RIP stands for raster image processing [verb] or raster image processor [noun]. RIP takes a digital file from your graphics software and turns it into a raster image file for your printer. According to www.about.com “RIP takes the digital information about fonts and graphics that describes the appearance of your file and translates it into an image composed of individual dots that the imaging device (such as a desktop or wide-format printer) can output”. In many cases RIP is not needed because your printer driver does the communication necessary. However RIP offers additional features and functions not found in standard printer drivers particularly if you are doing fine art prints or high volume printing. Some of these features include print queuing, batch processing, color separations, halftone screening and checks for missing fonts or graphics. RIP comes in firmware, hardware or software versions. Software RIP is a third party product that works with many kinds of devices. Depending on your application RIP can produce higher quality prints while increasing productivity and reducing costs.