How to Print a Check With Linux
By Leon Williams
Check-printing is one of the most basic and often-used features of a financial software suite for businesses of all sizes. Many popular all-in-one bookkeeping and check-printing solutions exist for Windows systems. But for businesses that need to run Linux-based computer systems for one reason or another, finding (and using) the right software can be difficult.
Install and configure GnuCash software for Linux. This is a free program. See References for a link to detailed installation instructions. Many Linux distributions already include GnuCash, but it may not be installed by default depending on what form of Linux you're running.
Launch GnuCash. You will be at the main "Account Register" module, which is where the check printing process starts.
Create a new transaction reflecting the payee, amount, date, etc. of the check you wish to create. One simple way to create a new transaction is to stay in the default Account Register view and simply enter the transaction information into a blank line in the register window.
Select the new transaction; then go to the "File" menu and choose "Print Check."
Select basic printing options on the default "Options" tab. Switching to the second tab will allow you to customize the format of your printed checks extensively (even to the point that you could potentially create checks that do not meet bank standards). This is optional and not recommended for first-time users.
Print the check to the printer of your choice. If you're printing single checks per page on check-sized blanks, configure the printer's paper settings as needed. For specific printer setup issues, reference your printer's documentation or the manufacturer website. For a valid check, you must have a dedicated MICR printer or a laser printer equipped with special MICR toner. (MICR stands for "magnetic ink character recognition", which is the technology that allows bank scanners and point-of-sale machines to quickly and accurately read a check's routing and account information.)
Inspect your check. If it does not meet your needs, go back to the print dialogue and make minor adjustments to the Custom settings tab before re-printing. Consult GnuCash documentation as needed. Destroy the first print once you have created a suitable replacement.
- The Makecheque check-printing utility may be a better option for power users who are familiar with using command-based Linux programs and want to create a large batch of checks without creating transactions through GnuCash's Account Register interface. See Resources for link.
- Check-printing software should only be used for legitimate business needs. Printing fraudulent checks can result in serious criminal penalties. When in doubt, seek legal counsel.
Leon Williams has worked as a fiction editor, sporting goods retailer, rock musician, systems analyst, help desk technician and marketing coordinator. He holds a bachelor's degree from Northern Michigan University, where he studied English, computer science and new media. He has had work published in a variety of online venues as well as the Uncle John's Bathroom Reader series of books.