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Apple Wiki

ImageWriter (15")


ImageWriter II


ImageWriter LQ

The ImageWriter line was a brand of dot matrix printers released by Apple Computer in the 1980s. Designed to work with Apple II and Macintosh computers, they could produce images as well as text, up to a resolution of 144 dots per inch (dpi). This permitted it to produce WYSIWYG output from the screen of the original Macintosh, which was proportionally set to half of that at 72 dpi, an important aspect of promoting the concept of the graphical user interface (GUI).


The ImageWriters were originally introduced in 1984 in two widths, a 10-inch size for 8.5-inch-wide tractor-fed paper, and a 15-inch size for "wide carriage" paper.[1][2] At first, the only Apple software that supported the wide carriage model was MacProject. Very few third-party applications initially supported it; most could print only as if there was 8.5-inch paper in the printer. At 144 dpi, print quality was adequate rather than startling.

The ImageWriter II was introduced in 1985 with the same print image quality, but with a LocalTalk option to add it to an AppleTalk network for printing by multiple users.[3] It could also produce basic color images with an optional color ribbon, a feature that was supported by the original version of QuickDraw that was used to create the screen and print images on the Mac. Another popular option was ThunderScan, a 3rd party attachment to the print carriage that would convert the printer into a scanner.[4]

The wide carriage model was superseded in 1987 by the ImageWriter LQ, which was capable of printing on wide paper at up to 216 dpi,[5] a lower-cost alternative to the expensive LaserWriter.


  • ImageWriter (10") — June 1984
  • ImageWriter (15") — April 1984
  • ImageWriter II — September 1985
  • ImageWriter LQ — August 1987


In March 1991, the ImageWriters were superseded with the introduction of the first StyleWriter, a cost-effective inkjet printer from Apple that could print at up to 360 dpi.[6] However, ImageWriters remained popular at educational institutions with their ability to print to continuous tractor-fed paper.[7]


  1. ImageWriter, Apple Spec Database. Archived 2000-03-01.
  2. ImageWriter (15"), Apple Spec Database. Archived 2000-03-02.
  3. ImageWriter II, Apple Spec Database. Archived 1999-08-24.
  4. Thunderscan by Andy Hertzfeld, Folklore. 1984-06.
  5. ImageWriter LQ, Apple Spec Database. Archived 2000-03-03.
  6. StyleWriter, Apple Spec Database. Archived 1999-12-01.
  7. Classic Printing for Classic Macs by Manuel Mejia Jr., Low End Mac. 2000-06-15.

External links[]

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Apple printers
Silentype | Dot Matrix Printer | Daisy Wheel Printer | Color Plotter | Scribe
ImageWriter | 15" | II | LQ
LaserWriter | II | Personal LaserWriter | Select | Pro | Color LaserWriter
StyleWriter | Portable StyleWriter | Color Printer | Color StyleWriter
Discontinued in 1999