PostScript Printer Description

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
PostScript Printer Description
Filename extension .ppd
Internet media type text/plain, application/vnd.cups-ppd
Magic number *PPD-Adobe
Developed by Adobe Systems

PostScript Printer Description (PPD) files are created by vendors to describe the entire set of features and capabilities available for their PostScript printers.

A PPD also contains the PostScript code (commands) used to invoke features for the print job. As such, PPDs function as drivers for all PostScript printers, by providing a unified interface for the printer's capabilities and features. For example, a generic PPD file for all models of HP Color LaserJet contains:

*% =================================
*% Basic Device Capabilities
*% =================================
*LanguageLevel: "2"
*ColorDevice: True
*DefaultColorSpace: CMYK
*TTRasterizer: Type42
*FileSystem: False
*Throughput: "10"

which specifies that the printer understands PostScript Level 2, is a color device, and so forth. The PPD can describe allowable paper sizes, memory configurations, the minimum font set for the printer, and even specify a tree-based user interface for printer-specific configuration.


CUPS uses PPD drivers for all of its PostScript printers, and has even extended the concept to allow for PostScript printing to non-PostScript printing devices, by directing output through a CUPS filter. Such a file is no longer a standard PPD, but rather a "CUPS-PPD". CUPS clients usually read the current PPD file from the server every time a new print job is created.


Microsoft Windows also uses PPD files but converts these to a binary .BPD file format before using them. These are normally stored in C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\drivers\w32x86\3 on a x86 system, or C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\x64\3 on a 64 bit system. Updating the PPD files requires removing and then reinstalling the printer.

A PPD (Postscript Printer Description) file is a file that describes the fonts, paper sizes, resolution, and other capabilities that are standard for a particular Postscript printer. A printer driver program uses a PPD file to understand the capabilities of a particular printer.

MIME Type[edit]

The MIME type for the CUPS variant of PPD is application/vnd.cups.ppd.[1]


  1. ^ IANA:

External links[edit]