When it’s time to print, all you have to do is hit a button – but your computer has to do so much more. Translating the information and transferring it to the printer is the job of your printer driver. This essential software is what makes your printer work; and sometimes what makes it not work.
How Drivers Work
Printer drivers, like other hardware drivers, facilitate the communication between your computer and your hardware (in this case your printer). This means it takes the document to be printed and turns it into instructions your printer can understand. Because there are many types of printers and many operating systems, you need different printer drivers for different printers you may use.
There are two main types of printer drivers: PCL and PS. They work differently, and are used for different applications. PCL is more common, compatible with more systems, and more efficient for everyday use, but the final printed document may look slightly different depending on which printer you use. On the other hand, PS drivers create specific instructions for your document, and are ideal for use with high-detail, graphics-intense projects, due to their precision. However, PS drivers are much slower, and are compatible with fewer printers and operating systems.
Printer Problems and Drivers
Sometimes when you experience a printer problem, it’s actually your driver to blame. For example, if you find characters being added or missing from your document, it may be due to a faulty driver. In general, making sure you have the most up to date drivers is a good first step in solving print problems. Updating your drivers can fix connection issues, provide bug fixes, and add functionality and security to your printer.
To update your drivers, first you should uninstall your old ones. Then find the correct drivers for your make and model printer on the manufacturer’s website. After choosing the operating system, download and install the drivers according to manufacturer instructions.
Printer drives are critical to the function of your printers. Without this important software, your documents would never make it off your computer. Understanding the role of printer drivers and how to update them can help you solve printer problems quickly and easily, improve print quality, and get the most out of your printers.