How to open PRN File on Windows PC & Mac: Free Download Online

If you are reading this article, it must be because you just encountered a file that ends with the extension .prn, and you have tried a few applications but none of them could successfully open it. Don’t worry because we are going to show you how to deal with such files.

What is a PRN File?

A PRN file which stands for Print-to-file is a file that contains instructions for the printer and is created when you click on the print-to-file icon, from the software that opens it.

The information contents in this file are not your regular kind of information, this, page layout, numbers of pages to print, paper size, and printer tray.

Whenever you print any file, a .prn file is created. This file normally is not seen by the user, but with the right software, we can extract the file and keep it separated from the file we want to print.

Another Reason Why a .prn File Is Useful

Apart from the uses mentioned above, a .prn file is useful when your printer is having problems, it will tell the person/engineer useful pieces of information like page size and label, even down to the printer driver settings.

Another is a case of a person who sends a file, let us say an AutoCAD file. If the person does not have the correct software, all you have to do is send them the aw .prn file and output using that without needing AutoCad. Having the PRN file allows you to reprint the original document without running or having the software that created it.

PRN File Openers for PC – Windows, Mac

The main reason why your Mac or PC won’t open a .prn file is if you don’t have the appropriate software needed. You may encounter an error message telling you that the software that can open this file could not be found.

Some software that you can use to easily open a .prn file are:

  • DataCad ( Windows Os)
    • It is a computer-aided design software
    • Compatible with windows vista, 7, 8 or 10
  • Microsoft Office (Windows Os, Mac Os)
  • Allweb fast print( windows Os)
    • Fast print is software that helps to quickly and easily print a .prn file in a windows printer. It can also print the different types of .rn files (PCL and PostScript)


Some other software you can use are :

  • Apple TextEdit (Mac Os)
    • A simple open-source editor that comes with Mac Os computers.
    • Available only on Mac Os
  • GitHub Atom (Mac Os, Windows Os)
    • An opensource editor used popularly for coding, but still very suitable to open .prn files

How to Open PRN File

Step 1:

Download one of the software from above (please make sure it is not a cracked software because this can lead to unseen errors when trying to open the file.

Step 2:

Find the file you wish to open. Please make sure the file ends with the .prn extension.

Step 3:

Right-click on the file and navigate to the open -with option, from the dropdown menu.

Step 4:

Click on the Software you just installed and it will open the .prn file for you.

Hold on! What if you are in a rush, or you just don’t feel like downloading any software, what then?

I will also show you how you can convert your .prn file to a .xps file and still view all the information in it without any loss of layout or design.

Converting PRN to XPS

XPS was created as an alternative to adobes PDF. It is used to create a file that can not be altered by users other than the file creator.

Know we want to know a faster way of viewing a .prn file. We can do this by converting your .prn to a .xps file. Since fast/quickly is the goal here then windows pc has us covered, since windows os comes with an XPS viewer already installed.

XPS viewer comes with windows 10 and above pre-installed. In Mac os, we need to download it. A good XPS viewer is NiXPS. These are simple steps you can use to convert from .prn to .xps.

Step 1:

Find the file you want to convert, and make it ends with .prn.

Step 2:

Right-Click on the file and navigate to rename and click. This will allow you to edit the name of the file

Step 3:

Change the extension of the file; for example, “Alpha.prn” , delete the .prn and type in .xps

Step 4:

Click anywhere outside the box and this will save the file with the .xps extension.

Step 5:

Right-click on the file and navigate to the open with option, from the dropdown menu.

Step 6:

Click on the XPS viewer Software and it will open the new .xps file for you.

Some .xps viewers are

  • Microsoft XPS viewer (Windows Os
  • Windows XPS view that comes with all recent windows 10 and higher.
  • PageMark Xps viewer ( Mac Os)
    • Available in both free and paid version
  • NixPS view ( Mac Os, Window Os)

Please note that you can also use a text editor like Apple TextEdit or Microsoft notePad, you will lose design and alignment but all relevant information will be shown.

Open PRN Files Online

If you don’t want to download any software, they are some online converter you can use that will give you the same experience that a downloaded software would. These online converters will convert your .prn to so may format, but converting to PDF and XPS is the best option.

Some of these online converters are:



Please be careful not to edit the PRN file or rename the file extension except with the tutorial we showed you above, because it lead to the destruction of that file. If you are still not sure then please use trusted converters.

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