serial printer A printer that prints one character at a time in the sequence in which they appear in the line of text. The sequence may be taken from left to right, or it may be in alternate directions for alternate lines thus avoiding an unproductive carriage-return movement. All serial printers have an arrangement in which a print head moves parallel to the paper and along the line to be printed. The print may be formed by impacting an inked ribbon against the paper, as in the case of dot matrix printers, or by one of the nonimpact marking technologies such as inkjet or thermal printers. In some designs the productivity is increased when printing other than complete lines by arranging for the head to move at high speed when passing blank areas. The direction in which the line is to be printed is also optimized. Note that the term serial printer refers to the method of printing and not to the connection, which may be serial or parallel.
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