Computer Help

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Computer Help This is a guide to the computer facilities, services and software available at the Math department of the University of Wisconsin. Most of the facilities are for department's the faculty, graduate students and staff. Those who do not have Math department accounts may use the two kiosk PCs located at the north B1 entrance (facing Ingraham hall) or the PCs located in the Kleene Math Library on the B2 level of Van Vleck hall. Our older guide is here.

Accounts and Policies


Account Set Up

Set up your e-mail client with the following parameters:

  • Account Type: IMAP
  • Incoming and Outgoing Mail Server:
  • IMAP Prefix: (leave blank)
  • Incoming Server Port: 993
  • Outgoing Server Port: 465
  • Check Use SSL

Dealing With Spam

All Math Department mail accounts are configured with spam filtering. Messages that are clearly spam are automatically placed into a folder named 'spam' within your account. Messages placed in this folder are automatically deleted after 15 days. Users are encouraged to check their spam folder periodically to ensure that valid messages (known as ham) are not being sent to this folder.

You can teach the sspam filter to be more efficient by following the directions on the page titled, Teaching the spam filter to be more efficient.

Vacation Mail


Here is how to set up vacation notification for your math e-mail account First, login to, then type cd /auto/mail/YOURNAME where YOURNAME is your username. Then add the following line to the end of your .procmailrc file:

       :0 c
       | /usr/bin/vacation YOURNAME

where YOURNAME is your username. Edit/create the file


and put in there the message you want sent out while you are on vacation.

When you return from your vacation, just delete or comment out these lines in your .procmailrc file by placing a # at the beginning of each line.

       :0 c
       | /usr/bin/vacation YOURNAME

This will allow our spam filters to process your incoming mail before it gets to your mailbox and send your vacation message to only legitimate addresses.

Forwarding your e-mail

  1. We do not recommend forwarding all your math e-mail to a non-UW account

because of the following issues:

 1. possible violation of HIPAA rules on confidentiality of student records
    For example, if you forward your e-mail to your yahoo or gmail account,
    what guarantees do you have that this mail will not be indexed or otherwise
    disseminated to third parties?
 2. record retention issues related to student grades, etc.

However, if you are leaving the department, you may want this information. To forward filtered mail to a new address, you must first ssh to and

put lines like this in your /auto/mail/yourusername/.procmailrc file

(of course you should replace the last line with your forwarding address).

to forward mail to another account while keeping a copy on our server, put a line like this in your /auto/mail/yourusername/.forward file


Leaving the Department

If you leave the Math Department, your account will be deleted on September 1 after your departure. You will be notified about this on August 1. Here are some things you may want to do to prepare for this

  • Make a backup of your mail. This can be done by simply using the export feature of many mail programs. You can also use md2mb.
  • Start forwarding your e-mail to another account. To avoid getting spam, login to then follow these steps
    cd  /auto/mail/YOURUSERNAME
    edit .procmailrc with your favorite text editor (e.g. vim, emacs or pico). Insert these lines at the end of .procmailrc:
    !  (your forwarding address)
  • Notify the computer staff if you would like forwarding to continue (up to a year after your departure) after your account is deleted. Give them your forwarding address.

E-mail Web Forms

You can create a web page on your web site to allow visitors to send you e-mail messages. With an e-mail form, you can allow users to register for conferences, send feedback, or answer an on-line poll. With additional tools supplied by the Math Department, you can import these messages into a spreadsheet or database.



The facilities and equipment described below are for use by UW Math department faculty and graduate students on the UW Madison Campus and, preferably, in Van Vleck hall.

  • Mobile Computers and Projectors

Instructors may borrow laptop computers and projectors for demonstrations in any Van Vleck classroom. This equipment is kept in the Math Library on the B2 classroom level. You may check them out for up to 4 hours using your UW ID card.

  • Ceiling Mounted Projectors

Classrooms B102, B107, B231 and B223 and the 901 seminar room each have a ceiling mounted projector. These projectors provide better displays than the mobile units. They can be used with a laptop computer. If you want to reserve one of these rooms, contact Sharon Paulson at Keep in mind, though, that they're heavily booked and usually only available at the beginning or end of the day. The Math Department's computer staff maintain the projectors in 901 and B107. All the others are maintained by the UW Physical Plant. Please contact Derek Dombrowski about them. You will need an access code to use them and a key if you want to use the document camera or microphone with them. Here is Derek's contact information:

    Derek Dombrowski
    (608) 265-9697
    (608) 516-5993
  • Computer Classroom

B107 is an instructional computer lab featuring 21 speedy (2.8 GHz, 2 gb RAM) Windows PCs --each PC has network access and Maple, Matlab, and MSOffice programs-- a ceiling-mounted projector connected to the instructor's computer, and an HP B&W Laserjet printer with duplexer. To reserve this room, please contact Joan Wendt at

You can check out the key for the room from the Math Library.

  • Digital Camcorder

There is a Canon Vixia HG20 Cam Corder in the Math Library which Math faculty and Graduate students can check out to film Math Events such as conferences, PhD defenses, etc. Use your faculty/staff ID card to check it out.


Math Dept Printers

Location PrinterName Printer Type
3rd hall 3 Ricoh MPC 4501
4th hall 4 Ricoh MPC 4501
5th hall 5 Ricoh MPC 4501
6th hall 6 Ricoh MPC 4501
7th hall 7 Ricoh MPC 4501
8th hall 8 Ricoh MPC 4501
101B VV a HPLJ 4300
B127 VV b HPLJ 4300

During the summer of 2011, the department placed new Ricoh MPC 4501 printer/copier/scanners on floors 3-8. We will also switched from LPRNG to CUPS (the Common Unix Printing System) on our unix print servers. What this means in practical terms is that users should become familiar with the System V lp commands. Previously, we used the Berkeley lpr command and some of these commands will still work.

Here are the page charges for printing and copying:

 Printing:  250 free B&W pages per month, 4 cents per B&W page beyond the free allowance
            color pages will cost 20 cents per page with no free allowance.
 Copying:   200 free B&W pages per month, 4 cents per B&W page beyond the free allowance and 20 cents per color page with no free allowance.
 Scanning:  There is no charge for scanning a document and e-mailing it to yourself. However,
            users should not scan copyrighted material.


If the printers run out of paper, please get more paper from the Copy Center on the second floor and place it in the printers. If you are unsure how to do this, ask the computer staff for assistance. For assistance with other problems (no toner, paper jams, etc. ) see Hieu Nguyen in 507 (for issues with the Ricoh copiers) and Sharon Paulson in the receptionists' office (for help with the printers in B127 and 101b).

See the cups guide for more detailed information on printing with cups. Click on the links below to learn how to use each function with the Ricoh copiers.

Ricoh Copier FAQ

Only people with computer accounts in the UW Math Department will be allowed to use the Van Vleck Ricoh copiers. If you have a math account, you will receive a code to use for copying. These codes will be mailed out once a year in September after old accounts are deleted and new ones added.

 1. You copier code is only required for copying.  Although the
 default display shows the copier login, you do not have to login
 in order to print or scan.  Just push the buttons at the left
 to select the scanner or printer function.
 2. Your code can be used on any of the copiers on floors 3-8.
 Do not use the copiers on the second floor. They are reserved
 for the administrative staff.
 3. After you have finished copying, do not touch the display.
 Your login will time out after 60 seconds.
 4. Everyone with a math dept account is allowed 250 free copies
 and 250 free printed pages per month (on the union of all the 
 copiers on floors 3-8). At the end of the month,
 these are zeroed out. You can not carry over unused pages to the
 next month.  Printing and Copying charges are described at the URL
 above. Note that you will be charged for each side of a duplex
 printed page. You may also be charged more for larger pages.
 5. How to create a multi-page PDF document: Most people will want
 to create a multipage PDF scan of their document (instead of the 
 default which is a single page TIFF document). To do this press the
 SCANNER button to the left of the display. Select SEND FILE TYPE/NAME
 in the left hand column of the display, then select MULTI-PAGE -> PDF

Ricoh Printing FAQ

Ricoh Scanner FAQ

Remote Access



Manipulating PDF files

The pdftk toolkit provides several useful tools for manipulating PDF files without using Adobe Acrobat Pro. Here are some examples:

1. This command will split off the first 15 pages of the file NSFProposal.pdf and save it to 'front.pdf'. Substituting 'cat 16-end' for 'cat 1-15' will save the second half of the file.

 pdftk NSFProposal.pdf cat 1-15 output front.pdf

2. This command will merge two (or more) pdf files:

 pdftk 1.pdf 2.pdf 3.pdf cat output 123.pdf

You can find more examples at pdftk-examples