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Some Extra Features You May Need to Consider: A Large Format Printer Buying Guide

Most people lack fortune-telling abilities, making it impossible to predict your future printer needs. However, most businesses have a one- to three-year roadmap and direction, which can help you determine the features you might want in a wide format printer.

Common Wide Format Printer Features

Certain features are standard on your average large format printer. These include:

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  • Driver and software formats: This determines how well the printer communicates with your software and computer. You only want a printer with a driver that works with your software program, preferably certified.
  • Scanning and copying function: For some models, both inkjet and toner, scanning is standard, and with others it is part of an upgrade module. If you don't have a regular scanning need, this is probably an unnecessary expense.

Additional Wide Format Printer Features

A number of optional features make your job much easier.

  • A catch tray collects the finished print, meaning the operator doesn't have to stand there waiting
  • A paper cutter automatically separates multiple prints
  • A Raster Image Processor (RIP) lets you exactly match existing colors, important when you need color precision (though a costly extra feature)
  • Accounting features allow you to add billing codes to prints
  • Color scanning and markup capabilities allow you to make notations on as-built plans
  • Multiple paper widths let you print a variety of widths, and some roll-to-roll printers even allow you to load more than one size roll at a time
  • Scan and save lets you save projects for repeat jobs

Upgrading Your Printer

One of the things to consider when buying a wide format printer is whether you can upgrade your features as your needs change, as well as the types of upgrades the manufacturer provides. For example, do you get regular software or firmware updates that align with new developments?

If the printer allows you to upgrade – add a scanner, take additional rolls, boost memory capabilities – then you have much less need to look into the future.

Instead, you can change with the times, because the printer you chose allows you to do so. In other words, your best bet is an adaptable model.

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