A plotter is a computer hardware device much like a printer that is used for printing vector graphics. It is a piece of computer gear that converts computer commands into paper line drawings. It draws a line with one or more automatic pens.  Instead of toner, plotters use a pen, pencil, marker, or another writing tool to draw multiple, continuous lines onto the paper rather than a series of dots like a traditional printer. Though once widely used for computer-aided design, plotters have more or less been phased out by wide-format printers.

In engineering projects, plotters are widely used. Because they have the ability to draw continuous lines, whereas ordinary printers use closely spaced dots to conventionally drew lines. Plotters are designed in different forms, and they use different-different tools to draw lines on the paper. For example, a 3-D plotter (cutting plotter) uses knives to design any type of diagram or cut out a piece of material on the basis of given inputs from the computer. On the other hand, most of the plotters use a pen to draw lines on the paper.

The object that is to be cut is located on the flat surface in front of the plotter. The computer forwards cutting design and dimensions to the plotter for producing an exactly carved design. Then, repeat the cutting process on hundreds of objects to produce identical copies of the same designs.


Plotters are also referred to as large-format printers and wide-format printers. They were the first type of output device that could print high-resolution continuous lines, text, and images with color and generate graphics and full-sized engineering drawings.


  • Plotters can work on very large sheets of paper while maintaining high resolution.
  • They can print on a wide variety of flat materials including plywood, aluminum, sheet steel, cardboard, and plastic.
  • Plotters allow the same pattern to be drawn thousands of times without any image degradation.