56 Common Printing Terms Defined  

Submitted by Joel Metzler on Fri, 05/06/2022 - 07:04
Printer Terms

Pop quiz: What does ppm stand for? What is a printer’s duty cycle? Do you know the difference between A3 and A4 paper? 

Could you answer one of those questions? If you can, then you are in the minority when it comes to knowing basic information about printers/copiers.   

You could make a textbook for all the printer terminology there is, and terms like the ones mentioned above would be useful to know as you’re searching for your new machine. 

As a locally managed print vendor for over 35 years, we’ve come across many instances of perplexed customers attempting to figure out common printer jargon, and we feel a “Printing Encyclopedia” of sorts is long overdue.    

Familiarizing yourself with even the simplest terms you’ll come across in the research process will make you more informed and apt to answer questions that may arise as you look to buy the right machine for you.    

Not only will learning common printer terminology help you conduct efficient research, but it will further thwart any chance of making a costly mistake due to incomprehension.   

With that in mind, we’ve compiled and defined 56 of the most frequent terms we’ve been asked about over our time in the industry to help guide you along your printer-exploration journey.       

The 56 Printer Terms You Need to Know 

Here are definitions for 56 printer terms that would be helpful for you to know as you work to better your knowledge of the printing industry:   

  1. A3 vs. A4 Paper – A3 paper refers to 11 x 17 inches (tabloid) and A4 paper refers to 8.5 x 11 inches (letter).   

  1. Apps – Apps are downloadable software you can include on your device to enhance business processes and increase productive workflow.  

  1. CEIG (Customer Expectation and Installation Guide) – A document vendors give to the customer outlining important technical specifications about the printer they purchased.  

  1. CMYK – Stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (or black), and is the color model used in color printing.  

  1. Color Tracking – The process of tracking color prints with the goal of cutting and regulating costs.   

  1. Cost Per Copy (CPC) - The amount charged for each printed or copied image produced from the printer or MFP.     

  1. CRIF (Customer Requirements Input Form) – A form commonly filled out by a customer before installation and delivery of a machine that lets the vendor know about the customer’s desired printer features and network information.  

  1. CRU (Customer Replaceable Unit) – Parts on a printer that can be easily installed or replaced by the customer.  

  1. Desktop vs. Standalone– Desktop printers are small enough to fit on a desk or table, while standalone printers are bigger machines that stand on their own either on extra trays or its own stand.  

Example of a desktop printer:   

A picture containing text, electronics, printer

Description automatically generated

Example of a standalone printer:  

A picture containing electronics, printer, duplicator

Description automatically generated

  1. DNS (Domain Name System) – A system that maps host names to IP addresses.   

  1. Document Feeder (ADF) - Accessory mounted on the top of a copier to automatically feed documents across the scanner to capture images for copying or transferring images to digital format for archiving.   

  1. Domain Name – The unique network address of a printer.  

  1. DPI (Dots Per Inch) – A common term used to describe print resolution; DPI refers to the number of printed dots within one inch of an image printed by a printer. 

  1. Drum - A copier/printer supply item that houses a round cylinder resembling a “drum,” coated in a photoconductive material to assist in the printing process.    

Example of a printer drum:  

A picture containing text

Description automatically generated

  1. Duty cycle - The maximum print volume a machine is expected to print in a month without major issue.   

  1. Electrical Requirements – The electrical wiring system requirements for a specific printer to be installed.   

  1. Embedded Webpage – Embedded webpage allows access to the machine information and settings via a web connection usually an IP or MAC address 

  1. Finisher – Print finishers are options such as staple, hole punch and folding that you can have included with your machine that finishes your printed documents. 

  1. Firmware – The software that is permanently programmed into a printer.  

  1. Fleet – A fleet is the total number of printers/copiers you own.  

  1. FMV (Fair-Market Value) – A price determined by the value of a printer and what it will sell for in an open market.  

  1. Gateway – A device that sits between different networks or applications with the purpose of converting information from one format to another.   

  1. High-Capacity Feeder (HCF) – An accessory you can add to your printer that gives you additional paper capacity for your machine. 

  1. Impression – A term used to describe a copy or a print. 

  1. Inclusions – The number of black-and-white and color prints you contractually allocate for every month that are included in your base maintenance payment.  

  1. IP Address – A series of numbers that identifies devices on a network.  

  1. LAN (Local Area Network) – A series of computers combined to form a network in a restricted location.   

  1. Legal Paper – Paper size measuring 8.5 x 14 inches.   

  1. Maintenance Kit – A printer maintenance kit includes long-life supply items, such as a fuser, transfer roller or paper pickup rollers.  

Example of a maintenance kit: