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The Printer
                                 What You See
                                Is What You Get.

        The phrase has been fondly referred to as WYSIWYG (pronounced “ wyziwig”) among professionals and ordinary users. The phrase, or the term “wysiwig” probably best simplifies the close association between the two most popular and most commonly used output devices: the monitor and the printer.

          While monitors provide users temporary “soft copies” of results, printers provide people with permanent and tangible “hard copies” of processing results. Printers produce hard copy results such as letters, management reports, and program listings. Printer output can come in form of words, number, and graphics very much like the monitor. Before and even during the printing process, output is usually viewed by the user on the monitor.

          Printers are classified according to the means by which images are transferred on paper. Hence, printers are of the impact and non-impact type.

          Impact printers. To transfer image on paper, impact printers use mechanical pressure very much like the typewriter. Images are transferred on paper by physically striking the ribbon against the paper by a print hammer. This mechanical action produces a controlled impact enough to transfer image from the hammer, to the ribbon, and finally to the paper.

          Impact printers rely on dot-matrix and daisy-wheel technology.

          Non-Impact Printers. Non-impact printers are growing in popularity because of higher quality results and faster output (about 10 times) than impact printers. They also perform quietly because they contain fewer moving parts and do not use hammers or pins found in impact printers. Non-impact printers also offer the advantage of having typefaces (letter designs) changed automatically.

          Non-impact printers use ink-jet or laser technology. While you may not have the opportunity to use non-impact printers in your laboratory class, it is worth getting familiar with this type of printers because they are continually getting cheaper and more popular.