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convert a .prn file to a pdf

Posted on 2014-01-29
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can anyone tell me how to convert a .prn file to a pdf ( for free ) in windows 7?
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Question by:bkreynolds48
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39819219
You'll need two pieces of software – both free!

(1) A PDF print driver. There are many free ones out there. Six good ones are Bullzip, CutePDF Writer, doPDF, Nitro PDF Creator (part of the Nitro Reader install), PDFCreator, and PrimoPDF:

http://www.bullzip.com/products/pdf/info.php
http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp
http://www.dopdf.com
http://www.nitroreader.com/
http://www.pdfforge.org/pdfcreator
http://www.primopdf.com

They have varying features and some folks prefer one over the other, so you may want to experiment to see which one you like the best. At one time CutePDF was my favorite, then it was doPDF, and my current choice is Bullzip. But if you don't care a lot about features, try doPDF, because it has no other dependencies.

(2) PrnPrint:
http://www.magma.ca/~russrite/PrnPrint/index.html

Use this to "print" the .PRN file, but not to a physical printer. You will "print" it to the PDF print driver, such as doPDF, which will create the PDF file.

Regards, Joe
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by:bkreynolds48
ID: 39819278
so if I use say bullzip can I open the .prn file and convert it to a pdf file?
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39819296
It's been a long time since I've had PRN files, but I would have sworn that PrnPrint worked for me in the past. However, I just tried it and it did not work. Very sorry for the bad information. You need an app that will open the PRN file and then allow you to print to any printer (and you'll select a PDF printer, like Bullzip). But when I just tried to print using PrnPrint, it would not let me print to a PDF printer. I'll do some more research and get back to you. Regards, Joe
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by:bkreynolds48
ID: 39819361
thanks
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39819371
Is your PRN file PostScript? If so, the latest Ghostscript and the latest IrfanView (both free!) will likely convert it to PDF. I just tested it here on a sample PS file with both programs – both worked perfectly (btw, IrfanView uses Ghostscript and ImPDF plug-ins). Let me know if your PRN file is PS and I'll provide instructions. If it's not PS, what is it? If it's PCL, what version? Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:Pradeep VIshwakarma
ID: 39820119
Hi,

use this online link u can convert .prn to .pdf .
http://www.online-convert.com/
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by:bkreynolds48
ID: 39820693
I only know that I open a web page to print - I am not connected to a printer on that pc so I print the web page to a file.  the option on the printer window for the extension is .prn.  I opened a dos window to do a dir and I see the file but I don't see the .prn extension
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39821068
For existing files, you'll need a solution. Going forward, I recommend that you stop using the "Print to file" checkbox and instead print to a PDF print driver (see the six, excellent free ones in my post http:#a39819219 above – but try doPDF – I'm sure you'll like it). You do not need to tick the "Print to file" checkbox when you print to a PDF printer. It goes to a file by definition – a PDF file, not a PRN file. Start doing this right away so you no longer create new PRN files.

For your existing files, I'm guessing you don't know if they're PostScript or PCL, but tell me this: What printer did you print them to? Regards, Joe
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by:bkreynolds48
ID: 39822198
as I said the pc that the file originates from is not connected to any printer
the only option I have is to print to a file then move the file to another pc

I cannot install any software on the first pc where the file is located

I copy the file to my home pc where my printer is attached

thus the need for some software to convert the prn to pdf
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39822367
> as I said the pc that the file originates from is not connected to any printer the only option I have is to print to a file then move the file to another pc

It does not have to be connected to a printer. The PDF print drivers do not need any printer to be installed.

> I cannot install any software on the first pc where the file is located

Well, now, that's a different story. If you're going to continue to "Print to file" there and create PRN files, then at least print to a PostScript printer and create PS files. I know for a fact that those are easy to convert to PDF – I don't know about PCL files. I suggest printing to the HP Color LaserJet 2800 Series PS printer. It is a standard printer in W7...no software needs to be installed...simply go to Control Panel>Devices and Printers, then [Add a printer], Local/LPT1 is fine, then select HP and HP Color LaserJet 2800 Series PS. When you do a "Print to file" to this printer, it will create a PostScript file that both Ghostscript (free!) and IrfanView (free!) can convert to PDF – I just did it with both!

> I copy the file to my home pc where my printer is attached

OK, then copy the PRN (PostScript) file to your home PC, convert it to PDF using Ghostscript or IrfanView, and print it with any (free!) PDF reader/viewer.

> thus the need for some software to convert the prn to pdf

Ghostscript:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/ghostscript/

IrfanView:
http://www.irfanview.com/

Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:bkreynolds48
ID: 39822610
I tried running ghostscript but don't know how to load the file into it - when I run it I just get a window with

gs>

there are no instructions on how to load a file or how to convert it
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39822653
Try IrfanView instead. It's much easier to use than Ghostscript (although it calls GS under the covers). You don't have to learn the GS syntax/commands.

IrfanView:
http://www.irfanview.com/
Click the Download link on the left to download IrfanView and click the PlugIns link on the left to download the PlugIns, which are needed to give you PDF capability. Install IrfanView first, then install the PlugIns.

Then just run IrfanView and do a File>Open or drag-and-drop your PRN file (preferably named with a PS extension) into the IrfanView window. You should then see the file. Now you can do a File>Save As and select PDF in the [Save as type] drop-down, or you can simply do a File>Print in IrfanView directly (if all you care about is printing and don't really need a PDF file). Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39823107
One other thing. IrfanView will convert only PostScript-based PRN files. If you have any PCL-based PRN files, the folks at Columbia University developed WinPCLtoPDF:
http://www.columbia.edu/~em36/pcltopdf.html

Under the covers it uses GhostPCL, but you don't have to worry about that, as the user interface is simple. Just unpack the ZIP download, which contains only one file, the executable:

WinPCLtoPDF.exe

Run it and it will give you a browse-for-file dialog. Navigate to the PRN file, click Open, and that's it! It will create a PDF file in the same folder as the PRN file. I tested it on a W7/64-bit system and it worked fine. If you plan to use it often, create a shortcut to the EXE file and put it on your Start menu or desktop or wherever you prefer. Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39828367
Hi bkreynolds,
I'm wondering if you tried IrfanView on the PS-based PRN files and WinPCLtoPDF on the PCL-based ones. Both work perfectly here (on W7/64-bit) and I'll be happy to help you troubleshoot any problems that you're having. Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:bkreynolds48
ID: 39835701
I have tried all the suggestions and could not get any of them to work
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39836024
Interesting...I've had success with both. Are you able to post a sample file that is not working for you (make sure there is nothing private/sensitive in it...or simply create a new test doc)? If you can, I'll take a run at it here. Regards, Joe
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by:bkreynolds48
ID: 39842954
here is a google web page I printed to prn
googletest
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Accepted Solution

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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 500 total points
ID: 39843108
I looked inside the file with a plain text editor and saw these lines:

@PJL ENTER LANGUAGE=PCLXL
) HP-PCL XL;2;0;Comment Copyright(c) 1999 Microsoft Corporation

That tells me it's a PCL file, not PS. So for this conversion, I used WinPCLtoPDF, not IrfanView (as I mentioned earlier, IrfanView can handle the PS files, not PCL, while WinPCLtoPDF can handle the PCL files, not PS).

WinPCLtoPDF converted it fine. The converted file is attached. Did you try to convert it with WinPCLtoPDF? If not, just run the program (double-click on it) and browse to the file you want to convert. It will place the converted PDF into the same folder as the source file. Btw, if you rename it to a PRN file, you won't get the warning dialog that it doesn't look like a PCL file — it gives that warning only because you made the file type TXT. But it converted it perfectly in both cases — when it was named <googletest.txt> and named <googletest.prn>. Regards, Joe
googletest.pdf
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39843269
Remember, if you keep printing to a PCL-based printer, as you did with the <googletest> doc you posted, then you'll need to convert it to PDF with WinPCLtoPDF. Although WinPCLtoPDF works fine, I think that IrfanView is the better tool, so this is why I recommended earlier that you stop printing to a PCL-based printer and start printing to a PS-based printer, such as the HP Color LaserJet 2800 Series PS printer that I mentioned in post <http:#a39822367>. This is a standard printer in W7 that needs no software to install...simply go through the [Add a printer] wizard, as I described earlier. When you print to that PS printer with the [Print to file] option and it prompts for the file name, give it a file type of PS. Then when you transfer the file to the other computer, run IrfanView and do a File>Open or drag-and-drop the file into it. One of the nice features of printing to the HP Color LaserJet 2800 Series PS print driver is that it can create a color document, which is retained by the IrfanView conversion. For example, attached is today's Google home page that was printed to the HP Color LaserJet 2800 Series PS print driver and then converted to a PDF file by IrfanView. Regards, Joe
googletest20140207.pdf
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Author Closing Comment

by:bkreynolds48
ID: 39844120
thanks - I finally got it to work - earlier failure was most likely user error
thanks again
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39844126
You're welcome. Very glad to hear that you got it working. Regards, Joe
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