Is an All in One Printer Input or Output? (Get the Right Answer)

Kyle Adam
Kyle Adam
Founder at - Printers Guider

Kyle Adam is a printer technician and the founder of this site. After completing his graduation in Computer Science and Engineering, he started work for...Read more

All in one printer will always leave you astonished at its multiple functionalities. Most modern printers have several functions, including scanning, hole punching, stapling, faxing, duplexing, and even extra paper trays. With all of these features in a single device, one might be tempted to ask many questions.

So, is an all in one printer input or output? All in one printers have features present in both input and output devices. So, you can simply consider all in one printers to be an integration of both. We’ll go into further details about all in one printer as we progress in this article. So, read along.

Key Points:

  • Printers were originally designed as to output devices until additional functions got added to printers. These printers are better known as MFPs (Multifunction Printers) or all in one printer.
  • All in one printers serve both as input and output devices.
  • Scanning is a function known to be carried out by input devices as it allows you to enter data into the computer. It’s one of the input functions done by the all in one printer.

Is An All In One Printer Input Or Output?

Printers are basically output devices. However, some recent printers perform functions that put them in-between. All in one printers are not entirely input or output devices. This is because they perform functions done by both input and output devices. For example, their basic output device function is converting soft copy to hard copy documents.

Is An All In One Printer Input Or Output

As an output device, an all in one printer has some features such as direct printing, paper formats, and DPI. So, one cannot specifically categorize them either as an input or an output device. All in one printers are capable of functioning as either an input or output device.

Input Functions of All in One Printers

As we mentioned earlier, an all in one printer functions as an input device as well as an output device. Here are some of the features that make it work as an input device:

  • USBs: All in one printers come with USB ports that make them act as input devices.
  • Page description languages (PDLs): A page description language specifies how the printed page is going to be arranged.
  • Parallel Connection/printing types: All in one printers come with a 25-pin port that allows you to connect it to the computer. This parallel port is usually the type DB-25. This type of port is known for its high transfer speed of 150 kB/s.
  • Direct interpreters: these printers also come with interpreters that allow them to execute tasks sent to them from the computer efficiently.
  • Scanning: this action allows you to send data to your computer. This is an input function previously done by scanners.

Importance of Input and Output for All in One Printer

Imagine you had all the hardware components you need for your computer system all built into a single hardware device. That would be awesome, right? All in one printers go a long way in helping you bring that imagination into reality and you will be glad to know that it will cost you less than 200 bucks. You just have to look carefully to get the best all in one printers under $200 from reputed brands.

All in one printers allow you to print your works quickly and neatly. It also does several other tasks such as scanning, stapling, faxing, duplexing, punching of holes, and copying. It can also print documents in both colored and black-and-white format.

Below are some of the benefits of using an all in one printer.

Economy of Space

You probably have a small office space or working desk. So, having several computer components along with other office items and files makes your office odd or unkempt. An all in one printer helps you to get rid of all of that. It eliminates the need to get other devices such as scanners and fax machines.

It Saves Extra Cost

Imagine the cost if you have to buy separate printers, scanners, and photocopiers. The total cost of all of these components far exceeds that of an all in one printer. With an all in one printer, you can perform the tasks meant for several components at a much lower price.

More Functions Are Performed on A Single Unit

You might be limited if your laptop or CPU has a small number of ports. All in one printers help to get rid of the worries that come with this inability to plug several devices. It enables you to plug the printer into a single port.

Increased Efficiency

In addition to carrying out multiple tasks, it does it efficiently and can perform multiple tasks simultaneously.

Can A Printer Be Used As An Input Device?

Before we go into details about whether a printer can be used as an input device, you need to understand what input devices are. Input devices are devices that can send instructions to the computer’s processor. Some common examples are scanners, gamepads, webcams, and microphones.

In general, printers are not designed to function as input devices. However, that idea is limited to normal printers. All in one printers can serve as an input devices. They are capable of sending instructions to your computer’s processor.

Among the input devices we mentioned above, we’re sure you saw “scanners.” That explains why all in one printers can be considered input devices. Scanning is a task that sends information to the computer’s CPU. Therefore, some printers can be used as input devices.

How Does A Printer Get Connected As An Output To A Computer?

Connecting a printer to your computer is a simple task and doesn’t require hiring a tech expert. It’s as simple as any DIY task and will only require help if you’re doing it for the first time. First off, you need to power your printer by connecting it to a power source. Plugin your printer’s power cable into a wall socket.

How Does A Printer Get Connected As An Output To A Computer

Next, connect the printer to your computer. For this connection, you’ll need a USB cable. A USB cable creates the required communication link required for your printer and computer to communicate.

However, some advanced printers don’t need a USB cable as they can be connected to your computer via Wi-Fi. An advantage of this is that you can use this kind of printer with other computers since they don’t have to be close to a particular computer.

Where Can A Printer Be Used As An Output Device?

Formerly, printers could only be connected to computers through a USB cable and could only work with computers. With the recent addition of Wi-Fi options for connection, printers can now be connected to a range of other devices.

Some of the devices you can connect your printer to are smartphones and tablets. Also, some modern printers come with slots where you can insert your camera’s SD card and print images directly from your printer.

Who Can Use A Printer As An Output Device?

Printers were originally designed to serve as output devices in a computer setup. Therefore, anyone can use a printer as an output device. If you need to print any document in your home or office, you can and should use a printer if you have one.

However, note that there are different printers depending on the workload you intend to print with the computer. SOHO (Small Office, Home Office) printers are ideal for personal use at home as they are less bulky and will efficiently do your printing job.

There are also the larger and more expensive units made for large-scale printing. These are suitable for use in a digital printing press.

What Are Some Examples of Input and Output Devices?

You might be wondering what components can be referred to as input or output devices. The distinguishing factor between these two classes is which can send instructions to the computer processor and which one only receives instructions from the processor. Let’s consider the two different types of devices and some examples of each one.

Output Devices

Output devices can only receive instructions from the computer and can’t send them back. Also, output devices are hardware devices that allow a computer to send data to another user or device. Below are some common output devices.

1. Printers

Printers designed to do the basic function of printing are the only set of printers that can be referred to as output devices. Printers allow you to convert data sent to it from the computer from soft copy to hard copy. Such data can be either be as images or texts.

2. Speakers

Speakers are hardware devices that convert digital signals from your computer into audible sound. Some computers come with inbuilt speakers in them. You can also connect a speaker to your computer by plugging it into the appropriate port provided for that purpose.

3. Headphones

Headphones are also output devices and act in the same capacity as speakers. However, the only difference is that one person can only use headphones at any given time. Also, the sound produced by headphones isn’t as loud as the output from speakers.

4. Monitors

A monitor is one part of a computer that is commonly overlooked as most people can’t tell which category it belongs to. Monitors are output devices and allow you to see what your CPU is working on at the moment. Also, it is one of the most important components of the computer as it will enable you to interact effectively with your computer.

5. Sound Cards

Sound cards are usually preinstalled on most laptops in one form or the other. Some sound cards allow a two-way device that serves both as an input and output device. Moreover, some computers allow users to plug in external sound cards.

6. Multimedia Projectors

Projectors are just another wonder of technology. They are computer output devices that allow you to view what’s on your computer monitor on a larger screen. They are useful during seminars where you can’t have everyone looking at your laptop’s small screen. Also, you can use it to see movies in a home with limited space for a TV by projecting the video on the wall or a screen.

Input Devices

Input devices are just the opposite of output devices. They send data to the CPU to process and give out the desired result. Below are some common input devices.

1. Keyboard

You probably don’t need an explanation for this, but here’s a little tip for others who do. The keyboard is that part of your laptop or computer system where numbers, alphabets, and other characters are written and allows you to make entries on your computer. It’s one of the oldest forms of input devices available for computers.

2. Scanner

A scanner is also an input device that allows you to scan hard copy documents, converting them into digital format. Scanners can scan images, texts, and anything represented on paper. Just as the printer allows you to convert soft copy documents into hard copy, the scanner allows you to do the exact opposite.

3. Mouse

The mouse is an electronic device that allows you to move the cursor on your monitor screen and click on objects on the screen to execute tasks. You can connect a mouse to your computer by plugging it into one of the USB ports available. Also, you can use a wireless mouse that uses a separate receiver plugged into the USB port.

4.Biometric Devices

A biometric device is an input device that allows you to identify a person through biometric means. These devices use biometric sensors to identify persons and are commonly used for security reasons. Biometric devices scan body parts such as fingerprints, retina/iris, and your face.

5. Microphone

A microphone is another example of a computer input device. It allows you to manually record sound on your computer or transmit it to another device. It does this by receiving audio signals from the environment and converting it into electric signals that the computer can reproduce. Recently, microphones have been utilized in computer systems for speech recognition software.


Printers are meant to function as output devices. However, the invention of printers that can now scan documents brings a different ball to the court. So, is an all in one printer input or output? There isn’t a clear line separating all in one printers into input or output device.

They function as both input and output devices. This is because they can both send and receive data to and from the computer processor. One of the basic input functions of all in one printer is its ability to scan documents.

Kyle Adam is a printer technician and the founder of this site. After completing his graduation in Computer Science and Engineering, he started work for a renowned printer manufacturing company as a printer technician. Besides his job, he also loves to do research and write about what he is dealing with in his everyday life; Printersguider is the result of that. Kyle created this site to educate those who need a specialized printer but don’t have proper knowledge about it.

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