Printing is the act of creating physical copies of written text or images using ink on paper and, in many cases, a printing press. The term can also be applied to the process of transferring digital image data onto photosensitive material (either in black and white or in color), usually with a printer that uses a negative as an image source, although today digital photography is most often referred to as “transfer” printing rather than “print” imaging.
The most familiar examples of printing are books, newspapers, and magazines, but there is much more. Printing is used to produce everything from wallpaper and textiles to plates, labels, and packaging, and even maps. In addition to texts and pictures, it is possible to print phonographic records (tapes and discs) and holograms.
One of the most important things to remember about printing is that it can be a very wasteful process. If you are printing from a web page, for example, it is easy to end up with six, eight, or ten pages worth of extraneous information if you forget to edit your print options. For this reason, it is generally a good idea to print only those pages that actually have useful information. Many websites will have a “print only” option that eliminates comments and advertising, and some offer a duplex mode that prints two pages on each side of the same sheet of paper — saving you both ink and paper.