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A dot matrix printer (DMP) is a type of printer which uses pins impacting an ink ribbon to print. These printers are generally considered outdated, as they cannot create high-quality prints and are costly as well. However, they have a certain specialty that other printers like inkjet and laser printers do not have: as they use impact for printing, they can be used to print multiple copies of text at the same time with the help of carbon copying. Therefore, they are mostly used in places where multipart forms are required.
A dot matrix printer is also known as an impact matrix printer.
In a dot matrix printer, the characters and letters are formed by a matrix of dots. A print head, which has many pins in it, moves in the required direction and strikes against a cloth ribbon which is soaked in ink, making a mark on the paper. The dots are spaced closely in a particular shape to make the intended character. This looks quite similar to the printing mechanism of typewriters and daisy wheel printers. However, dot matrix printers are different in the sense that many different characters and graphics can be printed. A character printed by a DMP is actually an accumulation of many such dots on a small area of the paper.