.PCL File Extension

Printer Control Language file

Data File
The PCL file format is used for storing printer instructions and printing documents without using any additional applications. The settings contained in PCL files include document content, page layout, paper size, paper tray number, etc. PCL files can only be created, read and printed by HP printer drivers. The main purpose of the driver is to transform the generic output from applications such as WordPad or Excel into commands that the printer can understand and use.

Although printing is usually done through the application used to create the document, using PCL files directly can sometimes be extremely useful. The printer driver is able to interpret all the data contained in a PCL file without the help of another application. This enables users to print any type of document without having to install an application that can open the document first.

Creating a PCL file is a simple process. Almost all applications feature a "Print to file" option when opening the normal print dialog. To print to a PCL file, this option needs to be selected.

How to open PCL files

Because PCL files are meant to be read directly by the printer, viewing their content can sometimes be difficult. A common misconception is that PCL files can be opened with any text editor.

One way to open PCL files is by using WYSIWYP (what you see is what you print) applications such as FormView and SwiftView. The following applications can also be used to open PCL files

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