Virtual Image Printer
A virtual printer is a software-based printer that in many ways operates like a regular printer. For example, when printing a document in Microsoft Word, you can select a virtual printer from the list of installed printers – just like an HP Officejet or an Epson WorkForce printer. Just like a physical printer, a virtual printer has “printer properties” that can be adjusted to customize the output. And it is a virtual printer’s output that most notably distinguishes it from regular printers. A virtual printer outputs electronic files rather than pieces of paper sprayed with ink.
A virtual image printer is a specific type of printer that produces image files. Other virtual printers include PDF printers and PostScript printers. Printer properties for a virtual image printer can include the file format (JPG, BMP, TIFF, PNG, etc.), image quality, color depth, file name, and file location.
A virtual image printer offers many advantages over a conventional printer, including all the benefits of working with electronic files. Image files can be readily shared, because every modern personal and business computer includes the software to view them.
Additionally, image file formats are stable. They have a long shelf life. Files saved in industry-standard formats, such as JPG, will still be viewable even after several decades. The same may be less certain for other file formats, such as proprietary formats that require a special file reader. Of course, paper can last a long time too. However, a prohibitive amount of paper would be required to print even a fraction of the documents on an average consumer’s hard drive.
A batch printing utility and a virtual image printer can be utilized together to perform a multitude of file format conversions, i.e. DOCX to PNG, XLS to JPG, etc.