Output devices are devices that convert computer data into a form that is understood by a human.

They are peripheral devices that receive processed data from the central processing unit and display it as information to computer users.

Output devices help to bring out processed information from the processing unit to the outside world.

Output devices convert information into human-readable form.

In other words, they allow the user to see, hear, or feel the result of data processing activities.

Output devices are needed so that the user can access data that has been processed by the CPU.

Monitors, multimedia projectors, printers, audio response units, headphones, speakers, plotters and Computer-output-Micro-film (COM) are all examples of output devices


This is a television-like device that uses pixels on a screen to show information visually.

In the monitor, pixels are combined to create images so that humans can recognize and gain information from the central processing unit.

The number of pixels used determines the sharpness of the image displayed on the monitor.

The monitor is one of the most common outputs and it is very rare to find a computer system without a monitor.

Computer monitor or VDU

Monitors are known to display a temporary copy of processed data known as a soft copy

This Soft copy allows users to interact and view data digitally before it can be printed.

Monitors come in various sizes and resolutions.

It should be noted the monitor is sometimes called a Visual Display Unit (VDU), a Visual Display Terminal (VDT) or a Video display terminal.

Types of monitors

1. Cathode-ray tube monitor: This is a vacuum tube containing an electron gun and a fluorescent screen used to display images.

A CRT monitor uses phosphorescent dots to generate the pixels that constitute displayed images.

CRT monitors are usually huge, heavy, and generate a lot of heat.

They're typically found in older desktop computers and are inexpensive to purchase.

However, CRT monitors are becoming obsolete due to the emergence of LCD and LED monitors.

2. Liquid crystal Display monitor: This displays images by manipulating light within the liquid crystal cells.

It displays output on the screen using the light modifying properties of liquid crystals.

LCDs are used on modern desktop computers and notebooks because they take up less space and consume less power

LCD monitors produce sharper visuals than CRT monitors. As a result, LCD monitors are becoming more popular than CRT monitors.

3. Light-emitting diodes monitor: This takes up less space and has better contrast and viewing angles than a LED monitor.

While cold cathode fluorescent tubes offer backlighting on LCD panels, light-emitting diodes provide backlighting on LED displays

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor light source that emits light when current flows through it. A light-emitting diode is a device that can generate light from electricity.

A light-emitting diode monitor consumes less electricity and maintains a low temperature even after a long hour of being used.

Multimedia Projector

As its name seems to suggest, multimedia projectors project an image on a screen/wall/object so that we can obtain information from the computer.

Multimedia projectors essentially project information from your computer screen onto a larger screen.

A Multimedia projector

A multimedia projector works thus: An analogue or digital signal from a computer is received by a multimedia projector, which subsequently projects the image or video onto a larger screen.

Multimedia projectors are mostly used in schools, cinemas, and video conferencing to present information so that everyone can see it well.

Uses of multimedia projectors

1. It's used to show presentations to a large group of people

2. It is also show used for advertising presentations at exhibition centres


This is a hard copy output device that produces a physical medium of text and graphics.

A printer produced a permanent copy on paper of information from the computer known as a print copy, print hint, or hard copy.

A printer

Ink or toner is used in the printer to print images/text onto paper and produce information for the user.

The printer can be divided into two types: 

1. Impact printers: These forms characters and graphics by striking mechanisms against inked ribbons that contact the paper.

Impact printers are ideal for printing multi-part forms and they can withstand dusty environments.

However, impact printers are very noisy and slow.

Example of impact printers is dot matrix and line printers.

2. Non-impact printers: This forms characters and graphics without striking paper. 

The two most common non-impact printers are inkjet printers and laser printers.

Non-impact printers have the advantage of being less noisy than impact printers.

They can also handle graphics and a wide range of fonts that impact printers are unable to handle.

On the flip side, non-impact printers, are quite expensive because of the high cost of their ink cartridges.

In addition, non-impact printers may be unable to print multi-part or composite forms.


This vibrates at varying frequencies to produce the different sounds that we heard like music, speech etc.


A digital to analogue converter converts digital data from the computer to analogue form, which is then amplified through the speaker.

Most speakers are connected to the computer system through cable and the sound made by the speaker is produced by an internal expansion card called a sound card.


This lets you ten to sound signals from the computer in the same way that a speaker does.

A headphone offers more versatility than a speaker because it allows users to listen to sounds privately.

An headphone

Headphones are very similar to speakers, except that they are worn on the ears and only one person can hear them at a time.

As a result, headphone allows you to listen to sound and music without necessarily disturbing others.


COM stands for Computer-output-on-Microfilm or computer output microfilm.

It is used to make a film image of the page that has been sent from the computer.

COM can also refer to the much-reduced output produced on high-quality film from copied information on the computer or other electronic medium.

Voice response (audio response unit)

This is an output device that provides a spoken response to digital inquiries.

The spoken response is often derived from a limited vocabulary of predetermined words and it usually sounds like a human speech.

The audio response unit allows a computer to respond with a spoken response by simulating human speech.

The audio response unit is sometimes called an automatic response unit, an automatic response unit.

The audio response unit is one of the least familiar peripherals because it is quickly becoming outdated.


This is used for the output of graphical information on large and small computers.

It is an output device which prints high images into massive sheets of paper or other suitable materials. 

A plotter

A plotter is very similar to a printer except that it uses pens instead of print heads, as is the case with a printer.

Most plotters produce images by moving pens 

Plotters are typically used for large-scale printing that necessitates the use of computer-aided design (CAD)

They are also used for technical drawings and printings, map-making and drafting.

Uses of plotter

1. It is used to create large blueprints for construction projects

2. Plotter is also used in making billboards and large posters

Final words

An output device is any device that allows you receive information in a human-readable form.

An audio response unit, monitor, and multimedia projectors are all soft copy output devices whereas plotter and printer are hard copy output devices.

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