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I have paused a print queue and using Windows Explorer, am monitoring the C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS directory. When I print documents to the print queue, I notice the creation of a .spl file and .shd file. From quickly googling, it looks like the print job is the .spl file and the .shd file is settings.

Can I confirm exactly what the .spl file contains? Is it the actual file being printed after being processed by the print driver? So once the .shd file has directed the job, the .spl file is the thing that is actually printed?

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Might be worth a read – 50-3 Sep 18 '13 at 13:02
@50-3 Thanks for the link. – Federer Sep 18 '13 at 13:05
Your better of looking into postscript files as spl is likely closed source, easiest way to teSt is open the file in notepad – 50-3 Sep 18 '13 at 13:11
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Yes, the SPL files are the actual spool (print job) files.

You can check by setting the port of your printer to "File:" and printing something. You're asked to give a file and location (i.e. C:\TEMP\PRINT.PRN). This file contains what is actually send to the printer. If you set the printer back to your printer-port and pause the printer and print the same thing you can compare the PRINT.PRN and .SPL file.

You can check in this Microsoft article what the files are for.

More on these formats here.

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