How to Convert XLS to PRN Files

By Lance Albertson

An XLS file is a spreadsheet saved in Microsoft Excel format. A PRN file is a printer file, that is, a file containing printer commands. To convert an XLS file to a PRN file you print the XLS file, but print it to a file instead of sending it to a printer. The commands contained in the PRN file will differ depending on the type of printer.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Microsoft Excel
  • XLS file
  • Installed printer driver

Step 1

Use Microsoft Excel to open the XLS file you want to convert.

Step 2

Select Print from the File menu. Do not use the Print button on the toolbar because the toolbar button will bypass the print dialog window.

Step 3

In the Print dialog window check the Print to file checkbox. Normally this checkbox is off, in which case Excel would print to the printer. Click the OK button.

Step 4

In the Print to File dialog window type the Output file name. This will be the name of your file on the disk. Excel does not automatically add the “.prn” to the file name so you must type that in yourself; it will still be a PRN file even if you don’t give it the “.prn” extension. Click the OK button. You now see a dialog window that tells you that you are printing; when that window disappears the conversion is complete.

Tips & Warnings

  • Microsoft Excel does not give you the option to select a file location; the PRN file is saved to the default document location. For example, Windows Vista saves it to your Documents folder.
  • The printer does not have to be attached to your computer to create a PRN file, you just need to have the printer driver installed.
  • Many programs support Print to file, so you can use the same general method to produce PRN files from many different file formats.
  • Because a PRN file contains printer-specific commands the same XLS file converted with two different printer drivers will produce two different PRN files.

References & Resources