In computing, a printer is a peripheral which produces a hard copy permanent human-readable text and/or graphics of documents stored in electronic form, usually on physical print media such as paper or transparencies. Banks and other clearing houses employ from these specially printed characters to function properly.
Many printers are primarily used as local peripherals, and are attached by a printer cable or, in most new printers, a USB cable to a computer which serves as a document source. Printers are designed for low-volume, short-turnaround print jobs; requiring virtually no setup time to achieve a hard copy of a given document.
The printing press naturally remains the machine of choice for high-volume, professional publishing. However, as printers have improved in quality and performance, many jobs which used to be done by professional print shops are now done by users on local printers; see desktop publishing.
Some printers, commonly known as network printers, have built-in network interfaces typically wireless or Ethernet, and can serve as a hardcopy device for any user on the network. Individual printers are often designed to support both local and network connected users at the same time.