PRN file extension is used by files which contain printing instructions for a specific printer. PRN files could be produced by different applications. PRN file is generated when user selects “Print to File…” option from the printing dialog and clicks on OK button. Operating system will ask for PRN file name and will save printing instructions to the selected file name.
PRN file contains printing instructions in a language used by a printer set as a target when “Print to File…” was selected. Depending on a printer and printer driver PRN file could contain instructions in Postscript, PCL, HP/GL, ESC/P, ESC/P2, RPCS, Prescribe and many more.
If your PRN file was generated for a postscript printer then you can open it via Ghostscript or Adobe Distiller. You may have to change PRN file extension to a PS in order to be able to open PRN file. Below is an example on how to convert PRN file in postscript format to PDF:
gswin32c.exe -dBATCH -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=output.pdf input.prn
If PRN file was generated for a PCL printer you may use GhostPCL utility to convert it to PDF. Below is an example on how to convert PRN file in PCL format to PDF:
pcl6 -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=output.pdf input.prn
You can also open PRN file by printing it. To do this click right mouse button on PRN file in question and select “Microsoft Office Document Imaging”.
PRN files may be useful when something is not working well on a printer. In that case you may generate PRN file and send it to a customer service department of printer vendor.
PRN files are not dangerous as they only can contain printer specific instructions. It is safe to open PRN files on your computer.