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multifunction peripheral (MFP)

A multifunction peripheral (MFP) is a device that performs a variety of functions that would otherwise be carried out by separate peripheral devices. As a rule, a multifunction peripheral includes at least two of the following:

Multifunction peripheral devices often have a base function with one or more added capabilities. Here are some common examples:
  • Digital copy machine: Creates copies digitally, by scanning and printing. In addition to scanning and printing, may include fax, sorter and office hardware, such as a stapler.
  • Fax machine MFP: Looks like a normal fax but connects to a PC for data input/output, printing, scanning and copying.
  • Printer/Scanner/Copier MFP: Performs all three functions and sometimes faxing as well.
Cost savings and lower space requirements make multifunctional peripherals a practical choice for many people who would ordinarily have to buy separate devices. On the other hand, those who require high-end functioning may be better served by a device dedicated to that particular use.
This was last updated in March 2011
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