Description of the PRINT command of RT-11SJ displayed on a VT100.

In computing, the print command provides single-user print spooling capability in a number of operating systems. It is roughly similar to that provided by the UNIX System V lp and BSD lpr print spooler systems.


The command is available in the DEC RT-11,[1] OS/8,[2] RSX-11,[3] TOPS-10,[4] and TOPS-20[5] operating systems and also in DR FlexOS,[6] DR DOS, TSL PC-MOS,[7] Paragon Technology PTS-DOS,[8] SISNE plus,[9] IBM OS/2,[10] eComStation, ArcaOS, Microsoft Windows, FreeDOS,[11] Stratus OpenVOS,[12] AROS,[13] HP MPE/iX,[14] and OpenVMS.[15]

The FreeDOS version was developed by James Tabor and is licensed under the GPL.[16]

DOS, OS/2, Windows


The command was introduced in MS-DOS/IBM PC DOS 2.0.[17][18] DR DOS 6.0 includes an implementation of the PRINT command.[19]

In early versions of DOS, printing was accomplished using the copy command: the file to be printed was "copied" to the file representing the print device.[20] Control returned to the user when the print job completed.[21] Beginning with DOS 2.0,[22] the print command was included to allow basic print spooling: the ability to continue to use the computer while printing occurred in the background, and the ability to create a queue of jobs to be printed.[23]


The print command allowed specifying one of many possible local printer interfaces,[23] and could make use of networked printers using the net command.[24] A maximum number of files and a maximum buffer size could be specified, and further command-line options allowed adding and removing files from the queue.[23] Margins, page lengths and number of copies could also be set,[25] as well as a parameter to adjust between favoring printing speed versus computer responsiveness.[23]


Users of the initial release of the print command commented on the slow print speed and high resource usage, as well as the lack of support for the newly introduced subdirectories.[22] The command was among the first RAM-resident programs and was the first to achieve widespread use, with many users disassembling the binary in order to determine how RAM-resident programs should be written.[21]

See also


  1. ^ "RT-11 HELP FILE". Archived from the original on 17 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Concise Command Language" (CCL)."OS/8 Handbook" (PDF). April 1974. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  3. ^ John F. Pieper (1987). RSX A Guide for Users (PDF). Digital Equipment Corporation. ISBN 0-932376-90-8. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  4. ^ TOPS-10 Operating System Commands Manual (PDF). Digital Equipment Corporation. August 1980. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 August 2020. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  5. ^ "TOPS-20 Command manual" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 August 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  6. ^ "FlexOS User's Guide" (PDF). 1986. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 September 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  7. ^ "roelandjansen/pcmos386v501". GitHub. 2 January 2022.
  8. ^ "PTS-DOS 2000 Pro User Manual" (PDF). Buggingen, Germany: Paragon Technology GmbH. 1999. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 May 2018. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  9. ^ "SISNE plus - Referência Sumária". Datassette. 14 May 2015.
  10. ^ "JaTomes Help - OS/2 Commands". Archived from the original on 14 April 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  11. ^ " FreeDOS Group -- FreeDOS Base".
  12. ^ "Manual" (PDF). Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  13. ^ "AROS Research Operating System".
  14. ^ "MPE/iX Command Reference Manual" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 October 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  15. ^ "OpenVMS User's Manual".[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ " FreeDOS Package -- print (FreeDOS Base)".
  17. ^ Paterson, Tim (19 December 2013) [1983]. "Microsoft DOS V1.1 and V2.0: /msdos/v20source/PRINT.ASM". Computer History Museum, Microsoft. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  18. ^ Shustek, Len (24 March 2014). "Microsoft MS-DOS early source code". Software Gems: The Computer History Museum Historical Source Code Series. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  19. ^ "DR DOS 6.0 User Guide Optimisation and Configuration Tips" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 September 2019. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  20. ^ Dickinson, John (11 November 1986). "Mastering Your Printer's Options". PC Magazine. p. 363.
  21. ^ a b Rubenking, Neil J. (29 June 1993). "Moving PRINT.COM". PC Magazine.
  22. ^ a b Norton, Peter (July 1983). "The Dark Side of PC-DOS 2.0". PC Magazine. p. 290.
  23. ^ a b c d Cooper, Jim (2002). Using MS-DOS 6.22 (3rd ed.). Que. pp. 322–325. ISBN 0-7897-2573-8.
  24. ^ Ivens, Kathy (2005). "Network Printing and MS-DOS". Home Networking Annoyances. O'Reilly. p. 117–118. ISBN 0-596-00808-2.
  25. ^ Using the Xerox 9700 Page Printer. Memo 800. University of Michigan Computing Center. September 1988. p. 37.

Further reading