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What Is A Copy Machine?

April 11th, 2024 | 8 min. read

By Marissa Olson

Alright, we get it! You’re probably thinking this question sounds a little silly. Of course, you know what a copy machine is! You probably even use it almost every day at the office, right?

We can all agree that one of the most important and highly-used pieces of equipment most businesses have is the copy machine. It might not seem like the most appealing or interesting topic to talk about but think about how much you and your business depend on it every single day.

From assembling timely presentations to printing hundreds of colored promotional advertisements, your copy machine is a hot commodity in your office, and you wouldn’t want to do without it.

With that being said, just because you know what a copy machine is does not mean you know everything it can do. Do you know how impactful it can be for the productivity of your business?

You might have heard the term, “multi-function printers” (MFPs) when someone is referring to a copy machine, copier, or even photocopier. These terms all refer to the same device as they are amazing productivity enhancers for any business, big or small.



In addition to being able to print, scan, copy, and fax, copy machines and multi-function printers can also:

  • Scan to email: Scanning to email is a great way to send documents electronically so that you don’t have to have stacks of paper on your desk. It also makes it easy to send your documents to others in your company.
  • Scan to your online cloud: This feature is extremely important as many businesses now back up most (if not all) of their work to their online cloud. It makes for easy access to company files along with easy document sharing.
  • Allow follow-me printing: Follow-me printing allows users to print to a shared print queue, by roaming and releasing their print job from any enabled output device. This ensures printing is confidential to the user and reduces printed waste.
  • Enlargements: This is a great tool if the content you are printing is small or detailed. This can usually be done in percentage increments or from a paper size setting (e., letter to tabloid size).
  • Duplexing: Duplexing allows your content to be printed on both sides of a page. This is especially useful for lengthy printing by helping cut page usage in half.
  • Collating: Collating is a great tool to use when you don’t have time to manually assemble your pages. Collating allows you to make copies of multiple pages and then automatically sort them.
  • Binding: Stapling, hole punching, and folding really come in handy when you are needing to bind a number of pages in order to make a book or report. You have the options to staple either in the corner of a document or along one side, perform 2-hole or 3-hole punches, and fold along one side for a booklet or a tri-fold brochure.
  • Copying part of a page: Have you ever wanted to copy just a part of a page, not the entire thing? This feature allows for you to select certain areas of a page that you want copied. The copier usually will scan the page and then allow you to select certain areas of the original copied.
  • Security and encryption: Everything today seems to be focused around security, especially at your business. Today’s copiers have the ability to secure the machine and the copying and even encrypt documents that are scanned and stored on your network.
  • Mobile printing: It seems we are constantly on our phones so mobile printing probably does us all some good! Mobile printing software is available in the app store for both iOS and Android devices.
  • Remote monitoring: A copier that is network capable can allow service technicians to upgrade software, perform diagnostics and remote monitor the overall health of your device and can alert technicians when a service maintenance call is needed.
  • Automatic toner ordering: How convenient does this sound? Many copier machines today (when networked) can alert your staff or even your suppliers when the toner is low and automatically order replacement toner on predefined ordering levels, so you never run out of toner supply.

Because we’re so passionate about helping your business become the most successful it can be, we’ve decided to share some useful information about what copy machines can do as well as the many choices you have when choosing one.

Stick around, you may be surprised and might just learn something new!  


Options, Options, Options: Copy Machine Variety   

Just admit it… Size Matters!

When making any type of purchase in life (big or small), you should check out as many options as you can get your hands on. The more options you present yourself with, the better product you’ll get that best suits your specific needs. And when it comes to copy machines, MFPs, and photocopiers, your options really are endless!

Copy machines range in size from fitting on the corner of your desk to devices as big as the car you drive. If your office is on the smaller side, or if you’ve simply run out of room, you have many copy machine options to browse through that won’t bombard your working space.

If your business is in growth mode, and just recently expanded to larger office space, there’s a copy machine out there for you too. It solely depends on how much space you have and where the placement of the copy machine will be. A well placed copier can play an important role when maintaining an efficient running office. Want to learn more? Take a look at this article: What is Managed Print Services? To learn more about how to optimize your business through printing, scanning, and workflow.

To spend, or to save?

The price of a copy machine is not always the easiest pill to swallow, and we hear ya! The first thing that comes to most buyer’s minds when they’re in the market for a new copy machine is, “How much is this thing going to cost me?”

Hopefully to your surprise, you don’t have to break the bank in order to get a well-manufactured and reliable copy machine.

Don’t believe us? Take a look at a blog we recently published, How Much Does a Copier Cost? A Quick Overview. This blog takes you in depth by breaking down different costs for different copy machines and printers to help you understand which is best for your business.   


What have you been printing and what do you plan to print?

Your printing, copying and scanning needs are specific and probably very different from any other company. A creative design company will benefit from a certain copy machine much differently than a law firm would. The former needs to print more color documents and the latter needs to scan more and print more text.

It all comes back to the preferences and individualized needs of a business. Because of this, you first have to understand what your company is printing now and what they plan to print in the future.

Personalized printing preferences are what you’re creating in order to create or pursue business. This could include annual customer product literature embedded with colored graphics and charts, or a  daily specials for restaurant menus your company has designed that you use to show your guests or even a color brochure. Want to learn how to print a color brochure on your copy machine or copier? Here’s a great article on how: How to Print Trifold Brochures.

You can also check the print count on your current copy machine to see how much your business is actually printing. Didn’t know it had one? It’s like the odometer on your car. It’s there to measure how far you travel each month, in copies. Read our article on, Buying Refurbished Office Printers: 4 Steps for Success.

It’s first up to you though, to analyze your company’s printing. Then, you’ll be much more qualified to explore the copy machine that’s right for you.

Short Cut: We’ll Narrow Down Your Options

To help you better understand copy machines, we put together a short list of different copy machine options you can choose from that will work best for your company.

  1. Black & White and Color Printers ($300 - $2,500)
    These sizes are generally for individual or small workgroup use. In this price range, you can find a B&W printer with speeds of 62 ppm, and color printers up to 50 ppm.
  2. Black & White MFP / Copier Desktop ($500 - $2,100)
    This option is best for your business if you are looking for one small device to copy, Scan, print, and fax. This is also a good choice for low-volume use.
  3. Color Desktop MFP / Copier ($800 - $2,600)
    Also a small device with color speeds approaching 32 ppm. This option also has Wireless printing capabilities that range in price.
  4. Business Class MFP / Copier ($2,000 - $11,000)
    These copy machines are what you will find in 90% of all businesses. They carry the largest load of copy and print volume. 

AIS is committed to providing our customers and readers with helpful information in order for them to make the best decision when purchasing a copy machine. It’s an important purchase for your business to make and we’re here to guide you through it.
 Let’s start a discussion about how office technology can give you peace of mind and help you win more business.


Marissa Olson

A true southerner from Atlanta, Georgia, Marissa has always had a strong passion for writing and storytelling. She moved out west in 2018 where she became an expert on all things business technology-related as the Content Producer at AIS. Coupled with her knowledge of SEO best practices, she's been integral in catapulting AIS to the digital forefront of the industry. In her free time, she enjoys sipping wine and hanging out with her rescue-dog, WIllow. Basically, she loves wine and dogs, but not whiny dogs.