Copying versus Printing

When, some of us think of copying, we think of placing a sheet of paper face down on the glass of a copier and keying in a quantity on the control panel, pressing start and waiting for the copies drop into a tray on the side of the machine.  Others may imagine even dropping coins into the device at a dime or a quarter a copy!   The process is actually called photocopying and describes the process of transferring images and information to paper with toner, a dry agent that is transferred electrically and adhered to the page in a heated process.   Copiers have evolved in the last 25 years from the descriptions above.

Copy machines with document handlers were designed to accept stacks of paper so multiple page documents could re-circulate again and again for each copy that was made.  Machines got bigger and faster, accepting larger quantities of paper and going longer between paper jams that seemed to be unpreventable.   Copy machines still exist and still make copies, but most produced these days are utilized as printers connected to a network of computers and incorporated with scanning and fax capability.   Color copying too has evolved and color printers are becoming more common although still more expensive to operate than basic printers.

Documents can be shared electronically now over networks and emailed from one user to another.  And when paper copies are needed, the document can be sent to a multi-function printer designed to collate, staple, 3-hole punch and even stitch into booklets.  The document goes straight to the printer from the user’s computer and each “copy” is actually an original “print”!  So the term “Copying” is often misused referring to “Printing”, not to be confused with offset printing where images are transferred in ink from a plate to a blanket to the sheet.   But that is another story for another day.