Printer Primer

Welcome to the Printer Primer

First, a bit of basic printer terminology

  • Single-Function Peripheral (SFP) - Fancy term for a device that just prints.
  • Multi-Function Peripheral (MFP) - Fancy term for a device that prints, scans to network destinations, and copies. MFPs tend to have more horsepower and larger displays than SFPs.
  • Digital Sender (DS) - Fancy term for a device that only scans to network destinations.DSs tend to have more horsepower and larger displays, like MFPs.
  • Device - A generic term referring to an SFP, MFP, or DS.
  • Solution - The collection of  server components, cloud components, apps, hardware accessories, and/or other software that work together to extend the functionality of the device.
  • Managed Device – Devices sold to managed print service providers to enable a lower cost for overall service and ongoing operation for their customers. These devices have features specifically for manageability by managed print service providers (remote capabilities, focus on maintenance/service, specific components to lower service cost and extent product life.) Managed devices have "Managed" in the model name.
  • Transactional Device – A device sold sold directly to end customers. Transactional devices are fundamentally different from their managed versions. Transactional devices do not have "Managed" in the model name.
  • Enterprise Device - A device designed for enterprises (>1000 employees) that require the most advanced security and solutions capabilities. Enterprise devices have "Enterprise" in the model name.
  • Professional Device - A device designed for SMB customers (10-1000 employees), with only the most basic solutions capabilities. Professional devices have "Professional" or "Pro" in the model name.
  • Flow Device - A flow device has enhanced HW and FW features that optimize it for customer workflow optimization (optimized for scanning, speed, duty cycle, and workflow integration). Flow devices have "Flow" in the model name.
  • Firmware - The embedded software (BIOS, OS, Framework, and built-in Application code) that runs the device.
  • Firmware Update/Upgrade - The act of installing new firmware on a device.
  • Control Panel (a.k.a. Front Panel) - The combination of the display and user input hardware (buttons, keyboard) on the device.
  • Embedded Web Server (EWS) - As with most networked devices these days, our devices have built-in web servers used to configure the device over the network using a standard desktop web browser.
  • Remote Control Panel - A virtualized control panel provided in the EWS.
  • Page Description Language (PDL) - Generic term for all of the printable file/stream formats that printers know how to print (PCL, PS, PDF, etc.).
  • Printer Job Language (PJL) - A PJL wrapper can be used to encapsulate a PDL file/stream to enable explicit PDL selection, job level controls, job separation, environment, status readback, device attendance, and device file system access.
  • Rendering - The act of converting a non-printable document (word, excel, etc.) into a PDL, typically performed by a printer driver.
  • Print Job - A PDL file and its digital transformation as it is converted by a printing device into dots on sheets of paper.
  • Scan Job - The digital representation of a set of scanned pages as they are converted by a scanning device from dots on sheets of paper into digital file(s).
  • Scan Metadata - Any data about a scan job, including data input by the user on the Control Panel, output in the form of a special file used to automate a document process.

Sure, you've used printers before. But have you ever configured one?

Here are some resources to get you started:


Want to do more advanced stuff with printers?

There are some more advanced resources available in the attachment section below.