Choosing the correct Canon Print Driver

What are Page Description Languages?

To understand why different machines need different drivers, first we need to understand what a page description language (PDL) is. A PDL is a programming code that instructs a digital print engine where and how to place text and graphics onto a page.

When you send a print job to a machine, the driver converts your print job into a language the printer can understand. In order for this to work, your print device and driver must both use the same PDL. The key here is to use a driver that supports the PDL’s available to your print device.

Each printer manufacturer has its own preferred PDL. Canon’s proprietary languages are Ultra Fast Renderer 2 (UFR II) and GARO, other common PDL’s are PCL (HP) and Postscript (Adobe). Most Canon Multifunctional Printers understand UFR II and PCL straight out of the box. You will normally require a license for Postscript printing.

Downloading the Canon Printer Driver

There are many drivers available to download on the Canon Download Centre. This guide will attempt to make it easier to choose the correct Canon print driver for your device.

This guide will concentrate on drivers for iR and iR Advanced multifunctional devices.

Go to Canon Download Centre and search for you model number.

Downloading Canon Printer Driver

We will use the iR Advance c5250i as an example.

Once you select your model you will be presented with a list of available drivers/software. Often the Canon site will promote a Recommended Driver which is normally the latest PCL driver. If there is no recommended driver you are left to pick from a long list, so we will need to narrow it down.

Selecting the Right Driver

At the time of writing there were 48 different downloads available. That’s a lot to choose from, so we need to determine which driver best suits your printing needs. The below list details our preferred driver’s for the Canon iR Advance range of machines.

  • Canon UFR II/ UFRII LT Printer Driver (v21.52)
    • UFRII stands for Ultra Fast Renderer 2. As the name suggests it is able to process jobs much faster than PCL or postscript drivers. It does this by compressing the print data before it reaches the device. Load Balancing technology allows the data to be processed by both the computer and the device resulting in a much faster processing time.
    • During installation the driver will query the device for its capabilities so you do not have to manually specify its configuration.
    • This driver does not support Barcode printing.
    • Compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10 Server 2003, Server 2008 and Server 2012. There is also a MAC OSX version of this driver which can be downloaded here.
    • This is our preferred driver for Small/Medium Business installations due to its superior processing speed and wide ranging compatibility.
  • Canon PCL5e/5c, PCL6 Printer Driver (v21.52)
    • PCL is HP’s proprietary Page Description Language. It stands for Printer Command Language.
    • Widely used in many enterprise applications such as AS400, Unix, and Oracle.
    • Supports barcode printing (Optional JetCAPS BarDIMM required).
    • Only to be used if your device supports PCL. Most new devices in the iR Adv range support PCL out of the box. Older iR series machines may not contain PCL print capabilities. This depends on the device model and configuration.
    • Compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10 Server 2003, Server 2008 and Server 2012.
    • This driver is best suited to businesses that have a preference for PCL or if barcode printing is required.
  • Canon PostScript Printer Driver (v21.40)
    • Postscript is a printing language by Adobe that is more suited to professional printing environments where print quality takes priority over speed.
    • Only to be used if your device supports Postscript. Most mid range Canon devices do not support postscript without the optional Postscript kit being installed.
    • Compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10 Server 2003, Server 2008 and Server 2012.
  • Canon Generic UFRII Printer Driver (v2.12) 
    • This is a generic driver that works across a range of devices. If you have many Canon devices and would like to use a single UFR driver rather than a specific driver for each device then this may be a suitable solution.
    • The driver has to be configured manually after installation. You will need to add the devices capabilities to the Device Settings tab (Can it print in Colour, How many cassettes, What paper sizes, Is there a finisher attached etc).
    • This driver does not support Barcode printing.
  • Canon Generic PCL6 Printer Driver (2.02)
    • This is a generic driver that works across a range of devices. If you have many Canon devices and would like to use one PCL driver rather than a specific driver for each device then this may be a suitable solution.
    • The driver has to be configured manually after installation. You will need to add the devices capabilities to the Device Settings tab (Can it print in Colour, How many cassettes, What paper sizes, Is there a finisher attached etc).
    • This driver does not support Barcode printing.
  • Canon Lite Plus PCL6 Printer Driver (v1.3)
    • This driver has been designed, developed and optimised primarily to work in Citrix and other thin client network environments.
    • Supports most Canon device options and functions.
    • Retains an extremely small footprint.
    • Includes both 32bit and 64bit drivers.
    • Compatible with Citrix Presentation Server 3.0, 4.0, 4.5, ICA Citrix Client 8.0, 9.0, 10.10, 11.0, 12.0
  • Canon Raster/PCL5e Fax Driver (v10.4)
    • Allows you to send faxes from your PC to your fax equipped Multifunctional device.
    • Includes both 32bit and 64bit drivers.
    • Compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, Server 2003, Server 2008 and Server 2012.