Now that we've established that a printer is a piece of software and not a piece of hardware, it really shouldn't be too much a leap to imagine that this piece of softwarethe printeris just another disk resource that can be made available to other computers on a network. The mechanics of this are discussed in a later chunk.
Also, we should be aware that printer devices can be further classified into one of three categories: Local, Network, and Virtual. Each of these classifications looks at which computer actually has the software that manages the print device.
Local printers are local because the software managing the devices is physically installed at your computer. Traditionally, local printers submit their jobs through a USB or parallel port to a device that is sitting right next to your desk, although that isn't always the case (I'll discuss this further in the sections on network printing.)
These print devices are managed by printers that aren't directly installed on your system. They are accessible over the network, however, as their name implies, and may or may not be located in the same room.
These printer types show up as printing options in the Print dialog box of software applications and also are represented as icons in the Printers and Faxes folder. These printers don't send jobs to a device that puts ink on paper; instead they convert a document to a widely readable format. A primary example of a virtual printer is the PDF Writer, which takes information sent to it and produces output in the form of an Adobe Acrobat .pdf file rather than a piece of paper.