How to convert printer files to PDF.

Two women in an office talking about how to convert printer files to PDFs.

Wondering what to do with that strange PRN file you received? Convert it into a PDF and get back to work with this helpful tutorial.

PRN files — or printer files — contain the PostScript instructions printers need to print out a document correctly. You can create them with most office software suites, and they can be useful when sharing complex files for the specific purpose of printing. That said, they’re not good for much else.

Sometimes, though, you may need to view or share the document behind the PRN file. If you can’t access the original document, a convenient solution is to convert the PRN to PDF. PDFs are much more user-friendly and — best of all — easily viewable and editable.

Convert your PRN files to PDF.

The good thing about PRN conversion is that it only takes a moment. With the right software, like Adobe Acrobat, you can view PRN files natively and simply save them as PDFs. Here’s what to do.

  1. Launch Acrobat and select File > Open.
  2. Locate your PRN file. You can also just drag and drop it.
  3. Once the file has loaded, select File > Save As.
  4. In the Save As dialog, make sure the file type is set to PDF.
  5. Choose a save location for the PDF and rename the file if necessary.
  6. Click Save and it’s done.

What is a PRN file?

A PRN file simply contains printing instructions. You can think of a PRN as a file that translates the appearance of other types of files or pages into a language that a specific printer can understand. The PRN file language corresponds to the printer model rather than to any specific application.

In addition to describing content and defining how it should appear in printed form, the file might also display the content. While the file is designed to communicate with a printer, it also effectively describes a print job for a human audience, which is why you might want to read it or preserve it in an easily accessible format.

You can create the file extension .prn by choosing Print to File in a Print dialog box, which appears in Adobe Reader and other applications. Another way to create a PRN is to set your printing driver port as Print to File instead of a printer name or USB port.

A PRN file is useful when you want to send a printing job to an outside agency or another person who doesn’t have the software you used to create it. This file extension doesn’t enable editing or the best viewing experience, but it enables correct printing.

This file type is also helpful for requesting technical support with a printer. A technician can read the file to diagnose any printing problems because it indicates printer driver settings. The file can report other information too, such as ink usage, which can help you determine the cost of printing.

Do more with your new PDF.

Now that you’ve converted the PRN to a PDF, you can do further work on it. It’s easy to compress the file if it’s too large, combine it with other PDFs, rearrange PDF pages, add text and comments, convert to other formats, and much more.

Discover everything that’s possible with Acrobat today.