Types of Wide Format Printers

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Various Types of Wide Format Printers

Wide format printers are not only utilized by large advertising firms but also by homes and small offices. In fact, many businesses find at least an occasional need for print jobs that require larger than the standard 8.5 x 11-inch paper. Instead of outsourcing for these print jobs, companies are seeing cost-savings and return on investment by purchasing their own wide format printer. Purchasing or leasing a wide format printer may be the right decision for your business, but first, you need to know what type of large format printer best suits your needs.

wide format printer in office
tabloid printer
tabloid printer

Over-sized, Tabloid or Super-tabloid

When you think of a wide format printer, you typically think of the expensive, large machines that are dedicated to professionals printing poster-sized media or engineering/architectural documents. However, there is another category, the over-sized printer.

The most common over-sized paper is either 11 x 17-inch tabloid, or 13 x 19-inch super-tabloid. Both are considered wide format sizes. Tabloid and super tabloid printers are also called over-sized multi-function printers which means they have scan, copy and fax capabilities. Typically inkjet, these multi-function printers do double duty in that they can accommodate larger sized paper but also standard or even smaller sized paper. Commercial grade tabloid printers offer an affordable office solution, but if you need a higher quality print production, you can opt for a professional grade wide format printer. The price of the professional printer will be higher, as well as the cost of ink.


  • Sheet paper used, no need for a paper roll.
  • Paper size can be twice the size of the standard letter size.
  • Multi-function capabilities.


  • paper size limited to the largest sheet of paper the printer can accommodate


  • Large spreadsheets
  • Small posters and flyers
  • Brochures
  • Reports
  • Booklets
  • Photos

Since 11 x 17 paper contains twice the surface area as standard, you can fold one sheet in half and get 4 letter-size pages or a 4-page booklet.

Wide and Super wide:

A wide format printer can print hundreds of square feet in less than an hour. A super wide or grand large format printer has a print roll capacity of over 100″ wide. There are basically 3 options when it comes to professional wide format printers.

  1. Roll-fed – roll of paper or other flexible media is loaded into the machine
  2. Flatbed – prints on single sheets or boards
  3. Hybrid – can accommodate both rolled and sheet substrates

large format printer printing map


  • flexibility in printing a variety of lengths
  • can print on a wide variety of media
  • super wide can usually print on both flexible and rigid substrates


  • the size of the machines – large size = more work space needed
  • need additional printer for letter-size printing


  • banners
  • posters
  • trade show graphics
  • wallpaper
  • murals
  • back lit film
  • vehicle wraps
  • architectural drawings
  • construction plans
  • large artwork
  • signage

Learn More

If you want to learn more about large format printers, check out our Wide Format Printer Buyer’s Guide and read: 5 Factors to Consider Before Buying a Wide Format Printer.

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