Common Copier Features

Before buying a photocopier, it is important that you have some knowledge about its common features. It is a good idea to have an understanding of these terms so you can choose the best one that suits your company’s requirements.

Here are the most common terms/features in a copier.


Pages per minute. This tells you how fast your machine can make copies or print documents. This is one of the most important aspects to look at when buying a machine especially if you do bulk printing daily.

In general, black and white photocopiers are faster than coloured ones. If you choose a high resolution printer, the speed becomes slower because the quality of the images is prioritized.


Automatic Document Feeder. This allows you to copy several pages without lifting the copier lid.

Envelope Feeder

This is pretty obvious. Some multipurpose machines allow for envelope printing.

Paper Tray Size

You need a tray that can support your daily output. If you produce a high volume of prints per day, your tray should be able to support that. Some machines have several tray sizes for different paper sizes.

Additional Paper Trays

If you need several types of papers (legal, custom sizes, coloured, etc.) it might be a good idea to get additional trays so that you don’t have to switch and load new papers every time they are needed. This feature depends on the photocopier model. Ask your supplier if your machine can be upgraded with additional paper trays should there be a need to do so.

Manual Bypass Tray

This is used for quick, one-time feeding of special papers (sizes and types).


This means that your machine can print on both sides – front and back. Choose automatic duplex over manual duplex so you don’t have to manually flip and reload the paper.

Colour or Black and White

Black and white copiers are cheaper than coloured ones. If you need coloured printing, be sure that your model can copy, print and scan in colour.

It is a good idea to get a colour machine if you regularly print coloured materials such as reports, presentations and marketing paraphernalia. Doing these things in-house will save you a lot of money in the long run. You will also be able to recoup your investment.


Some multipurpose machines have the ability to send and receive fax. With the emergence of email, fax is slowly becoming obsolete but there are still some companies that require fax services.


Some models have a built in scanner. You can scan to a network folder or scan to email capabilities.


Network Interface Card. This allows you to connect your copier to your network and act as a network printer. Anyone connected to the network will be able to use the unit unless you restrict access.

Some multifunction printers have a tight security feature when used as a network printer. You can hold your printing jobs until you are ready to collect them. This keeps confidential documents away from prying eyes. Some MFPs will also allow you to delete their printing memory for further security.


If you are working with graphics, you need a higher resolution model. They are more expensive but if you need to use it every day, you will get your ROI in no time.


To shrink or enlarge scanned items. The percentage varies from model to model.

Exposure Control

This is used to darken or lighten documents.

Memory and Hard Drive Size

This is used for storing jobs that are waiting to be copied or printed if the paper tray is empty. You can also save files that you always need to print for easier and faster access.


This reduces manual labour. The machine automatically staples the copies. You can also get a 2 or 3-hole punch option, folding and trimming options. Some machines will automatically sort the papers in order. These are great add-ons to have.

Universal Driver Support

This ensures that all machine features will work with minimal installation and configuration effort.

Address Book

You can use this to maintain a list of users which you can select when you scan to email. You don’t have to type their full email addresses each time you need to send them a file.

Accounting Codes

This is used for billing purposes. You can also use this to track the users of your copier for reporting purposes. You can maintain the codes yourself or have it updated by your supplier’s Help Desk. You can have multiple Admin accounts. Now accounting for your different departments is no longer a daunting task.

Postscript Support

This is for Macintosh OS X printing support.

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