Printer Buffer

What Does Printer Buffer Mean?

A printer buffer is a temporary storage area that holds the data or documents to be printed by the printer. It is created and managed by the operating system or printing management software to enable storing print jobs data when multiple print jobs are assigned to a computer printer.

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A printer buffer may also be called a print buffer or print spool.

Techopedia Explains Printer Buffer

A printer buffer is primarily allocated within the computer memory (RAM) or the storage disk. When multiple print jobs are sent to the printer, each of them is stored in a logical print queue within the printer buffer. The print spooler then retrieves documents from the printer buffer on FIFO mode i.e. the print job that came first will be printed first. When the printer is finished printing the current document, it will then print the first document in the queue. When all documents in the print queue are printed, the printer buffer is purged by default.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.