. The serial Laserwriters in particular were not listed but I wonder... be nice to see confirmation that they do indeed work with this printer.

2) The million dollar idea.

Assuming you still have an old Mac that will hook up to and work with the serial LaserWriter, try this:

print all your documents on the OS X machine to PDF.
If you Print then because you have no printer, it will pop up a dialog and one of the options is "save as PDF"
So save it.
Maybe you can even get like like a stub driver for OS X much like the old Mac OS 8/9 PrintToPDF Chooser extensions? That would only save like 1 step and 5 seconds so it's not critical.

Now ship your file over to your old Mac (set up network, use a Zip disk, whatever you like)... fire up the free Adobe Acrobat Reader on the old Mac, ... now print.

Now that might be mildly annoying but if you did something incredibly smart like File Sharing between the Macs, and then used something like Apple's Folder Actions or a scheduling (cron-like) utility with AppleScripts you could print anything that dropped into some given shared folder. Make sense?

Now I'm far too busy just now to go through all this, but here's what I envision:

Mac OS X computer
print - save as PDF
save/copy PDF file to a Shared Folder accessible by both Mac's.
OS 9 Mac automatically sees the new PDF file (via script/util)
Using Acrobat or other application, prints the PDF file

rinse and repeat.

(or take out the "automatic" part and just print it manually... you could batch up your jobs all day and then print them all at night when electricity is cheaper. ;-)

If you try this out, post what you do and if you use any neat utils or write some AppleScripts, please post too.

If no one goes for this, I'll probably get some free time kinda mid-December to drag out my old Mac and LW 300.


[ Reply to This | # ]
Personal LaserWriter 300?
Authored by: MacGoddess on Nov 21, '02 12:02:59PM

OSX does not support serial port printing, and I believe the PLW 300 is a serial port only printer, so I think you're probably SOL. But, if you have one of the older laserwriters other than the PLW 300, you either have to use a print server, and localtalk bridge like others have posted, or get an iPrint adapter which connects to Localtalk on your printer and to Ethernet on your computer or hub, or a parallel to USB cable is also supported, if your printer has a parallel port. OSX also does not support Postscript Level 1 printers. If your laserwriter is postscript level 2 or 3, it has been supported in OSX all along. The PLW 320, for example, is a pslevel 2 printer, so it is supported in that regard. But, if your laserwriter is postscript level 1 only (Like the Laserwriter, the Laserwriter II, IINT and IINTX for example), it is not supported in OSX. Up until recently that is. : ) Make sure that your laserwriter is turned on before installing! Install Ghostscript first and then install the pslevel1 drivers. Then hold down the option key and click on Add Printer in the Print Center. Hopefully, you should be able to see your printer. In my case, I found mine under the regular Appletalk menu, not under Advanced. Choose the appropriate ppd file for your printer, and you should be printing...finally!

[ Reply to This | # ]
Personal LaserWriter 300?
Authored by: markgill on Nov 27, '02 08:16:35PM

What I don't understand is why I can print to my PLW 300 from Classic, but not from Jaguar. Just because it is serial should not matter. I can see it using atlookup, so why can't I send it data to print?

[ Reply to This | # ]
Personal LaserWriter 300?
Authored by: MacGoddess on Nov 29, '02 05:59:24AM

You should definitely check out It might give you some ideas on how to make it work.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Balthazar's experiments partially succeeds
Authored by: markgill on Nov 30, '02 12:59:26PM

When I issue the command atlookup I find Printer:LWSelect300 on my little network. It is connected to my wife's OS 9 PowerBook through iDock (serial to USB). This is good. However, when I attempt to print my sample document, which I created using print to file in Classic, using the command atprint Printer:LWSelect300 < LW300.prn the command times out (ATPsndreq: Operatin timed out). I think this step should work, but I don't know what to test next.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Print66 - LocalTalk, Serial and USB support
Authored by: freshmikeb on Nov 20, '02 08:12:33PM

I've been using Print66 (a freeware lp daemon) with ease on a PowerMac 8100/80 under OS 9.1 with a Personal LaserWriter 320 connected to the printer port (AppleTalk). I use the 8100/80 as a print server on my home network and send print jobs to it via ethernet from my OSX boxes using IP Printing. No special set-up or software required on the OSX boxes.

Print66 also supports serial printers (ImageWriter II anyone?) and USB printers though I have not tested these set-ups. Give it a shot with your Personal Laserwriter 300.

Runs under OS 7-9.

This little program saved my LW320 and 8100/80 from the junkpile.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Personal Laserwriter NTR
Authored by: tramadius on Jan 08, '03 01:00:18PM

Any idea if it is possible to print via Jaguar to an old Apple Personal Laserwriter NTR without using a OS 9-based print server? I have a Local Talk Serial to USB adapter. My Jaguar based machine can see there is a device attached but is asking for a driver so it can recognize it. Any clue?

[ Reply to This | # ]
Personal Laserwriter NTR
Authored by: Jeep on Nov 05, '03 05:55:59PM

Just wanted to chim in (months later) that we have an old Laserwriter NTR and a Beige G3 running OSX. A friend just loaned me the same type of Parallel-to-USB converter cable, and it does the same thing - shows up as an Unknown printer....

Anyone have any other tricks?

An earlier suggestion above said use a LocalTalk to Ethernet bridge such as:

But pricing on this device is about $85. Is it worth it? What if I buy a network router? Can I attach the Laserwriter NTR to that somehow? Don't some routers include a parallel port? But will OSX still refuse to talk with the printer?

(When you look at spending $85 towards an old printer, you start to ask why not just buy a new ink jet and be done with it...)

[ Reply to This | # ]
Print to old LocalTalk LaserWriters
Authored by: lorien on Nov 18, '04 06:17:03AM

You can easily print with you MacOSX mac directly to a lokal talk laser writer with an USB to parallel cable. An old MacOS9 in between is not necessary. Go to sites:
and download:
• pslevel1-foomatic-1.1.ppc.dmg
• espgs-7.05.5-0.ppc.dmg
Install these on your computer. Then, go to Print Center, hold down the ALT key and double click on "Add". A menu appears: choose in top list "Advanced". Choose for Device "Unknown". In Device Name type a name for your printer. In Printer Model choose Apple or any other brand. A pull downmenu appears. Choose your printer from the list and click "Add". Your printer is added to the Printer List. Choose it, and start your printing jobs.

[ Reply to This | # ]