Skip to content

Copy/Print/Scan

One of my clients recently purchased a machine that turned out not to be what he wanted. He asked the salesperson for a “printer that just prints” because he didn’t want “all that other stuff.”

When I arrived to set up this new machine, my client asked me to show him how to make copies.

“This printer doesn’t make copies,” I explained, “It just prints.”

“But I asked for a machine that just prints copies. I already have a machine that prints from my computer.”

What he wanted was a stand-alone copier for large copy jobs. He confused “copying”and “printing.” I come across this quite often.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

Copy
Paper to paper copy: start with a paper document and create a paper copy of that document.

Print
Electronic file to paper copy: start with an electronic document (in your computer, tablet, or phone) and create a paper copy of that document.

Scan
Paper to electronic file: start with a paper document and create an electronic copy of that document in your computer.

Most of us have the compact “all in one” machines that copy, print, and scan, and we don’t really care what the specific action is called, as long as we get what we want. But it is important to know the correct terminology, especially if you are going to go shopping.