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Capturing Printer Output to Graphics
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At the bottom of this page are links to other people's solutions to this problem.
Two files are discussed here. The first, FileCap, is a program for capturing serial data. The second, Prn2Pbm, converts captured PRN files to the PBM graphic format.
Why did I write these programs?  I use several pieces of test equipment which can do a "Print Screen" out to a serial printer. The problem is, I wanted to embed pictures of these screens in Word documents and web pages. To top it off, I don't have a serial printer. So I had to capture the test equipment output onto my PC, then convert that captured file into a recognizable graphic. I wrote a separate program for each step. Here's a sample picture of an R2660 spectrum analyzer, a SunSet T1 test set, and the Windows 95 Printer Test Page.

FileCap will capture streaming serial binary data intact. Use it to capture serial printer data using a nul modem (For example the output test equipment). You'll need to have previously installed a VB5 program or the VB5 runtime files. You'll need to read the README file to get installation instructions.

Provided you have a captured IBM-Graphics printer file, this program will convert it to the rare (but easy to program for) PBM file format. You'll need to have previously installed a VB5 program or the VB5 runtime files. I got tired of install programs failing, so none is included. You can use LView, PaintShop, or a similar graphics utility to convert the PBM files to whatever you want.


Other Solutions:

If you go to this web page:
and follow the link "Download SSA-1000, SDA-5000 & CLI-1750 Simulators to your PC", you'll get (after you run the installation program!) what are very nice simulators for cable TV test equipment. However, in the program directory, you'll find two bonus files: "emulprn.exe" and "scrndmp.exe". An Acterna tech was nice enough to point these utilities out to me, but they are not supported -- so don't call them for help!

Production Robots Engineering Ltd is nice enough to give away WinTek32, a tool they developed for capturing the output of a Tektronix THS 700 series handheld oscilloscope.

These people:
Have developed a program that converts PCL, HPGL/2, or Epson ESC/P printer commands into BMP graphics. It's a 30-day trial version that costs 97 dollars to purchase.

ePlum ( will allow you to capture any print job and save it as a  JPG, GIF, PNG, or BMP file for 89 dollars.

Another option is to use one of the many fax programs that install as printer drivers. Set things to "fax later" or "fax to file". The resulting fax file can be read by many graphics programs. It will be up to you to find a fax and graphics program that can read each other's format.

Another item that some people have told me about is to install a new printer using the "HP PostScript" driver and set it to print to file. In fact, you can probably use any printer driver that supports PostScript. The utilities provided in GhostScript ( can read the resulting PostScript prn/ps files. There is even a ps2pdf program so you can convert your PostScript files to PDF documents.

The SourceForge PDF Creator project allows you to install a printer driver that will allow any application to create PDF documents in one step.

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