Computer Labs FAQs

Student using a computer

We have collected answers to the most frequently asked questions we get from students about the computer labs, our technology, and our services. Before reaching out to us directly with a question, please reference our FAQs to see if it has already been answered.

Computer Lab Frequently Asked Questions

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Who can use the college computer labs?

The College of Design computer labs are limited access. The use of these labs is limited to students currently enrolled in College of Design classes as well as college faculty and staff.

What technology does the college provide?

The College of Design offers several fully equipped computer labs. The computer labs in Rapson Hall 71 and McNeal Hall 69 are 24-hour access working labs for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in College of Design classes. After-hours access is via U-card access at the lab doors.

For information on lab printing, see the Printing and Plotting page.

What software can I find in the labs?

Software is updated each semester as requested by faculty members. The computer labs have 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 List.

Where can I learn and/or buy these programs?

The College of Design offers a variety of courses that cover design software used in our programs.  Access to the CDES Cloud Desktop is provided automatically to College of Design students and offers access to most of the CDES software catalog.  

Rhino 7 can be purchased ($72, lifetime license) through our computer labs, please reach out to [email protected] for more information

Adobe products must be licensed directly through Adobe's Student licensing offerings. The University of Minnesota provides access to Microsoft Office 365 for all students free of charge.  

Many of the software titles found on the CDES Cloud Desktop are also available for free through Educational licensing, visit the software publishers' websites to learn more.

How can I request a change in software or equipment?

The college has established a change policy for the computer labs that provides a regular cycle for updates and improvements to the computer labs and allows for college departments and instructors to request changes. Please see the Software Change Policy for more information on requesting software changes.

How can I reserve a lab for class use?

Rapson Hall room 33 and McNeal Hall room 305 are available for reservation. Please contact department administrators to schedule these classrooms.  Please note that College of Design IT does not manage the scheduling for these spaces and cannot assist with reservations.

How much will my print jobs cost?

Please see the Printing and Plotting page for current prices.

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

Yes. There are public computer labs on campus and University Printing Services. Commercial print shops are also a possibility. However, these options typically result in a much higher cost than printing available through the College of Design.

How do I print in the labs?

See the Printing and Plotting page for information on how to print as well as current prices.

The lab attendants at the front desk in each lab are also available for questions or assistance with printing.

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 printer problem or other problem not resulting from user action, the lab attendant will re-print your document free of charge. Common printer problems include paper jams, ink splatters, or stripes.

In other cases, printing errors may be the result of inexperience: the line weights or colors did not turn out as desired, or the page is not set correctly and therefore 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.

How can I minimize printing costs?

There are many things that lab users can do to reduce their printing costs without impacting their design activities.

Print Preview

This is a great feature offered by most programs at the computer labs. 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 laser printers have this feature available. Please see a lab attendant for assistance with double-sided printing.

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 notes for class.

Print Only What You Need

If you don't need an entire document, identify which pages you need using the "print preview" feature and then selectively print only those pages.

How will I pay for my prints?

Students pay for prints using their GopherGOLD account (which is accessed via your UCard). This allows students to easily manage funds online and have real-time access to their account. For more information about the GopherGOLD program, visit the UCard Office website.

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.