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Computer printer

A computer printer is a computer peripheral device that produces hard copy (permanent human-readable text and/or graphics usually on paper) from data stored in a computer connected to it.

Table of contents
1 Monochrome, Color and Photo Printers
2 Methods of Image Creation
3 Toner-Based Printers
4 Ink Jet Printers
5 Impact Printers
6 Dot-Matrix Printers
7 Other Printers
8 The Printer Manufacturing Business

Monochrome, Color and Photo Printers

A monochrome printer can only produce an image consisting of one color, usually black. A monochrome printer may also be able to produce graduations of tone of that color, such as a grey-scale.

A color printer can produce images of multiple colors.

A photo printer is a color printer that can produce images that mimic the color range and resolution of photographic methods of printing.

Methods of Image Creation

The media for most printers is paper, so they usually classified according to the method of image creation.

Toner-Based Printers

Laser printers and thermal printers refer to the method used to adhere toner to the media. The advent of cost-effective, precision lasers has made them the dominant toner-based monochrome printer type for home and office applications.

Ink Jet Printers

Ink jet printers spray very small, precise amounts (usually a few picolitres) of ink onto the media. For color applications including photo printing, ink jet methods are dominant.

Impact Printers

Impact printers rely on a forceable impact to transfer ink to the media, similar to typewriters, that are typically limited to reproducing text. A daisy wheel printer is a specific type of impact printer where the type is contained on a wheel.

Dot-Matrix Printers

In the general sense many printers rely on a matrix of pixels, or dots, that together form the larger image. However, the term dot matrix is specifically used for impact printers that use a matrix of small pins to create precise dots. The advantage of dot-matrix over other impact printers is that they can produce graphical images in addition to text; however the text is generally of poorer quality than type-based impact printers.

Some sub-classifications of dot-matrix printers are ballistic wire printers and stored energy printers.

Dot matrix printers can either be character-based or line-based, referring to the configuration of the print head.

Dot matrix printers are still commonly used in low-cost, low-quality applications like cash registers.

Other Printers

A number of other sorts of printers are important for historical reasons, or for special purpose uses:

The Printer Manufacturing Business

Often the
razor and blades business model ia applied. That is, a company may sell a printer at cost, and make profits on the ink cartridge, paper, or some other replacement part. This has caused legal disputes regarding the right of companies other than the printer manufacturer to sell compatible ink cartridges.

See also: PostScript, PCL, color, multifunctional, Internet Printing Protocol