Nowadays, many printers implement printer steganography, a technique used to mark the print with tiny "yellow dots".

I want to know if any printers used to print photographs also employ this technique? Wouldn't these yellow dots affect the photo (at least in a small way)?


1 Answer 1


No, Inkjet printers do not use steganography, but a good deal of Laser do, but not all.

As en example, I had a run of brochures done a few months ago by a print company that use a Xerox DocuColour 800 laser based machine, and you could clearly make out the yellow dots in the right light. (also my office Dell 1320c, which is a Xerox system does it)

I then had a run done by another company who use a HP Indigo press (ink based) system, which did not have visible steganography.

it very, very minimally effects the image but not much at all.

The reason is for document traceability, it is assumed that inkjet printers will not be used to print off large reams of documentation in an office environment.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, photo grade paper is haptically so different from money paper .... \$\endgroup\$ Oct 9, 2018 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rackandboneman It's money "plastic" with holography, spot colour, and Braille embossing here in Canada. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stan
    Oct 9, 2018 at 22:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was always under the impression that this "feature" was compelled by a law. It seems doubtful that a law would differentiate between the different technologies used. Anecdotally my yellow ink jet cartridges are always draining faster than they should. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 9, 2018 at 23:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ "The EFF stated in 2015 that "the documents that we previously received through FOIA[6] suggested that all major manufacturers of color laser printers entered a secret agreement with governments .." (from Wikipedia article). So focus seems to be on laser printers. Might also have to do with the speed and economy of using these printers. Who would spend $6 in printer ink to counterfeit a $5 bill? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 10, 2018 at 9:51

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