IN THIS CHAPTER
How printing works
Making a shortcut to a printer
Stopping the printer
Printing XPS documents
Learning how to print from Windows 8.1 apps
When you print a document, there's more going on than you might expect. The printer doesn't immediately start printing. Instead, the computer needs to convert your document to a set of instructions that tells the printer what to do. Then those printer instructions have to be sent to the printer in small chunks because the printer is a slow mechanical device compared to a computer, which is much faster.
Each document you print becomes a print job that has to wait its turn in line if other documents are already printing, or waiting to be printed. Most of this activity takes place in the background, meaning that you don't have to do anything to make it happen. In fact, you can just go about using your computer normally. There's no need to wait for the document to finish printing.
When you print a document, quite a bit of work takes place invisibly in the background before the printer even “knows” there's a document to print. First, a program called a print spooler (or spooler for short) makes a special copy of the document that contains instructions that tell the printer exactly what to do. Those instructions don't look anything like the document you're printing. They're just codes that tell the printer what to do so that the document it spits out ends up looking like the document ...