Amazon Product Reviews

The Difference Between a Printer and Scanner

Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Illustrator, and InDesign are only some of the programs used for creating professional graphic arts. If you want to know more about the programs, then you can refer to the respective websites. Here is a brief overview of each of the mentioned programs, which should help you understand the difference between a printer and a scanner. I have omitted the terms “scanner” and “printer” from the above overview for clarity. If you are curious about acquiring more about the technical aspects involved, please skip this paragraph and move on to the graphic arts section. The next areas will provide detailed information on each program and its primary benefits and drawbacks.


Let us begin with the first category of tools – printers. Printers can be divided into three major categories based on their primary function – print, fax, and mailing. To clarify, the term “print” refers to the actual printing function, while “faxing” refers to the functionality of sending and receiving faxes. So, as you can see, there are quite a few differences between the three types of devices. Let’s talk about the main benefits that a printer offers, to help you decide on which one is the best for your business needs:


PDF Readers. Most people use PDF (Portable Document Format) readers for reading word documents. However, not all people use them equally, and not everyone can open PDF files without having Adobe Acrobat installed on their computer. So, if you are looking for a faster alternative for PDF viewing and printing, you might consider choosing between a scanner and a PDF reader. Scanning speed may be slow with PDF readers, but this disadvantage is only applicable if you use a modern computer.

File Transfer Protocols

File Transfer Protocols. A printer often offers two modes of data transfer: either with a USB connection or a “wireless USB.” If you plan to use a printer exclusively to print, a USB printer makes more sense. However, if you plan to use it for scanning and faxing, a wireless connection printer offers the best possible value.


Output Device. A printer usually outputs in black and white. However, many devices offer color capabilities, including inkjet printers, LED printers, dye-sublimation printers, and LCDs. Some devices can output in full color, including plasma screens. If you plan to use a device for both scanning and printing, you should consider getting a device that can be used for both purposes.


File Types. If you plan to use a color printer for large-scale printing, you need to get a file format capable of being understood by other software. Some common file types include pdf (a text file), pst (PSP) files, HTML (which is an acronym for HyperText Markup Language), if (a WMF file), and RTF (Real Text Format). These file types are commonly used for electronic newsletters, word documents, and other electronic document exchange forms. Even though it is not required that you use a printer for printing, it is generally much more convenient to have a printer on hand for simple editing tasks.

Photo Editing Software

Photo Editing Software. When looking at a product’s features like a scanner or a printer, one of the first things you should compare is the photo editing software that it offers. The short answers to this question usually center around the color and monochrome options. When you look at a color photograph, you want to change all of the colors without resizing or otherwise manipulating the picture. On the other hand, when you look at a monochrome photo, you want to make edits and modifications to the photograph without losing any data or quality. It would be best if you kept this in mind, especially as you continue to shop around for your next computer.


If you are still not sure, the short answers to the above question are “yes,” “no,” and “yes again.” To clarify, you want to be able to perform basic photo editing tasks with your computer (like resizing, removing red-eye, or changing the background of your photo, for example), and also be able to do complex tasks that involve manipulating pictures using a different program, such as converting a TIF file to an EPS file, or importing a digital photograph into your web browser. The reply to the ultimate question is “yes,” the difference between a scanner and a web printer is that a scanner is strictly a printing device, and web printers are only designed to digitize things on the screen. In contrast, a scanner can perform tasks that would be too complicated for even the most advanced computer.

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