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Why would I ever want to "Print to file"?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by NRA_guy, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. NRA_guy

    NRA_guy Unreconstructed

    Jun 20, 2004
    Mississippi, CSA
    Why would I ever want to "Print to file"?

    I see that option when I print things, and I tried it a few times just to see what it did.

    As I recall, it created a file that was garbage as far as I could determine.

    I don't understand what it does or how/when one would ever use it.


    Have you ever attempted to use the "Print-to-file" check box? It's not complicated and its purpose is to save the document in a form that the printer can read (in order to print it again at another time - or in another place). This gives you the convenience of printing the file without having to open the application from which it was originally created.

    Suppose you create a document using Microsoft Word. Here are some options you have if you print the document to a file:

    * Print the document without opening Word.
    * Email the document to someone who doesn't have Word on their computer, and they can still print the document.

    Suppose you download a PDF file from the internet (which is opened by Adobe Acrobat Reader) and you want to save it on you computer. Most of the time you cannot save these files - you can only print them. In this case you would print to a file on your desktop, or wherever, and you can print it as many times as you want after that. (You have saved it to your computer)

    These are just a few suggestions, but you can see why it would be nice to be able to use this feature. The instructions below provide the steps you should take to use this feature:

    Saving the file:

    1. Click on "File | Print" to open the print dialog box.
    2. Click on "Print to File." This will open a "Save As" dialog box.
    3. Give the file a name, being careful to leave the ".prn" as the extension, and, keep track of where you are saving it on your computer.

    Printing the file:

    1. Navigate to the folder in which the PRN file has been saved.
    2. Click on "Start | Run" - This opens the "Run" dialog box.
    3. Type the following, and press the "OK" button: command.
    This opens a "DOS" window.
    4. In the DOS window type the following:
    copy (Name of file.prn) /b lpt1
    * "copy" is a DOS command that sends a copy of a file from one place to another.
    * "Name of File" is the name you gave your file. (be sure to include ".prn")
    * There should be a "space" between the filename and the "/b", and between the "/b" and "LPT1"
    * The "/b" tells the computer this is a "binary" file.
    * "LPT1" is the printer port. You are sending a copy of this file from your computer to the printer.
    * If your printer is turned on it should print the document as soon as you press the [Enter] key.

    A couple of extra hints

    If you are emailing to a friend be sure to refer them to this page for instructions on how to print the file.

    If you don't both have the same printer be sure you do one of the following:

    * Install their printer drivers on your computer and select that printer before printing to file. (Click on "Start | Settings | Printers" and double-click on "Add New Printer")
    It doesn't hurt to install as many printers on your computer as you wish, even if you don't have the printer connected - Just don't try to print unless it is to a file.
    * Have them install the printer drivers for your computer on their machine using the same technique.

  3. NRA_guy

    NRA_guy Unreconstructed

    Jun 20, 2004
    Mississippi, CSA
    Got it! Many thanks for the detailed guidance.

    As I mentioned, I had tried to use it (just to see what it did) but never realized that I needed to use DOS to print the resulting .prn file.

    I've never had any problem saving or printing Adobe files right from web pages. Not sure why. I do run the full retail boxed version of Adobe. Maybe that's a factor.

    PS: I still love DOS and wish we still used it. It seemed so much more straightforward to me. But then 4 year olds and ignorant adults couldn't click a mouse and say, "Look. I'm computing." when they are only surfing the web and playing games.

    Thanks again.
  4. DragonRider


    Jun 6, 2002
    All online recipts get printed into PDF for reference. You could do the same thing with the Print to file incase you ever need it for reference. Same thing with online orders of software for the registration codes and such.