In computing, a printer is a peripheral device which makes a persistent representation of graphics or text, usually on paper. While most output is human-readable, bar code printers are an example of an expanded use for printers. The different types of printers include 3D printer, inkjet printer, laser printer, thermal printer, etc.
Different Types of Printers
Personal printers are primarily designed to support individual users, and may be connected to only a single computer. These printers are designed for low-volume, short-turnaround print jobs, requiring minimal setup time to produce a hard copy of a given document. However, they are generally slow devices ranging from 6 to around 25 pages per minute (ppm), and the cost per page is relatively high. However, this is offset by the on-demand convenience. Some printers can print documents stored on memory cards or from digital cameras and scanners.
Networked or shared printers are “designed for high-volume, high-speed printing”. They are usually shared by many users on a network and can print at speeds of 45 to around 100 ppm. The Xerox 9700 could achieve 120 ppm.
A virtual printer is a piece of computer software whose user interface and API resembles that of a printer driver, but which is not connected with a physical computer printer. A virtual printer can be used to create a file which is an image of the data which would be printed, for archival purposes or as input to another program, for example to create a PDF or to transmit to another system or user.
A barcode printer is a computer peripheral for printing barcode labels or tags that can be attached to, or printed directly on, physical objects. Barcode printers are commonly used to label cartons before shipment, or to label retail items with UPCs or EANs.
A 3D printer is a device for making a three-dimensional object from a 3D model or other electronic data source through additive processes in which successive layers of material (including plastics, metals, food, cement, wood, and other materials) are laid down under computer control. It is called a printer by analogy with an inkjet printer which produces a two-dimensional document by a similar process of depositing a layer of ink on paper.
Common Printer Issues
First, check that you sent the print job to the right printer; you may very well be printing dozens of documents in the next department. To make your main printer your default, click navigate to Printers and Faxes in Windows®. Right-click on your printer icon and select Set as default printer.
If your printer just won’t print or your print job seems stuck in the queue, the easiest solution is to restart. Begin by restarting your software application. If that doesn’t work, reboot your computer. Lastly, turn off your printer for a few minutes before switching it back on.
Your User Guide or control panel instructions should walk you through this easily enough. In fact, some Xerox printers provide video assistance and lighted interiors to make jam clearance a snap. Start by inspecting the paper path and remove any jammed material, being careful to take out any stuck paper straight —and above all—not tearing it. If it’s caught between rollers, follow the guide on how to release the pressure.
As a rule you should always make sure the type of paper being printed is supported by your printer. And also remember to store your paper where it’s dry to avoid moisture that can make printing difficult.
Printer Driver Problems
Hardware isn’t always to blame. Your printer driver acts as the translator between your computer and your printer. Like other software, drivers can also go out of date, or lose compatibility with your operating system after an update. You may also have the wrong driver downloaded on your computer to work with your printer. Uninstalling the driver you have on your desktop, then replacing it with an up-to-date version, often will get your printer and desktop chatting again.
Printer Hardware Problems
- Check Your Power Cord
The problem may not be your computer or your printer at all. Connector cables such as USBs will decay and burn out over time, requiring replacement. Unfortunately, they don’t have indication systems your printer and computer have so that they can die, and you’d never know otherwise. Try swapping your printer out with another cable. Keeping an extra connector cord on hand will help you troubleshoot instantly, and get you printing again faster if your USB is to blame.
- Ran out of RAM / Memory
Modern printers are highly sophisticated devices. Most units today have some form of memory to store print jobs, whether it be a couple of megabytes or several gigs worth in a large office risograph. If your printer is connecting, but printing at such a slow rate it may as well not be, you’ve likely run out of memory.
Fix printer connection and printing problems
If you’re trying to use your printer and run into problems, here are some steps for common printer problems to try to get things working again.
Step 1. Unplug and restart your printer
Step 2. Check cables or wireless connection
Step 3. Uninstall and reinstall your printer
Step 4. Install the latest driver for your printer
Step 5. Run the printing troubleshooter
Step 6. Clear and reset the print spooler
Step 7. Fix printer problems after updating Windows 10
Step 8. Change a printer’s status to “online”