Are Printers Still Important in this Digital Age?

Last Thursday, I received an interesting question from one of our readers. Catherine M. sent me this inquiry via email, "Dear TechPinas, we are in the Digital Age. Obviously, everything can be done online. […] Files can be viewed on smartphones and tablets. […] Do you think printers are still important?"

TP Answer:

Dear Catherine, we may be in a day and age when conversations and transactions can be done online and content can be saved, managed and shared on the cloud but I really can't say that printers are no longer important at home and more importantly, I can't deny that they are still a requirement in the business setting.

Sure, nowadays, a lot of things can be accomplished digitally. We can send emails in lieu of snail mail or carry files in a flash disk instead of bringing an envelope full of sheets of paper. However, since we still live in a physical world (lest we forget), preparing hard copies or printed documents still make a lot of sense in more ways than one.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of printed materials versus their digital counterpart is that they are more accessible. That is, you don't need a laptop, tablet or netbook, for example, to read a hard copy of a Word or Excel file.

In fact, in business meetings, it is almost a requirement to bring printed copies of reports or thumbnails of Powerpoint presentations for everyone in the boardroom. You'll definitely be seen as more than ready, courteous and considerate by your officemates or business partners for putting your trusty printer to good use and giving them a few sheets of paper instead of making them bring a gadget just to see your work.

And that's not the only thing that a good printer can help you accomplish in the business environment.

There's what we call an all-in-one printer, which - aside from having its essential functionality - also lets you scan and fax documents and even works as a telephone! It's practically more than three devices in one! Such a printer I think is an absolute requirement for any office regardless of size. I mean, printing, faxing and scanning are almost staple 'activities' in the business setting.

At home, family members especially the kids who are still in school can truly benefit from having access to a printer, be it the regular or the all-in-one type. I believe a lot of professors still require their students to submit printed papers or essays instead of just emailing them; You don't want to always go out of the house and ask a friend to print your school paper for you. Also, the all-in-one printer's scanner becomes particularly useful for creating school projects involving photos from childhood or old magazine pages. And really, that's just some of the things you can do with it. Think about all the things a printer can help you with at home or in school.

So there you go. Obviously, if you're going to ask me if a printer is still important in these digital times, my answer is a resounding yes. I think all us need at least one at home and in the office. I'd suggest you get one; These days, they are rarely all too expensive any way.

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