Information Technology FAQs



Policies & Procedures


Printing & Plotting


What software can I find in the labs?

Software is updated each semester as requested by faculty members. The computer labs have any and all software programs that are required in College of Design courses. The software does vary between the McNeal and Rapson Hall labs. Lists of software titles available in each of the lab rooms can be found on the Software page.

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What technology do I need to be successful at the College of Design?

The College has laptop technology requirements that aim to provide students with sufficient techology to be successful in college programs. See the Computer Standards page for more information.

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What technology does the college provide?

The College of Design offers several fully equipped computer labs. Two labs are reserved for teaching, but can be used by students when a class is not in session. The computer lab in Rapson Hall 71 is a 24-hour access working lab for graduate students who pay the College of Design collegiate fee.

Color Printing

There are two Canon ImageRunner 5180 color laser printers in Rapson Hall and one Canon ImageRunner 3080 in McNeal Hall.

  • 8 1/2 x 11 and 11 x 17
  • 1200 x 1200 DPI
  • 51 ppm
  • 1.5 GB RAM & 80 GB HDD

Black and white prints cost $0.05 single sided, $0.08 double sided. Color prints cost $0.12 single sided, & $0.20 double sided.


Rapson Hall is equipped with a wide format (42") color scanner, as well as two Epson Expression 10000XL fletbed scanners, which can scan up to 11x17 sized paper.

Black and White Plotting

Both Rapson Hall and McNeal Hall can print B&W on a 42" Design Jet plotter. Black and white plots cost $1 per linear foot.

Color Plotting

There are three HP DesignJet Z6200 plotters at Rapson Hall and two at McNeal Hall. They print 42" wide. The College of Design Labs offer either Heavy Weight Matte paper or Satin Photobase paper at $3 per linear foot for either. Black and white prints, if printed on either of these paper, cost $3 per foot. All plotting must be done during open lab hours. Laser printers are available for use at any time with graduate student after hours status.

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What software should I know for success at the College of Design?

Here are some recommended software programs you may want to know:


  • Microsoft Office Suite:
    • Microsoft Word
    • Microsoft PowerPoint
    • Microsoft Excel
  • Image Editing Software and Page Layout:
    • Adobe Photoshop
    • Adobe Illustrator
    • Adobe InDesign
  • 3D Design Programs and CAD
    • AutoCad
    • Revit
    • SketchUp
    • 3DS Max

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Where can I learn and/or buy these programs?

The College of Design offers several courses in the programs mentioned above. Software can be purchased through the University with significant savings. Visit the Bookstores or check out the Bookstore's MTech website for various options.

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Who can use the college computer labs?

The College of Design computer labs are limited access. Use of these labs is limited to students currently enrolled in College of Design classes or who are completing required course work as well as college faculty and staff. Students must pay the College of Design collegiate fee in order to have access to the labs. Graduate students paying the College of Design collegiate fee have 24-hour access to the lab in Rapson Hall room 71. Doors can be opened by swiping an active UCard.

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How do I use the college computer labs?

If you are paying the College of Design collegiate fee, or are a faculty or staff member, you will login to the computers using your x.500 username and password. This is the same password you use to access your email and other University resources online.

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How can I request a change in software or equipment?

Because the College of Design computer labs include over 150 computers and rooms on two campuses, the job of keeping them up-to-date and synchronized is complicated. However, as an academic facility, the need to be flexible and adaptable is also important. With these things in mind, the college has established a change policy for the computer labs that provides a regular cycle for updates and improvements to the computer labs. You can find the policy here and you can find a diagram showing the change management cycle here.

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How can I reserve a lab for class use?

Rapson Hall rooms 33 and 35 are available to be reserved for class use. Please contact the College of Design lab manager, Greg Lockhart at to schedule a room.

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Is there a place for me to store files?

The computers in the labs will clear their desktops and downloads after each logout. The Data Folder (D:\) can be used as a place for students to temporarily store work on the hard drive while they are working on it. It may not be used as a personal long-term storage space.

Semester-long network storage space is also available for all college undergraduate and graduate courses. Each studio or class that requests storage space is assigned a space to store their files; that space is named after the course number. Class folders can be requested by contacting central OIT at or 612-301-4357. To access the class folders follow these instructions.

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Why doesn't everyone have 24-hour access?

The current door locks are limited to 1000 IDs which is insufficient for the nearly 2000 faculty, staff, and students now in the College of Design. In order to replace the locks with a model that will accommodate the growing college it would be necessary to spend $25,000. The college chooses to invest money in improving the equipment and software available in the labs which results in much greater benefits to students.

The College of Design also chose to bring the Rapson Hall lab hours into alignment with those in McNeal Hall to ensure equality across the college. These hours ensure the same access for students in all academic departments on both campuses. As an additional benefit, the new hours of operation increase the number of hours students are able to access plotting services by 20 hours each week.

Student safety in Rapson Hall is also being addressed with this change. Students often prop lab doors open, particularly in the lower level of Rapson Hall, which defeats the locking system and results in uncontrolled access. Unmonitored and uncontrolled access means that unauthorized individuals have access to the college's resources.

Finally, the academic leadership of the college wants to encourage design students to have healthier work habits. Working all hours to make deadlines fosters poor time management skills and will not impress future employers.

During undergraduate and graduate final review week, Rapson Hall labs will be open for an extra 15 hours. Closing time on Friday and Saturday will be extended from 6 pm to midnight and the lab will open at 9 am on Sunday.

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What is the collegiate fee and what does it cover?

Please see the Facilities and Resources page.

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How much will my print jobs cost?

Please see the Printing and Plotting page for current prices.

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Are there other printing options outside of the College of Design?

Yes. There is a computer lab in the basement of Coffman Memorial Union and a Kinkos on Washington Avenue. Both of these services have a much higher cost than those available through the College of Design.

Coffman Memorial Union

  • 42" color plotter:
    • $4.50/square foot for Photo Glossy paper
  • Hours of Operation (as of 7/25/2007)
    • Monday - Thursday: 8am - 11pm
    • Friday: 8am - 6pm
    • Saturday: 10am - 6pm
    • Sunday: closed


Kinkos is located on Washington Avenue near Stadium Village and across the street from the University of Minnesota Radisson hotel.

  • 42" of 60" color plotter
    • $7/square foot for Photo Glossy paper
    • $10/square foot for Heavy Weight matte paper
  • 36" black & white plotter
    • $0.75/square foot for #20 paper

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How do I print using the print system?


Large format plotting jobs - both color and black and white - can only be sent from the lab attendant computer. Please bring the files up to the lab attendant desk on a flash drive. If a flash drive is not available, files may be submitted via Google Drive. Files must be sent as an Adobe Acrobat PDF and the print job size must be under 100 MB (note that this is different from the file size - and that they are not necessarily correlated). If files are converted from an other Adobe program, make sure to flatten all layers prior to converting the document to a PDF or else it may not print correctly.

Laser Printing - Rapson Hall

In order to print to the laser printers (which will use the new Pharos system) choose either Rapson71_B&WLaser or Rapson71_ColorLaser. When the document has finished processing on your computer go to the print release station, which is located directly next to the color lasers in Rapson Hall 71. Then, follow the instructions under "Releasing Your Print Job" below.

Laser Printing - McNeal Hall

In order to print to the laser printers (which will use the new Pharos system) choose either Mcn305-CDES-CanonColor (if you are on a PC) or Color Printer CDes Only - Popup (if you are on a Mac). Note that in either case, if you wish to print B&W instead of color, you must change your print preferences before you send your print job. Also, if you are on a Mac you will see a popup window into which you must enter your X500. When the document has finished processing on your computer go to the print release station, which is located accross from the lab attendant desk in McNeal 69. Then, follow the instructions under "Releasing Your Print Job" below.

Releasing Your Print Job

After sending the print job from your computer, it is now in a queue on the Pharos system. In order for your print job to be sent from the Pharos queue to the printer you must slide your UCard through the card reader in the keyboard at the print release station. A new screen will pop up showing all jobs currently in the queue, which will be listed with their titles and your X500 username. Find your print jobs on the screen and click on the jobs you want to send; note that you may multi-select jobs by holding down the control key. Once you have selected your print jobs the screen will show exactly how much it will cost to print. By clicking the "print" button you are agreeing to pay the cost shown on the screen. Note that you must have sufficient funds in your GopherGold account in order to pay for the printing. After clicking print, your job will be processed by the printer and should be printed shortly.

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What happens if my print job is not printed correctly?

You will need to see a lab attendant as soon as you notice a printing error. If the error is a result of a mechanical problem with the printer the lab attendant will be able to re-print your document free of charge. These mechanical problems can include paper jams, ink splatters, or stripes.

In other cases, printing errors are the result of inexperience: the line weights or colors did not turn out as desired, or the page setup is not set correctly and the page is clipped. It is expected that in learning to control printers, students will make trial prints at their own expense. It is the responsibility of the user to make these trials as effective and inexpensive as possible. Re-prints will not be issued for setting or layout problems.

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How can I minimize user error when printing?

There are many things that lab users can do to reduce their printing without losing any of the functionality they need for their design activities.

Print Preview

This is a great feature offered by many programs at the computer labs including Microsoft Word and Excel. Print preview allows you to see how your pages will look prior to printing. Mistakes can often be seen and corrected before a single piece of paper is used.

Print Double-Sided

Double-sided (duplex) printing reduces waste and all of our printers have this feature available. There are signs posted in Rapson Hall 127 with specific instructions.

Print Multiple Pages to a Single Sheet

Virtually all applications allow you to print more than one page to a single sheet. Doing so allows a document that might normally require 20 sheets to be printed on five sheets with four pages per sheet. This is an excellent option if you happen to be printing out lots of notes for class.

Print Only What You Need

It is often more convenient to print out an entire document or webpage when you only need a smaller section of it. Using the "print preview" feature of most programs allows you to identify the pages containing the content you require and then selectively print only those pages.

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How will I pay for my prints?

Students pay for prints using the new GopherGOLD account (which is accessed via your UCard). This allows students to easily manage funds online and have real time access to their account. Until this program is fully functional, however, students must add money to their account using a "Value Port " machine. The closest machines to College of Design facilities are in Walter Library (second floor) and McGrath Hall. For more information about the GopherGOLD program click here.

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Where do I go with questions about UCard charges?

All inquiries about charges made on your GopherGOLD account must be taken up with the UCard office.

UCard Coffman Office

Coffman Memorial Union, Room G22

300 Washington Ave SE


Regular Hours: Weekdays 8am - 4:30pm

UCard Satellite Location

University Recreation Center

1906 University Ave SE


Regular Hours:

Monday-Friday: 11am-1pm & 4-6pm

Saturday: 11am-1pm

Sunday: closed