An all in one, or the multifunctional printer as it is sometimes known as, is a computer device that combines several office functions into one, sophisticated and versatile machine, saving space, money and energy. Some of the main functions that a consumer can expect to find in an all in one printer are: fax, copy, scan, print and email, though many units offer even more functionality through the use of their desktop software applications. Almost all major and many minor printer manufacturers, such as Kodak, Lexmark, HP, and many others, have a device on the market today.
Traditional retailers and retailers alike previously categorized printer models by determining the number of pages they can print in one minute. This is still considered one of the standards of measure for both stand-alone printers and all in one units. Manufacturers have since tried to move away from this type of generalized categorization because this measure alone is not merely enough to classify a device. Currently, all in one printers are classified based on features, usability, output quality and other criteria. These criteria not only give consumers the best picture as to what the device can do, they are also used in price determination. This allows manufacturers to distinguish their printers from other units available in the current market, by showcasing all of the unit's functionality and not focusing strictly on printer output capabilities.
Many manufacturers who create all in one printers also have a more scaled down "printer only" version, which is offered at a deeply discounted price from its more versatile cousin. These printers usually have the same printing quality and speed capabilities as their multifunction counterparts as they are generally the same unit with less functionality. Many times, consumers do not need functionality beyond basic printing. But for those who do, an all in one printer is a great way to integrate additional functionality and saving money.
Many types of multifunction all in one printer integrate their own software onto the user's desktop, so that the unit can be completely controlled from a pc. Advanced features and functions are generally only accessible from this software suite, which normally is included in the purchase materials, though many manufacturers make the driver software available on their websites for free download if you misplace your copy or the CD version is corrupt. Business versions of the all in one printers are controlled by software loaded onto a server. This type of device communication allows for many units to be controlled by one pc and makes deployment of print jobs and other software maintenance updates easy.
In the event that the software becomes corrupt, some function buttons on the unit itself can control the all in one printer. This allows access to the more basic functions of the unit, and keeping the unit usable while the user obtains a new copy of the software.
All in all, if you are looking to save money, space, and energy in your home or traditional office, consider purchasing an all in one unit.