How to transfer and restore your Mac printer settings
If you have carefully-calibrated printer presets on OS X and you want to transfer them to a new computer, or reinstall your operating system and restore them, Apple makes it much more difficult than it needs to be.
For macOS Sierra, suggestions you find online — to run killall on cfprefsd, to remove and reinstall printers, etc. — are either out-of-date or never worked originally. Here is the only method I've found that works.
- Make copies of every plist file in in ~/Library/Preferences/ that begins with the prefix com.apple.print.
- Set up your new computer.
- Open System Preferences from the Apple Menu, choose "Printers & Scanners", and Control-click on the "Printers" panel at the left. That will bring up a "Reset printing system…" option. Select that, confirm, then close System Preferences.
- Copy all your plist files to your new ~/Library/Preferences/ directory.
- Open System Preferences to the printer setttings again, and press the + button in the left panel to add each of your printers.
- You will probably need to reboot your new Mac to make sure the changes propagate to all services.
Your presets should now work as before.