Understanding Writers, Printers, Spool Files and OUTQs

What is the difference between writers, printers, spool files and OUTQs ?

Have you ever been confused when someone said “What is in your OUTQ?” Do you ever run a report and then wonder why it's not printing? What is a spool file? Let's get the terms straight.


OUTQ Routing Control

OUTQ Routing Sequence of Events

Instant Reports

Work with Spooled Reports

Work with Printers

Writer (Printer)

To start, think of writers and printers as the same thing.


Next, an OUTQ (an abbreviation for output queue, commonly pronounced “out cue”) is where reports are grouped together and stored until a printer is attached (like a PC print buffer). In most cases an OUTQ passes data to a printer without delay. However, it is possible to hold reports in an OUTQ without printing them. Common OUTQs are DAILYxx, NIGHTxx, PRINTxx and SAVExx. OUTQs like XXBRL01 (where XX is the credit union ID, BR is the branch and L01 is the printer name) usually have printers attached to them; OUTQs like NIGHTxx, PRINTxx and SAVExx usually do not. If an OUTQ does not have a printer attached to it, the reports just sit there waiting for further action (like SAVExx). If the OUTQ does have a printer attached, reports will print whenever they are ready (and the printer is varied on and the writer is started).

Some confusion can arise when a printer such as P1 is re-assigned to another OUTQ like PRINTxx. A system operator may do this to print the end-of-day reports that were designated to be printed. If at that same time someone on your accounting staff runs a G/L Trial Balance and requests that it prints on printer P1, their report is generated and will sit in the OUTQ P1. Because the OUTQ P1 currently does not have a printer attached to it, the report will just sit there. As soon as the system operator assigns printer P1 back to OUTQ P1, everything waiting in the OUTQ P1 will start printing.

Spool File (or Spooled Reports)

What is a spool file (or spooled report)? Well, first of all, the correct term is actually spooled files (as in, files that have been spooled to print). But the term “spool file” is still commonly used.  

A spooled file list is just another way of “grouping” reports. A spooled file list displays reports according to who generated the report. When you view your “spool file,” you will see all the reports currently on the system that you created, no matter what OUTQ they are in. This is nice in the sense that if you ran a job and you don't know where the report went, just look in your list of spooled files for every report you produced that has not yet printed.

REMEMBER: If you delete a report from your spooled file list, you are really deleting it from the OUTQ where it is being stored!




Link to ID: https://help.cubase.org/cubase/cubase.htm#Writers_Printers_Spool_Files_and_OUTQs.htm