26.9 cp

Printers That Can Scan & Enlarge the Scan

Call them printers that scan, scanners that copy or copiers that email and even fax. Once dubbed “hydras” for their many-headed performance, these desktop peripherals carry the designation “MFP” for multifunction printer. Unlike big floor-standing copiers that serve as networked printers, MFPs match up better with the output needs of small offices or workgroups than with high-volume document flows, accomplishing the same tasks as their bigger brethren but on a more modest scale.

MFP Features
Some MFPs look like two devices stacked on top of each other, fitting together a printer’s output tray around the inputs that accommodate paper to produce copies and make scans. These devices often use bulky casework that doesn’t require large amounts of counter or desktop space but tend to be rather tall, compared to the relatively compact enclosures of modern dedicated printers and scanners. However, you can dedicate one USB port to an MFP instead of using three for the devices whose functionality it provides.

Replacing Multiple Devices
If you need to accommodate a modest copying and scanning volume on the same device that serves as your printer, an MFP can make a good choice for a small number of users. Because it can serve light duty for more than one person, it can enable you to save the hardware cost, space and consumables price tag necessary to support all the devices it replaces. The same consumables — typically inkjet-based, although some MFPs use laser mechanisms — support all of the device’s forms of output, which means one set of supplies serves multiple needs.

Functional Pros & Cons
MFPs may combine the feature sets of multiple peripherals into one piece of equipment, but that doesn’t make their performance equally outstanding at all the tasks they undertake. With most of these devices, you’ll find one mode at which they do their best work — typically printing — and others that provide acceptable but not high-end performance. For example, if you run a graphic-arts business, the hardware in an MFP typically won’t produce scans that stand up to the needs of commercial printing, and if you need to copy long documents, an MFP won’t be a perfect substitute for a dedicated copier. Additionally, you may be limited in the number of concurrent processes an MFP can perform, as many of them only do one thing at a time.

Other Considerations
Unlike dedicated scanners, MFPs may be more limited in the range across which they can enlarge or reduce a scan. If the document you want to digitize already exists on your computer system in digital form, you may be able to enlarge its contents more successfully through other means, including opening the file in a program that can scale the kind of material you use. For example, you can achieve better results with image enlargement in a bitmap-editing program than by printing a photo, scanning it and enlarging the scan.

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