What Is a Printer Driver?


A printer driver is a software program that allows your computer to interact with your printer. The purpose of the driver is similar to that of an interpreter – it allows two different and otherwise incompatible devices to communicate. It does so by translating the instructions sent from your computer’s operating system or application software into a language that your printer can understand – allowing it to respond properly to those instructions.

When you create a document and hit the “print” button”, your printer drivers convert your document into Page Description Language (PDL) or postscript language (PL), which is code that your printer can read. PDL and PL describe the content on a page and how that content is arranged.

Another task is to communicate the print settings that your printer should use when printing your document. Print settings include the page size and any scaling options applied to your document. They also include the way in which your printer functions when printing onto different print medium. Printing self-adhesive labels requires a more specialized mode of printing compared to standard sheets of paper.

Types of Print Drivers
Print drivers come in two different forms – cloud drivers and device drivers.

Cloud Drivers: cloud drivers allow printing to any printer. However, the software application must recognize the print device and the cloud-based instructions. While cloud drivers do not require you to have any drivers installed on your machine, you will need to be connected to the internet or work on the same network.

Device Printer Drivers: unlike cloud drivers, the more commonly found device printer drivers need continual communication between the printing hardware and software. These drivers are almost always hosted on a computer via its operating system.

There are numerous possible reasons why your printer driver might stop working. It could be corrupted or incompatible with your preferred print device, the settings might be wrong or it might be missing updates. Fixing printer driver errors is often simply a matter of updating, installing or reinstalling the driver, Printer driver updates can be usually be found on the manufacturer’s website, and in some cases on your managed print provider’s websites.

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