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Understanding Printer and Scanner Specs

There are a few important specs to understand before you buy your printer or scanner. Here we'll look at the basics of resolution, color and bit depth, file formats, print and scan speed, and print and scan area.

Choosing the Right Printer 101
Single-function or multifunction, inkjet or laser, photo or business, low-volume or high-volume, low cost per page, or CPP--critical printer features.

Top Alternative Inkjet Printhead Printers
Alternative inkjet printhead technologies, HP's PageWide and Epson's PrecisionCore, outperform several laser and LED printers in print speeds and CPP.

Alternative Printhead Inkjet Printers
HP PageWide and Epson PrecisionCore fixed printhead printers match and exceed laser printers in speed and cost per page savings.

How to Estimate a Printer’s Cost Per Page
How to use the manufacturer's page yields and cost of consumable cartridges to estimate a printer's per-page cost of operation, or cost per page - CPP

How to Calibrate Printers and Scanners
What are the appropriate settings to use when you want photo prints to look their best? ICC (International Color Consortium) profiles provide devices such as printers, scanners, and monitors with a consistent color profile.

When a $150 Printer can Cost You Thousands
Save hundreds, even thousands of dollars by choosing a printer with a low cost per page, or CPP; it's far more important than the purchase price.

How to Change the Print Size of a Digital Photo
Many digital photos will open into your photo editing software with a resolution of 72 ppi. But the embedded resolution may not be what you really want. To find out how to change the print size of a photo, check out this simple guide from Sue Chastain, the About.com Guide to Graphics Software.

Aspect Ratio and Cropping to the Proper Print Proportions
Aspect ratio is the relationship of an image's width to height, or its proportions. Digital cameras produce files with an aspect ratio of 4:3. For more about aspect ratio and to understand what it means for printing, check out this great guide from About.com's Sue Chastain, Guide to Graphics Software.

Photo Paper Print Finishes
There are many different kinds of photo paper, from matte to high gloss. Which one should you use? This guide to photo-paper finishes will tell you what you can expect from each kind.

Understanding Aspect Ratios
Mike Pasini, Editor of the Imaging Resource Newsletter, has written a short and clear explanation of aspect ratios and how to adjust your images before you print them so they come out looking their best. A handy aspect ratio calculator shows you exactly how to crop your photos so they'll fit.

Hamrick VueScan 8 - Scanner Software Replacement
When you're doing a lot of scanning, you may find that the software the came with your document or photo scanner doesn't offer all the bells and whistles you need. Fear not: About.com Guide Sue Chastain has a glowing review of Hamrick VueScan, which replaces your scanner's software and adds advanced features and superior control to more than 300 scanners.

How Scanners Work
Ever interested in seeing what goes on inside your flatbed, sheet-fed, or photo scanner? HowStuffWorks provides the anatomy of a scanner and takes you through a tour of the amazing inside of scanners.

Cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) are very small and very bright fluorescent lights used in scanners to provide light for scanning, without becoming hot. They're typically filled with low-pressure mercury vapor.

What is TWAIN?
TWAIN is a software protocol that goes between your computer and your camera, scanner, or whatever imaging device you're using. It helps ensure that your computer can understand and display the data being sent by the imaging device.

Print Speed
Print speed depends on what kind of document you're printing and how your printer's preferences are set.

Understanding Printer Resolution
Printer resolution refers to how many dots per inch a printer can put onto a piece of paper.

PPI, DPI, and Resolution: The Basics
When you're using a photo scanner, you need to understand basic terms such as points per inch, dots per inch, and resolution. Here's a guide to the basics of photo scanning.

More About DPI
Dots per inch, or DPI, is confusing enough, but there are added dimensions to it when you're measuring resolution for desktop publishing. Luckily, your friendly Guide to Desktop Publishing is there to help explains the ins and outs of DPI.

Scanning Film
There's a big difference between scanning a photo and scanning film. Most important is that in the former case, you're making a copy of a copy, while in the latter case you're making a copy of the original. So, you can scan film to much higher resolutions. Find everything you ever wanted to know about scanning film here.

Understanding Scanner Resolution and Color Depth
Resolution refers to the amount of information, calculated in dots per inch, that the scanner can read.

Understanding Image Formats
When you're working with images or scans, there are many different file formats you can choose. Here are some tips on how they're different, and when to use each one.

How HP Measures Print Speed
If you're wondering how printer manufacturers measure the speed of their printers, you'll find all the details in this explanation from HP.

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