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How to Export .ec3 files from Epson PrintCD, to convert to other graphics formats for printing with other equipment and/or software

I have some Epson printers that I use for printing on CD media. I do not like Windows and I prefer to use Linux. I now have a driver installed on one of my Linux systems for my Epson R220, which supports printing on CD media. However, all of my artwork is in files with a .ec3 file extension, and they seem to be usable only by the Epson PrintCD software. I have made a survey of the Web and found that other people had the same desire to export files of this type. There were some postings on various forums, but the answers were not very helpful. I am using Windows 2000; the steps relating to Windows may vary slightly for other versions of Windows. Anyway, here is what I was able to do:

1. Create a new printer (print queue really) in Windows.
a. Select Start->Settings->Printers
b. Double-click on Add Printer
c. Interact with the Add Printer Wizard. Select local printer, for simplicity. When selecting the port, choose FILE Print to File. When it comes time to select a driver, you can do this by identifying the manufacturer and model of printer. You need something that is very generic, a least common denominator if you will for file interchange.

I suggest Hewlett Packard, Color Laserjet PS. This will preserve color, and create compatible Postscript in the file. A driver will probably already be installed, and assuming that it is, you should choose to use the existing driver. Finish the creation of the print queue by answering any other questions the wizard may ask you.

2. Now you start the PrintCD program and print to this queue. However, in the main print dialog, you will not see it as one of the choices of printer, because the PrintCD program has not identified it as a printer capable of printing on CD media. Find the manual print button in the lower right of the window and click it.

A different Print Dialog will start and you will be able to choose the printer that you just created. Click OK and you will be prompted for a file name. I suggest choosing the filename carefully, something like C:printfile.ps so that you can find it easily. I recommend using a .ps extension to give a hint to other programs.

3. In may case, I was able access the file from a Linux system, and make use of certain resources. I was able to open the file with gv (ghostview) to verify that the file was created correctly. I then opened the file with GIMP (General Image Manipulation Program) and was able to convert it to a JPEG file. Additionally, GIMP supports quite a few other graphics formats.

If you do not have the advantage of a Linux system, you may have some other software capable of converting graphics formats. In any case, you can get GIMP for Windows free.