Files with prn extension can be usually encountered as various printer output files for HP printers. Typically created as an printer export when a HP printer is selected as an alternative to PostScript / PDF output.

There are 4 other file types using
the PRN file extension!

empty icon.prn - Calcomp Raster graphics file

empty icon.prn - Lotus 1-2-3 formatted text

empty icon.prn - DataFlex graphic device driver

empty icon.prn - SmartWare report printed to disk

PRN file extension - HP PCL printer output

What is prn file? How to open prn files?

File type specification:

Document file type icon Document file type

File extension prn is commonly used for various printer output files that are exported by numerous programs and typically generated by a HP printer driver (for example PCL5, or PCL6). As PCL is device dependent, it should work on most platforms and printer devices that support it.

Generally speaking, the primary purpose of the printer driver is to translate the generic output from an application such into something the printer can understand and interpret. The output can be from documents, pictures or anything else that can be printed on paper.

The prn file contains instructions for a printer, so the machine knows what to print on the page and also which paper try to use, the paper size and other settings.

Interestingly enough, you can still generate a .prn even in modern Windows apps (Office programs for example) even in the latest Windows 10 (Print function and "print to file" check box), but since prn file extension is not associated by default with any program, it will be useless to you unless you have some interpreter installed on your machine or need it for some particular purpose.

Note: Occasionally, PostScript files generated by the "print to file" option in older Windows produced also .prn file, also when a PostScript printer was chosen. However, the typical extension for PostScript is ps file extension.

Updated: November 8, 2023

The default software associated to open prn file:

Canvas icon

ACD Systems International Inc. logoCanvas  Microsoft Windows software

Company or developer:
ACD Systems International Inc.

Canvas is drawing software used to create technical illustrations and graphics. It is also able publish them via printers, or shared them on the Internet.

Related articles:

How to print prn files

Help how to open:

In most cases, you will need a HP printer in order to print these files, but any printer with HPs PLC support should be capable of printing the content of .prn file.

You can also use any of the available printer interpreters, such as GhostScript.

How to convert:

Some PDF converters allow users to translate / convert .prn files to .pdf or PostScript files.

Find conversions from prn file:

prn to 123

prn to csv

prn to excel

prn to ods

prn to pdf

prn to word

prn to xls

Find converter to prn file type:

btw to prn

csv to prn

pdf to prn

xls to prn

xlsx to prn

List of software applications associated to the .prn file extension

Recommended software programs are sorted by OS platform (Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android etc.)
and possible program actions that can be done with the file: like open prn file, edit prn file, convert prn file, view prn file, play prn file etc. (if exist software for corresponding action in's database).

Click on the tab below to simply browse between the application actions, to quickly get a list of recommended software, which is able to perform the specified software action, such as opening, editing or converting prn files.

Software that open prn file - HP PCL printer output

Programs supporting the exension prn on the main platforms Windows, Mac, Linux or mobile. Click on the link to get more information about Canvas X for open prn file action.


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