Printer drivers are software programs that make it possible for computers and printers to communicate with each other. Configuration software provides an interface that enables users to set and change printer options. Every printer model has its own type of driver and configuration software.

Page Description Language (PDL) is a type of code that describes the appearance of a document in a language that a printer can understand. The PDL for a page includes the text, graphics, and formatting information. A software application uses a PDL to send What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) images to the printer. The printer translates the PDL file so that whatever is on the computer screen is what is printed. PDLs speed up the printing process by sending large amounts of data at one time. They also manage the computer fonts.

Adobe Systems developed PostScript to allow fonts and text types to share the same characteristics on the screen as on paper. Hewlett-Packard developed PCL for communication with early inkjet printers. PCL is now an industry standard for nearly all printer types.