Printing, Copying and Scannig

The difference between printing, copying, and scanning a document

Multifunctional devices of today allow the printing, copying, and scanning of documents. That is the reason why most of us never know their difference. However, before printing, scanning, or copying documents, one must have individual machines for each process. 

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Let us tackle the differences between printing, copying, and scanning, how they differ in process, materials used, and types.

  • Process

Among the three, copying is the easiest to perform. Copying a document is the process of mass reproduction of printed materials through dry printing. Dry printing or known as Xerography, happens through light sources. The light drum in the photocopier machine is coated with an element called Selenium. This element is positively charged in nature. Once the document is passed through light, the ink that negatively charges will attract the drum made of Selenium and produce the same printed text on the other bond. 

This method of copying worked over the years. It has started since the year of 1938 after the invention of American physicist Chester Carlson. 

On the other hand, printing and scanning need a computer to perform. The first printer was released in the 2000s; however, scanning processes were produced later in the 20th century. 

The printing process is any means of reproducing texts, images to any materials. This is the difference with copying. Copying can be done with papers only, unlike printing which can be done through various materials like fabric, ceramics, stickers, and others. 

Scanning, on the other hand, has no hard output. The document or image will be transferred from a physical copy to a soft copy. Scanning is used for transferring hard-bound documents in e-mails or electronic messages. With the use of the internet, scanning greatly helps with transferring files in a speed of light manner. Scanned documents are also available for editing. This is done through the help of some downloadable applications, which makes it friendly to users. 

  • Materials used

Printing and scanning can never work without computers. On the other hand, photocopier machines can stand alone. Photocopier machines are more durable than printers and scanners. They can work faster in ppm and are hard-wearing, which works even outdoors. 

Printing and scanning use computers. The computer serves its purpose in printing and scanning by giving data or commands to the machine. The only difference between printing and scanning is that scanning uses the memory of the computer. This is for the purpose that the scanned document will be stocked in the computer for the transfer. 

  • Types

With the advancement of technology, copying, printing, and scanning have developed into different types. Copying machines offer three types as of today. These are mechanical, hydraulic, and electric systems. The types were named after the designs of copier machines used. Either of the three copier machines is all hard-wearing. They work faster than printing machines. 

On the other hand, the printing process offers seven types for users. These are lithography, flexography, digital printing, large format, screen printing, 3D and LED UV printing. 3D and LED UV were the newest types in the town. However, some still find convenience with other types like digital printing and large format since they can work faster even with lots of loads. 

Scanning has its types according to performance. These are network, port, and vulnerability scanning. The types differ on the tools of applications used during the process. The network is good for many connections when transferring the file. Port scanning is suitable for a more secure transfer of scanned documents. And the vulnerability scanning uses an automated system for checking threats in transferring the scanned file. 


The invention of multifunctional copier devices solved the issues between copying, printing, and scanning. Besides the price solution, it also limits the space occupied. Other benefits of multifunctional devices are that they offer different types of copying, printing, and scanning today. With that, it does not limit machine owners to use their devices for one purpose. Multifunctional machines offer a variety of services to their owners in a cheaper manner.