A printer driver is the actual software that translates the printer-generic Device Driver Interface (DDI) calls into printer-specific commands.

In general, the driver must match the specific model and manufacturer. In some cases, generic drivers may be used with a severely limited command range.

There are three parts to a printer driver:

  • Printer Graphics Driver
    The PGD provides the actual DDI-to-printer language conversion. Filenames of components include pscript.dll, rasdd.dll and plotter.dll. You can use Ghostscript to view postscript files.

  • Printer Interface Driver
    The PID provides the printer manager interface. Files included in the PID include pscriptui.dll, rasdd.dll and plotui.dll.

  • Characterization Data File
    Also called the Mini Driver. This file isolates the make and model-specific characteristics of a printer for the Printer Graphics Driver.

    Printer manufacturers normally supply all three files, but the only one that is absolutely required is the Mini Driver, since the others are standard files supplied by Microsoft, Unix, Linux and especially SuSE (my personal favorite flavor).

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