Printing is a process of reproducing text and images using ink on paper, typically with a printing press. Printing is used to create many types of documents and promotional materials, including books, magazines, newspapers, posters, business cards, letterheads, envelopes, and more. It is also often used for transactional documents, such as checks, bank statements, stock certificates, and certificates of deposit.
There are thousands of different printers in use today. They range from home office laser and ink jet printers to wide format industrial printers capable of printing on a large scale. Some of the earliest printers were woodblock or block printing machines, and later developments included movable type (first developed by Bi Sheng in China) and the printing press (developed by Johannes Gutenberg in the fifteenth century).
Each file or document has its own specific steps to print, but most follow a similar workflow. For example, when you click the Print button in most apps on a PC, Windows will display a list of available printers; choose one and click Print. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+P on a PC or Command+P on an Apple computer to open the Print menu and skip the step of selecting a printer.
You can also print files and documents from your mobile device, or at a printer outside of your home or office. For example, shipping stores like The UPS Store and FedEx offer printing services, which can be useful for returning that Amazon order that wasn’t quite what you hoped it would be or printing out your work or school assignments before heading to class. University libraries may also provide public printing services; prices vary by library.