Ubuntu – HP Color LaserJet MFP M277dw: previews and prints in colour instead of grayscale


This is my hardware/software configuration:

  • HP Color LaserJet MFP M277dw
  • HPLIP 3.15.11
    • Note of 6 Oct 2016: the problem persists with HPLIP 3.16.2
  • HPP0053.PPD version 19.12, freshly updated last week.
    • Note of 6 Oct 2016: the driver is still the same

I want to print some pages from a pdf file with images in colour. I visualize this file with evince and want to print it in greyscale rather than in colour. Therefore, I activate the instruction to "print colour as gray" in the printer dialogue window.

In disregard of my settings, the preview of evince itself is in colour and so is the print. (Moreover, this occurs regardless of whether I set gray printing as default in the printer settings upstream of evince.)

This issue is recent is my computer. Previously there was a perfect correspondence between evince, its printer dialogue settings and the printer response.
Beside the regular Ubuntu updates, the only change that I can obviously connect this new situation to is the driver upgrade from HPP00036.PPD v 19.10 to HPP0053.PPD v 19.12.

This issue is not new to HP printers, though. This post suggests to add the same printer once again, but this does not work for me. I get a responsive colour/greyscale toggle only if I install my printer as a M577 model instead of M277 (thereby giving in the duplex printing capabilities). This indicates that the glitch has to do with the driver devised for this specific model.

In the internet it's possible to find similar complaints on HP printers in Windows environments as well.

I would like to restore a normal state of affairs.

  • Has anyone had a similar experience?
  • Is the HP driver the actual culprit?
  • Is there a proven solution strategy to fix this?

Addendum 11/12/15

The screenshot below shows the job attributes of one print that I intended to print in grayscale and was printed in colour instead. The line `HPPJLColorAsGray yes' is apparent. Even worse, the document is printed in high resolution, ignoring the EconoMode setting too.

  • Does anyone spot a fault that could invalidate these settings?

Screenshot of attributes of a job printing in colour instead of grayscale

Best Answer

This is actually a workaround. If I add the existing printer HP Color LaserJet MFP M277dw once again as a new device and then claim that it is a Color LaserJet MFP M476, I obtain an interface enabling duplex printing and with a responsive colour/greyscale toggle. Not so for (some) other drivers of the same family, inclusive the very M277 as seen.

Also, it was interesting to observe that the driver for MFP 577 is still being recommended for a MFP M277 gadget. So one would be induced to oversee the driver for M277 that does exist, however glitchy, down the list.

In order to add a new printer (Ubuntu 14.04), go to System Settings -> Hardware/Printers and click on the Add button at the top left of the menu bar.

In my case the printer was already on and connected via the USB port. It might take a little time before the system scan the devices connected. Then the printer got recognized with its own true name. The rest is intuitive. The point of choice is a few steps later when you select the driver that actually works via the model name.