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About this article: Printers and Scanners

Printers and scanners are very common in homes these days. There are models where the printer, scanner and copier are included as one machine.

Printers and scanners

In any work environment utilizing computer systems, printers and scanners play a vital role. These utilities provide the services of enabling to get hard copies (printer) and scan any hardcopy format entity into a softcopy format into the computer system (scanner).


In order to acquire a better understanding of these two computer peripherals, it is important to look at the technical aspects involved. In computing terms, a printer is referred to as a peripheral which produces hard copies (tangible, on paper) of documents which are stored in electronic or softcopy form. These peripherals come in different forms, which have resulted due to technological advances over time. Out of them, many have run obsolete due to new introductions that enable better functionality.

Modern forms of printers are,

Toner-based printers

Liquid inkjet printers

Solid ink printers

Dye-sublimation printers

Inkless printers

One of the most common types of toner based printers is a laser printer. These printers use precision lasers to cause adherence. Laser printers are known for high quality prints, good print speed, and a low (Black and White) cost-per-copy. They are the most common printer for many general-purpose office applications. They are far less commonly used as consumer printers due to a high initial cost, although this cost is dropping. (

Liquid inkjet printers can also be regarded as a common type of printer used by many consumers, due to its low cost, high level of quality, multi capabilities, and ease of use. Major companies to contribute to this market are, Epson, Canon, HP and Lexmark.

Inkless printers use paper with colorless dye crystals embedded between the two outer layers of the paper. When the printer is turned on, heat from the drum causes the crystals to colorize at different rates and become visible. (


With a basic understanding of what a scanner is, it is appropriate now to have a view at the technical aspects. According to theoretical language, scanner have the ability to optically scan images, text, handwriting or an object and convert it to a digital image.

There are two main variations or types of scanners available today. One being the desktop or flatbed scanner and the other being the hand held scanner. In a flat bed scanner, the document to be scanned is placed on the glass window type area for the scanning to be performed. In a hand held scanner, as the name suggests, the scanning is performed by moving the device by hand.

With respect to modern times, scanners have evolved to a great extent. From text scanning "wands" to 3D scanners used for industrial design, reverse engineering, test and measurement, orthotics, gaming and other applications. Mechanically driven scanners that move the document are typically used for large-format documents, where a flatbed design would be impractical. (

New development

An intriguing new type of technology has emerged and is fast becoming the modern choice of many. Today there are printers available with the ability to perform the activities of printing as well as other activities like, scanning, photocopying and faxing all in one single unit. This unit will definitely increase the efficiency of many office units and will advance the technologies of printing and scanning into bigger dimensions.

Summery: This article describes what printers and scanners are, their uses, how they have advanced in the rapid evolution of technology, and how they have helped ease our day to day work activities.
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