Bidirectional Communication

Bidirectional printer communication (also known as bidi communication) between the print subsystem and the printer is essential for the autoconfiguration of printers. This communication, which is provided with the Windows operating system, beginning with Windows XP, enables drivers and applications to make requests to and get responses from a printer device. With autoconfiguration based on bidirectional communication, users do not have to manually choose installable options because there is a way for applications to configure printers on their own.

Bidi communication support involves two parts:

  • Bidirectional communication interfaces, which consist of spooler APIs

  • Bidirectional communication schema, an XML standard for exchanging information with a device

The schema describes the requests that an application can make to a device and the format for the requests. The spooler APIs send the requests to the device and also send and receive the bidi data. An application can also send a request to a network print provider for a network printer or a printer that is connected to a remote printer server.

For a description of how the print spooler supports bidirectional communication, see Adding Bidirectional Communication and Spooler Notification.

In this section

Bidirectional Communication Schema

Bidirectional Communication Interfaces

Bidirectional Communication Schema Reference

Bidirectional Communication Error Codes