The tabloid printer is the standard printer used on domestic computers. They are line printers with a single row of heating elements, through which a roll of paper up to 560 mm wide is passed. This paper is impregnated with a colourless dye which turns black on heating. An automatically-controlled blade can be made to slice off an arbitrary length of the paper and the printer is also able to perform other programmable physical operations on the paper, including folding, gluing and cutting at various angles. This enables the printer to produce double-sided documents in codex form. Illustrations are printed using half-tone, giving the illusion of grey scale.

Tabloid printers are quite sophisticated devices in terms of their mechanical capabilities. They are able to turn sheets of paper through angles, fold and unfold them and glue sheets together, and can be used to an extent to produce paper sculptures and origami, some of which are available via online services. They can also print loose leaf versions of books, which are also in a tabloid format. This is sometimes used to print downloaded or other electronic books.

They also differ from computer displays in their ability to mix upper and lower case letters, print Latin and non-Latin characters together and produce various typographical effects such as different typefaces and the likes of bold and underlined text.

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