Understanding Printer

Variation A

The piece of computer hardware that creates
hard-copy printouts of documents.

Variation B

A device that prints text or illustrations
on paper.

Types Of Printers


Akin to a ball-head typewriter,
this type of printer has a plastic
or metal wheel on which the shape of
each character stands out in relief.
A hammer presses the wheel against a
ribbon, which in turn makes an ink
stain in the shape of the character
on the paper.Daisy-wheel printers
produce letter-quality print but
cannot print graphics.


Makes characters by striking pins
against an ink ribbon. Each pin
makes a dot, and combinations of
dots form characters and illustrations.


Sprays ink at a sheet of paper.
Ink-jet printers produce high-quality
text and graphics.


Utilizes the same technology as copy machines.
Laser printers produce very high quality
text and graphics.


Akin to a laser printer,
but utilizes liquid crystals or light-emitting
diodes rather than a laser to produce an
image on the drum.

Line Printer:

Has a chain of characters or
pins that print an entire line at one
time. Line printers are very fast, but
produce low-quality print.

Thermal Printer:

An affordable printer that works
by pushing heated pins against heat-sensitive
paper. Thermal printers are widely used in
calculators and fax machines.

The output produced by printers is
said to be either letter quality (as good as a
typewriter), near letter quality, or draft
quality. Only daisy-wheel, ink-jet, and
laser printers make letter-quality type.

Quantified in characters per second (cps)
or pages per minute (ppm), the speed of
printers varies widely. Daisy-wheel printers
tend to be the slowest, printing about 30 cps.
Line printers are fastest (up to 3,000 lines
per minute). Dot-matrix printers can print up
to 500 cps, and laser printers range from
about 4 to 20 text pages per minute.

Impact printers include all printers that
work by striking an ink ribbon. Daisy-wheel,
dot-matrix, and line printers are impact printers.
Non-impact printers include laser printers and
ink-jet printers. The important difference
between impact and non-impact printers is that
impact printers are much noisier.

Some printers (daisy-wheel and line printers)
can print only text. Other printers can print
both text and graphics.

Some printers, notably dot-matrix printers,
are restricted to one or a few fonts. In contrast,
laser and ink-jet printers are capable of printing
an almost unlimited variety of fonts. Daisy-wheel
printers can also print different fonts, but one
needs to change the daisy wheel, making it hard
to mix fonts in the same document.

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