ABC's of Printers! What Do The Letters on My Printer Mean?

Mar 17, 2020

ABC's of Printers

Shopping for a new printer can be an overwhelming experience for first-time buyers. If you're someone who doesn't know your HP LaserJet from your HP OfficeJet Pro, purchasing a printer with the capabilities you need for your home or office might be challenging. What may look like an overcomplicated printer name to you might actually be the deciding factor for someone who understands the terminology.

What the heck is a HP LaserJet Pro 400 Color MFP M475dw?

Well, I don't know, but right off the bat, I can tell you it's a Multifunction laser Printer capable of duplex printing monochrome and color documents wirelessly from your smart device.

How did I know that? There's a secret language being used in the serial model of the printers that communicate these features. Most manufacturers use the same combination of letters to signify their functions, although some go by different naming conventions.

But what do the printer letters mean? Here is the comprehensive guide to printer serial model letters: 

B is for Battery: Often, a compact-sized printer that is portable when it is connected to a battery source.

BT is for Bluetooth: It allows you to print without setting up complicated networks with the ease of Bluetooth.

C is for Color: Probably the most outdated of the bunch, this allows your printer to print in color. This is often omitted from printer models as it comes as a standard in modern printers.

D is for Duplex: You can print on both sides of the paper without having to turn them over manually.

E is for ePrint: Exclusive to HP, ePrint allows you to print via email. Used mostly as an office emergency feature, ePrint is advertised as a tool used to print when you can't connect via USB, WiFi, or Bluetooth. Introduced in 2010, ePrint is not as commonly featured in HP printer model names anymore.

F is for Fax: Although the ability to fax a message seems outdated, fax printers are still relatively used today. You will often see this letter utilized to this very day.

H is for Hard Disk: Your printer has a Hard Disk Drive, allowing it to retain the memory of specific print jobs. This is useful for keeping tabs on what is printed and copied in large office settings, although it can potentially become a security issue for higher-level intelligence offices.

i is for Imaging: Your printer has a memory card slot. You can place SD or other memory cards directly in the printer without the need to convert the files. Often used for photo printers as a mechanism aimed for convenience.

M is for Monochrome: Your printer is capable of printing in black and white only has no color printing capabilities. 

MFP is for Multifunction Printer: Your printer has the functionality to copy, fax, and scan documents. Often referred to as an "All-in-one" printer. This can also be referred to as an MFC, or Multifunctional Center. 

N is for Network: Your printer can connect to a network, allowing multiple users from different computers all wirelessly print to the same device.

S is for Stacker or Stapler: Sometimes built-in, although available as an external attachment, the Stacker/Stapler feature allows your printer to automatically staple documents after printing for maximum convenience. Other printers may use the letters SK to denote this feature.

T is for Extra Tray: Your printer comes with an extra tray that usually holds an additional ream of paper.

W is for Wireless: Your printer can print via a wireless network. Often omitted by modern printers since most printers are no longer hard-wired.

X is for Everything Else: Often, a vague term that can substitute for multiple features including Duplex, Network, or Extra Tray. Formally named DNT, it was shortened to X to help simplify the serial number. If your printer contains an X, it is always helpful to check the actual specs before committing to a purchase.

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