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An impact printer is a type of printer that works by direct contact of an ink ribbon with paper. A metal or plastic head strikes the ink ribbon, whereby the ribbon is pressed against the paper and the desired character (letter, digit, dot, line) impression is printed on the sheet. Dot matrix, daisy-wheel and ball printers are some commonly used types of impact printers.
As the name suggests, an impact printer physically impacts the sheet of paper. For example, on a dot matrix printer a grid of pins, whose combinations form characters, is present of the end of metal or plastic striker. This head strikes on ribbon ink that prints characters on paper.
Impact printers are not widely used because of the noise they make when striker hits on ink ribbon while printing, and are now largely considered obsolete. Non-impact printers such as laser and inkjet printers are far more commonly used in workplaces and far commercial use. However, impact printers are still used in instances where multi-part forms are required.