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MYTHS and facts about
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Citation Software Inc.
 Specialists in variable-data publishing since 1986

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QUESTION: What is a RIP?

ANSWER: RIP stands for "Raster Image Processor." A RIP is a device or a software program that converts page-description-language code to the raster format required by the print engine in a printer or imagesetter. (The print engine is the machinery that actually makes marks on a page.)

For some printing devices, the RIP is stored on a circuit board that is inside the printer. This is true of many if not most desktop printers.

For other printing devices, the RIP is a software module or collectin of software modules that runs on a computer that is attached to the printing device. This is the case with high-end digital printers and digital presses.

When you're reading information about printers and RIPs on this Web site, you'll sometimes see the term "printer/RIP." We've done things this way to cover both of the situations described above.

For more information, see What is rasterization?

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