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What is Wide Format Printing?

Diane Goettel
Updated May 17, 2024
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Wide format printing is a kind of printing that requires printers that are large enough to handle sheets of paper used for posters, blue prints, wide banners, and copies of artwork such as pen and ink drawings and photographs. Wide format printing is used for a range of purposes. An architectural firm, for example, might own one or more wide format printers in order to print out sets of drawings. An artist might invest in a wide format printer to reduce the costs of making prints of her work. These kinds of printers are also used by companies that produce wide format books and documents.

In almost all cases, wide formate printing is much more costly than printing that requires a standard printer or copy machine. In the United States, the standard paper size for most documents is 8.5 inches (about 22 cm) wide by 11 inches (about 28 cm) tall. In the UK and Europe, the standard paper size is called A4 size. This size is nearly the same width as the standard document paper that is used in the United States but it is slightly taller. The A4 paper size is nearly 12 inches (about 30 cm) tall. Wide format printing can technically refer to any sort of printing that involves documents larger than these standards, but it usually refers to documents that are much larger.

One of the reasons that wide format printing is more expensive than standard printing is that the machines are much more sizable. Most people who have printers connected to their home computers can measure their printing capacity in inches or centimeters. Wide format printers, on the other hand, are often measured in feet or meters. Some companies that use these kinds of printers have to dedicate an entire area of the office just to the wide format printers.

Another factor that influences the cost of wide format printing is the level of print quality that these printers are able to produce. When wide format printing is used to reproduce art, the capacity for detail and high resolution must be very good. The same is true for large documents that include many small details. Such documents include maps that, despite their very large size, include fine lines and text written in small fonts.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel , Former Writer
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"

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Diane Goettel

Diane Goettel

Former Writer

"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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