A small printer for printing characters on a printing medium especially adapted for use in a portable electronic calculator. The printer includes a frame having a carriage slidably mounted thereon for lateral displacement across the printing medium. An ink jet printing mechanism is carried on the carriage for selectively printing characters at predetermined positions along lines of the printing medium. A crank mechanism couples a motor to the carriage so that the printing mechanism can be translated across the printing medium. A printing position control circuit determines when the printing mechanism is in each predetermined printing position and selectively supplies a printing signal to the printing mechanism so that the printing mechanism will print a character at the selected predetermined positions.