Dot Matrix Printer

What Does Dot Matrix Printer Mean?

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 These printers are generally considered outdated, as they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.

Techopedia Explains Dot 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.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret 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 IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.