Printing a .PRN file
If I'm using my laptop away from the office and I choose to print something and select print to file (since I don't have a printer with me) it creates a .PRN file, but how can I print that file later?
How to Print a PRN file
Okay, let's say you're home or back at the office, and you now have a printer attached to your laptop. Or maybe you copied that .PRN file to your desktop system. It should be easy to print that file now, right? WRONG!
My first guess was to open Windows Explorer, right-click on the .PRN file, then select Print. But there is no Print option in the dropdown menu.
Well then, I'll just go to My Computer, open the Printers folder, then drag and drop the .PRN file on the printer icon. Bzzzt... wrong again. Windows returns an error message that says "File cannot be printed. Open the file with the correct application and print from there." Just for jollies, I created a .PRN file with Word, then tried to open it with Word. You'd think the program that created a file could also open it, right? Nope... total gibberish, won't print.
Okay, So What DOES Work?
It turns out you have to resort to the DOS Prompt and enter some arcane command string to find true .PRN file happiness. To open a DOS prompt, you can click on Start / Run, then enter CMD.EXE and press enter. Now use the CD (change directory) command to navigate to the folder where the .PRN file is stored. For example,
But wait, there's more... the format of the print command depends on the type of printer you have.
If you have an older printer that's connected via the parallel port (it will have a 1/4-inch cable with large connectors on both ends), then here's the command to use. (Substitute your actual print file name for TMP.PRN below.)
COPY /B TMP.PRN LPT1:
If you have a printer that's connected via the USB port (thin wire with small connectors) then here's the command to use.
COPY /B TMP.PRN \\computer_name\printer_share_name
What? You don't remember your computer name? You don't know the printer share name? Here's how to find them, if you haven't committed those arcane facts to memory:
To find your computer name go to Control Panel, open the System folder, then click on Computer Name. The info you want is shown after the tag "Full computer name". If there's a period at the end of the name, ignore it.
To find your printer share name, go to Control Panel, open the Printers folder, then right-click on your printer and select Sharing. The share name will appear there. If your printer is not shared, select the Share this printer radio button and enter a share name.
Okay, let's assume your computer name is Zippity and your printer share name is Doodah. That would make the print command as follows:
COPY /B TMP.PRN \\Zippity\Doodah
Note there are TWO backslashes before the computer name. Easy, right? Sheesh...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 15 Jul 2008
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Printing a .PRN file (Posted: 15 Jul 2008)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved