A Glossary of helpful terms
All-in-One printer or Multifunction Printer. These printers combine a copier, scanner, and fax in one device.
The size of the lens opening of a camera. It adjusts the amount of light that passes through.
The aperture can be opened or closed to manage the amount of light is let in.
Measured in f-stops. The lower the f-stop the more light will pass through.
bps (Bits Per Second):
A measure of how quickly information is being transferred, usually via a modem or network. Usually in thousands of bits per second (Kbps) or millions of bits per second (Mbps).
Allows you to print photos without any white space around the edges. These prints will be similar to those from a photo lab.
Refers to the light reflection property of paper. The more light reflected, the brighter the paper will be. Paper brightness ratings are measured on a scale of 80-100.
How bright or white a paper is will determine how images are printed.
Colors are most affected with paper brightness, bright colors will appear more vibrant but light colors can appear washed out depending on the brightness rating.
A temporary storage area that is set aside as a specialized buffer storage, that is continually updated.
For example, when you go back to a Web site you have recently visited, your PC can normally display it from the cache on your hard disk, so it won't need to download it from the internet again.
The measure of paper thickness. Usually it is measured in thousandths of an inch.
CCD (Charged-Coupled Device):
The chip used to record an image in digital cameras and camcorders.
It is the film of the digital camera. As the photo is taken, light hits the CCD; it takes the analog information and converts it to a digital.
C-Cyan, M-Magenta, Y-Yellow, K-Black. The standard four colors used by most printers. Almost every color can be created out of these four colors.
Color inkjet printers use CMYK to represent images.
Cartridges that are created like the name brand cartridges but are made by third party manufacturers. These cartridges are sold at a discount but are not cheap inks.
They are created to match the OEM specifications. Compatible cartridges offer the same print quality the name brand and have the same standards.
How the printer is connected to the computer. Common types are USB, serial, and parallel. If the printer is network ready, it should specify if it can be connected to a wired or wireless network.
To print over a wired network, you will need an Ethernet port. Many newer high end printers now support printing wirelessly through infrared or Bluetooth technology.
A small data file stored on your computer by a website in order to customize the site based on your previous actions on it.
For instance, a website could send a cookie to your browser to keep your user information available so that you don't have to log in on your next visit.
Cost Per Page:
The unit price to print a page. If a replacement cartridge for a printer is $20 with a page yield of 800 the cost per page will be 20?00 making the cost per page $0.025.
Zoom that enlarges an image to make it seem more close-up by enlarging the pixels of an image. Images taken with digital zoom will appear fuzzy because the pixels are doubled in size and not added.
DPI (Dots Per Inch):
Measures the number of dots a printer can print in a square inch. If a printer has a dpi of 800 it means the can print 800 dots across and 800 dots down for 640,000 dots per square inch.
The ability to print on both sides of a sheet of paper. Either it can be automatically or you will have to re-feed the paper.
Measures maximum number of pages a printer can print in a month.
If you are anticipating high printing volumes, look for a printer that can support those volumes. Printing too much on a lower volume printer will raise your maintenance costs and you can end up paying more than if you would have bought a printer that would meet your printing needs.
The computer networking technology for local area networks (LANs). It is used to connect a computer to a network, including most broadband internet connections. The computer needs a proper expansion card, usually called an Ethernet card.
Printers can also be Ethernet ready to allow them to become network printer letting others on the network send print jobs to the printer.bps (Bits Per Second): A measure of how quickly information is being transferred, usually via a modem or network. Usually in thousands of bits per second (Kbps) or millions of bits per second (Mbps).
A security device between you and the internet or a program running on your PC for preventing hackers, spammers and similar undesirables from taking over your PC. This is very important if you have an always-on internet connection.
The amount of space the printer will occupy.
The range of colors a printer can produce. It defined by the ink colors a printer uses.
Ink cartridges are made by the printer manufacturers themselves. Since they are sold by the manufacturer, these cartridges are normally the most expensive type. Usually when you purchase a printer, you may pay more for a replacement cartridge then the printer itself.
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format):
A popular type of compressed graphics file, widely used on Internet. This format works best for artwork with 256 colors or less.
An area in an image that changes gradually from one color or shade to another
The maximum number of pages a printer can hold in the paper tray.
The vessel that holds the ink. Some cartridges act as just the ink reservoir while newer models also hold the print head.
A non impact printer that produces text and graphics by spraying tiny droplets of liquid ink onto paper.
JPEG, JPG (Joint Picture Experts Group):
A standard type of compressed graphics file that is usually used for photographs.
You can set the amount of compression that you would like for the graphic, but higher compression could compromise the quality of the graphic. The extension for a JPEF file is ".jpg."
A non impact printer which uses a laser to produce text and images onto a revolving drum before transferring it to paper.
The material that receives the ink. Such as plain paper, envelopes, transparencies, glossy paper, etc.
Where printers hold documents waiting to be printed. The amount of memory a printer has is important, especially in printing graphics, photos, or large text documents.
Memory affects the speed of the printer. The more memory you have the faster the printer will be.
A non-color laser printer. Prints only in variations of black and grey.
A printer, such as an inkjet or laser printer, which does not operate by striking a head against a ribbon. These printers are typically less noisy than impact printers.
Tiny "holes?from which ink is ejected on to the media. The more nozzles a print head has the higher the drops per inch which will result in a higher resolution.
Original Equipment Manufacturer. See Genuine Cartridges.
The measurement of how much light is passed through paper. The higher the opacity the less "show-through?a sheet of paper will be. Especially important if a project will be double sided or will have heavy ink coverage.
Similar to a zoom a 35mm camera will use. Images take with optical zoom, will be magnified to make objects look closer or larger.
The number of pages a fax machine will hold in memory if it runs out of paper.
The number of pages that can be printed with a particular inkjet or toner cartridge. The actual amount of pages printed will be determined by the size of the cartridge and by the content being printed.
The paper handling specifications will include the size, the thickness of every kind of paper the printer can handle. It will also include the input/output tray capacity.
All inkjet and laser printers will print on standard letter size and legal size paper, envelopes. Inkjet printers?paper tray will hold at least 100 sheets of paper.
Laser printers usually have a higher paper capacity than inkjets. On higher end models, you will find some advanced paper handling options such as duplexing, stapling, collating, folding, and other finishing features.
Weight is not measured by a single sheet but of the weight of the ream of paper. It can be measured by either the pound (lbs.) or grams per square meter (g/m2). The higher the weight the thicker the paper will be.
The weight of the paper will not affect the print quality of any print but will affect the finish outcome. Heavier papers will offer a more professional feel than a thinner paper.
Technology that allows you to print pictures from a digital camera without using a computer or image editing software. If the camera and printer both use PictBridge technology, they can be used together, even if the camera and the printer are made by different manufacturers.
Piezoelectric Inkjet Process:
Patented by Epson, this method use piezo crystals. A piezo crystal is located at the back of each nozzle.
Each crystal receives an electric charge that causes it to vibrate. The vibration of the crystal forces ink out of the nozzle.
Pixel (Picture Element):
Small square dots that computer screens and printed images can be displayed at any resolution. Usually the smaller the pixel the higher the image quality will be.
PPI (pixels per inch):
A measurement of resolution which applies to computer screens, printers, scanners, and digital cameras.
PPM (Pages per minute):
How many pages a printer will print per minute.
Operates the print action of a printer. The print head contains a series of nozzles that are used to spray droplets of ink onto media. It may be included in the printer or be part of the ink cartridge.
The print speed is measured by how many pages per minute a printer can print. Manufacturers will list the speed rating based on printing in the lowest quality setting or printing simple text documents. Most speeds listed my manufactures will be two to three times faster than what you'll print in real life. Print speed will be determined by the page complexity, the connection speed, and the printer's memory.
Software that acts as a translator between the printer and the computer. The driver describes the text, image, etc. to be printed and translates it into the printer language. You need a printer driver to print.
A file that cannot be changed or deleted. You can save a file, in an operating system, as Read-Only for security purposes.
Do-it-yourself kits that include everything needed to refill an inkjet or toner cartridge. Each kit is created for specific printer models with ink formulated to match OEM quality.
Recycled name brand cartridges. The cartridges have already been used once and sent to a remanufacturing company. There the cartridges are cleaned, repaired with some new parts, professionally refilled, and tested for quality.
The maximum number or dots per square inch that can be printed, measured horizontally and vertically. The more dots per inch will give you finer details such as sharper text and cleaner images.
To make their printers print better than the actual printed page, manufacturers inflate this number. The resolution is not the only factor in determining print quality. The number of inks used, the paper, and the method of printing also contribute to the print quality.
Don't let the resolution number be the deciding factor but print out a test page to determine the real print quality.
Red, Green, Blue. The three colors used by a computer screen. All the other colors can be made by mixing these three colors. Most graphics programs will let you create colors by setting levels of red, green, and blue. A few printers use this system however, most use the CMYK system instead.
A device used to connect networks together, for example, so that several PCs can share one internet connection. Routers are most often used in homes with broadband connections and by companies to link networks to the Internet.
The length of time a camera shutter is open. In digital photography, this length of time is proporational to the amount of light that reaches the image sensor. Shutter speed can have a dramatic effect on the appearance of your photographs.
TIFF (Tagged Image File Format):
Format used for saving images (usually photographs). The files are not compressed as other formats, making them huge files. Files saved as this format have the extension .tif
Thermal Inkjet Process:
Commonly used by HP (Hewlett Packard) and Canon, this method uses heat to spray ink onto paper.
After ink fills the nozzle, tiny resistors heat the ink forming a bubble. As the bubble expands, the pressure forces the bubble to burst onto paper. As the heating element cools, new ink is pulled from the cartridge to the print head to start the process again.
A graphic or picture that is reduced in size that is linked to the larger image. Thumbnails are usually used online to show several pictures or graphics at once.
Powder ink used in laser printers and copy machines. Toner is given an electrical charge so it can adhere to a revolving drum and paper.
An extra set of controls that can be added to many programs to provide extra functionality not present in the standard version, such as the Google toolbar, which lets you do Google searches from your browser without having to go to the website.
USB (Universal Serial Bus):
The input/output cable that connects the printer/camera to the computer