The line printer has a mechanism that can print multiple characters on the same line at the same time. It usually uses a large spinning drum which rotates over the surface of the paper while a hammer pushes the paper together with the ribbon right into the drum surface causing the paper to be marked with the relevant character on the drum. This type of mechanism makes the line printer much faster than a dot matrix printer but the quality of printing is not as good as what you get in modern printers. It’s also a very noisy printer and doesn’t have too many font capabilities.
The paper used in a line printer is also different from the normal paper used for other printers and has to be fed into the machine continuously. It also comes with perforations on either side of the margins and has to be pre-set into the machine to move along the tractors of the printer’s paper feeding system. What is remarkable about the line printer is that it can print as many as 3,000 lines each minute and this alone has made it a very useful printer to be used in a number of places where a huge volume of printing such as documents, labels, and large business applications have to be printed.
The quality of printing in a line printer is quite good, although not as precise as in a laser printer. Many people however use this printer when a large number of reports and brochures etc. have to be printed at speed and at less expense than having them printed on a laser printer. A line matrix printer on the other hand is a cross between a dot matrix printer and a line printer and use a mechanism that prints a wide line of dots that forms in to text.
The Line Matrix printer is mostly used to print reports, invoices and labels for boxes and is even faster than a line printer while also being capable of printing bar codes as well as other types of graphics. Its biggest attraction to entrepreneurs is that it is the least expensive of all printers when a large volume of printing has to be carried out.
Unlike in the dot matrix printer, the wide shuttle in a line matrix printer does not print from one side of the paper to another but only moves a short distance since the shuttle itself is as wide as the page. As a result of the multiple hammers being able to strike at the same time to create a line of dots, every time a line of dots have been marked on the paper, the paper automatically moves upwards by a single row while the printing continues. It is these dots that comes together to form characters, letters and symbols or even the graphics that are printed on the paper. The Line Matrix printer is unique in its own way because it is the only printer available even today that is capable of creating multiple copies of any document.