A person who is involved in the business of printing. Individuals who are involved in typesetting are sometimes called printers.

A device attached to a computer system which provides a printout of the contents of files. A printer might be thought of as a very elaborate, automatic typewriter. The various types of printers described below are not mutually exclusive; a printer may be both impact and proofing, or laser and electrostatic, for instance.

Character printer (page printer): A printer that produces one character image at a time. Characters may be printed left to right on each line, or in alternating directions on alternate lines.

Electrostatic printer (xerographic printer): A printer that uses electrostatic techniques to produce the final character image.

Impact printer: A printer that uses a physical mold for the character image, and impresses the image on the paper by striking a carbon or cloth ribbon against the paper with the character mold. The character masters may be on a daisywheel, a metal band, a ball, or some other carrier.

Ink jet printer: A printer that uses finely directed sprays of ink to produce the character image.

Laser printer: A printer that uses a laser to generate the character image. A laser printer is sometimes called an intelligent copier/printer, as it uses some of the same methods to produce the final image as does a copier.

Line printer: A printer that produces an entire line of characters at once.

Matrix printer: A printer that produces character images made up of patterns of dots rather than lines and strokes.

Proofing printer: A printer used with a typesetting computer to produce "proofs" or file contents before actual typesetting is done.

Thermal printer: A printer that uses heat-sensitive paper to carry the character image.

Wire printer: A printer that forms characters by the selection of solenoid operated matrix wires, which print the selected characters by impact against a ribbon.

Peripheral device that accepts output data from the microprocessor and prints characters on paper. Printers are defined as impact or nonimpact, depending on the means by which a character is formed on the paper. Impact printers trike the paper through a ribbon in a manner similar to a typewriter. Nonimpact printers form characters by various means such as heat, electrical charges or spraying ink.

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