As of May 2019 Member Splash supports the ability to print purchase receipts from the Point of Sale tool. While you can print to any type of printer we highly recommend using a thermal point of sale printer as they are designed for this type of use, are extremely fast and are very inexpensive to run and maintain. Prices range for as little as $30 for a basic USB model to upwards of $300 for high end, wireless models.
Before we get into the details let’s skip to the final result:
Choosing a Printer
The key factors in determining which model printer is appropriate for your use:
- Where do you want to put?
- Do you have more than one computer or tablet that you want to print to it with?
- What types of computers / tablets are you going to use?
- Do you want to connect it to a cash drawer?
Here at Member Splash we used a very inexpensive USB model (pictured at right, available on Amazon) that can be connected to a computer running Windows, Mac or Linux. NOTE: Chromebooks have very limited support for direct printing. They are designed to work through Google Cloud Print with network enabled printers or printers connected to another computer. In our case the printer is connected to a Linux PC and shared through Google Cloud Print allowing any other computer or device to see and print to it. The printer drivers that control the print size and additional features like opening a cash drawer don’t support Chromebooks. You will likely need a Windows, Mac or Linux computer to connect to your receipt printer.
Steps to Set up Receipt Printing
Once you have successfully connected a printer to one of your devices and confirmed that you can print the next things you’ll want to do are configure the printer for optimal receipt printing and (optionally) share it with other devices. The settings screens and options shown here are specific to the printer model and operating system (Ubuntu Linux 18.10) that we are running. Yours will be similar but will depend on your particular set up. We also use Google Chrome as our preferred browser and any browser setting screen shots reflect that.
In Chrome open any webpage and go to print it — either Control + P or click on the burger menu at the top right of the browser (three vertically stacked dots) and choose print. From there click on Print using system dialog or hit Shift + Control + P.
This will bring up the various settings for your receipt printer.You’ll want to make sure the Paper Size matches your printer. The two most common sizes for thermal printers are 58mm (2″) and 80mm (3 /18″).
Under your printer’s Avanced settings you should see an option for automatically opening a cash drawer if your printer supports that option. The printer we use can be connected to a cash drawer and if this setting is turned on the drawer will open each time a receipt is sent to be printed. The other setting you’ll want to configure here is the amount of blank space to feed the receipt after each order. You’ll want enough to tear it off cleanly — in our testing 21mm worked quite well.
Finally, in the regular printer settings you’ll want to turn off Headers and footers and set the margins to Minimum. Because Member Splash is browser based if you have Headers and footers enabled you’ll get a line at the top with the date and a line at the bottom with the URL and a bunch of blank space in between.
Using Google Cloud Print to Share a Printer
There are lots of different ways to share a printer amongst various devices and they vary based on the type of printer, the devices you are connecting, your network setup, etc. While we can’t cover all of the various scenarios we can suggest one very easy solution that has the added bonus of working with Chromebooks: Google Cloud Print. What it does is allow you to make printers available to any devices logged into the same Google account, no matter what they are or where they are. Your laptop at the front desk, tablet at the snackbar, even your membership chair’s desktop PC at home can all print to any printers shared via Cloud Print.
There are a number of printers that can connect to Cloud Print directly, but thermal receipt printers are not among them (as far as we have found). Fortunately Google offers the ability to connect any printer to Google Cloud Print as long as it is attached to a PC, Mac or Linux computer. You can find the instructions here. Once you have added a printer to Google Cloud print any device logged into that Google account can access it the same as they would a local printer. You can also share the printer with other Google users or groups or with anyone at all, as detailed here.
Enabling Receipt Printing In Member Splash
Once your printing is configured there is only one more step to start using it in Member Splash: configuring the Point of Sale settings. NOTE: By default only the Board user role has access to these settings. This prevents front desk staff from being able to accidentally change something. While logged in as a board member click on the Point of Sale settings icon:
Then scroll down to the Receipt Settings section:
In order to have the option to print receipts the Enable receipt printing checkbox must be checked. If you would like every order to generate a receipt then check the Print for all orders checkbox. If you don’t then after each order is successfully placed the cashier will see the following prompt: