What Is the Benefit of Not Spooling a Document?
By Steve McDonnell
Most businesses share printers among groups of employees. When you or another employee prints a document to a printer, your computer transfers, or spools, the entire document to the computer or server that's connected to the printer. The machine usually doesn't send the document to the printer until it receives the whole print job. Spooling typically makes printing faster, but there are certain cases where your job will print faster if you don't spool it and opt to print directly to the printer instead.
Low Spooling Space
If the spooling computer is low on disk space, or if you have an especially large print job to spool, it might be better to print directly to the printer. If the spooler runs out of disk space, your document won't print at all. This can sometimes happen if print jobs commonly have to be resubmitted, and the computer is configured to keep print jobs even after they've printed rather than removing them from the disk.
Software that Automatically Spools
Programs that typically create large print jobs with custom fonts and complex graphics often include their own print spooler. When you use software that has its own print spooler, it's usually better to print directly to the printer. If print spooling is enabled, the print job will take longer because, after the software spools the print job, the computer will spool the spooled document. The second spooling is unnecessary and only delays the printing process.
Need to Print Right Away
If you're in a hurry, the fastest way to print a document is to print it directly to the printer without spooling, especially if you're sharing the printer with other employees. Spooling typically delays your document from printing until the entire document has been generated and spooled. If you're sharing the printer with other people and another user's print job finishes spooling before yours, you will have to wait until the other employee's print job finishes before yours will start printing.
Special or Nonstandard Paper
If your print job uses special paper, forms or envelopes that aren't loaded in the printer, it might be more beneficial to print directly to the printer instead of spooling the print job. Some spoolers will hold documents with nonstandard paper sizes so that all other print jobs aren't delayed if the printer has to wait for someone to change the paper or feed a custom form or envelope. If you print directly to the printer, the printer will stop and signal you to insert the nonstandard paper rather than automatically delaying your print job until you manually intervene.
Steve McDonnell's experience running businesses and launching companies complements his technical expertise in information, technology and human resources. He earned a degree in computer science from Dartmouth College, served on the WorldatWork editorial board, blogged for the Spotfire Business Intelligence blog and has published books and book chapters for International Human Resource Information Management and Westlaw.