Line Printer

What Does Line Printer Mean?

A line printer is an impact printer which makes use of a continuous feed of paper and prints one line of text at a time. Although they have been replaced in most instances by high-speed laser printers, they are still used in some business as they are low cost and have the ability to print on multi-part forms.


A line printer is also known as a bar printer.

Techopedia Explains Line Printer

Line printers make use of continuous form paper which is usually perforated instead of individual cut sheets. Line printers print the full width of the page, one line of text at a time, instead of a print head moving back and forth across the page. The two main types of line printers are chain printers and drum printers. Although the basic printing technology used in line printers dates back to the 1930s, they are still suited for high-speed printing.

High speed is one of the advantages of line printers. Compared to other printers, they are low in cost and more durable. The consumables of line printers are less harmful to the environment and are less costly as well. They are especially well suited to industrial environments and shop floors where other printers could be easily damaged by temperature extremes, dust or other factors.

There are also disadvantages associated with line printers. The print quality is mostly low and they cannot print graphics. Line printers are very noisy while operating and may need soundproofing. The continuous feed forms for line printers are not easily available anymore, as they are no longer in high demand.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…