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Difference Between PCL and PS Drivers

PCL vs PS Drivers

Postscript is a page description language developed by Adobe systems generally used on a laser printer for printing documents. PCL is also a printer command language as a page description language developed by Hewlett Packard for their laser and ink-jet printers. PCL drivers are often used for rendering on the local workstation, and PCL printing is much faster than Postscript because of this reason. Postscript drivers often send the entire page description to the printers where it is used. The PCL drivers send the information to the printer in the binary form. Postscript includes many advanced functions when compared to PCL drivers. Some of the important functions in PostScript include complex drawing and scaling which are not available in PCL drivers.

Postscript has a different way of treating images and fonts. It considers them as a set of geometrical objects instead of bit maps. The Postscript fonts are generally named outline fonts because each character has an outline defined for itself. Postscript also supports scalable font technology which allows changing the font size. The PCL 5 version supports a scalable font technology known as Intellifont. The object-oriented graphics has an advantage over bit-mapped graphics since the object-oriented images take advantage of high-resolution output devices while bit-mapped images do not use these devices.

The PCL 6 was released in 1995 for HP LaserJet 4000 series printers adding three main features to the version; PCL 6 Enhanced, PCL Standard, and Font Synthesis. PCL 6 was an object-oriented page description language designed to print from graphics user interfaces like Windows also known as PCL XL. PCL 6 Standard was designed to be an equivalent of PCL 5e or PCL 5c for providing backward compatibility. Font Synthesis was incorporated to provide scalable fonts, font management, and for the purpose of storing forms and fonts.

PCL 6 Enhanced is designed as a stack-based, object-oriented protocol supporting only binary encoding. Postscript is capable of sending information as binary code or as plain text. Postscript drivers deliver better quality output and are used for complex printing jobs. Postscript printers include a built-in interpreter that executes Postscript instructions.

PCL 6 has various revisions that support various features such as color handling, compression, units of measurement, font, and paper handling. Postscript has three versions; Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. The Level 2 Postscript added better support for color printing. Level 3 Postscript supports better graphics handling, numerous fonts, and features such as speedy printing.

Summary:

1. Postscript is developed by Adobe Systems while PCL is developed by HP.
2. Postscript is used for complex printing jobs while PCL is used for simple and faster document printing requirements.
3. Postscript supports sending information in plain text as well as binary format whereas PCL supports sending information only in binary format.
4. Postscript produces better quality output than PCL.
5. PCL is designed for the HP line of printers whereas Postscript can work well with any printer brand that supports Postscript.


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