What is a Hard Copy?
A hard copy is any information that is a printed version of a digital document, which is also known as a paper copy. A hard copy can be generated with the help of a typewriter and a printer, and it may be in any form of a photograph, text file, drawing, and more. For instance, you can send an actual physical paper containing the information or a hard copy rather than e-mailing the documents. Hard copies are mostly needed at the time you need to sign a paper or document and the type of files that can be read without a computer. The below picture is an example of hard copies.
Also, some may use PDFs as hard copies of a word processor file, which is read-only documents. A document is referred to as a soft copy when it is created on a computer and saved as a file on the computer’s hard drive. In contrast, a file can be easily modified on a computer and can be opened, closed, as well as deleted. Therefore, sometimes a hard copy may be used to get a backup of the documents.
A hard copy cannot be easily edited or manipulated; so, the print documents are considered as a hard copy by IT professionals and others. For example, a Microsoft Word file can be easily opened, edited by users because it is a soft copy. In modern times, hard copies are used by individuals and groups for several purposes.
In modern times, hard copies are used by individuals and groups for several purposes. In some cases, a hard copy may offer a disadvantage; for example, if you keep hard copies as a backup of your documents, they may be lost or destroyed, which may be harmful to you. But in other some cases, it offers benefits too; for example, you can easily distribute hard copies to others, carry them while going somewhere.
Also, between digital and print media, it is also related to the comprehensive struggle. In today’s business world and in modern societies, this dichotomy is very prevalent as digital media emerges. For instance, there are rising numerous questions about printed media and the future of printed books as the rise of digital e-books.
How is a hard copy put back into a computer?
An OCR or optical scanner is used to generate a soft copy of a hard copy (Digital version). A document that is reproduced by OCR can be edited in a program like a word processor.
Why need to make a hard copy?
Although there are not several reasons to create a hard copy, it is needed as some people do not like to read content on soft copy and most people are migrating to digital and paperless solutions. However, there are some uses where hard copies are required, which are as follows:
- One of the main uses of the hard copy is that when you need to sign a paper, they are most useful in this case.
- For people who do not have access to a computer or a digital device, hard copies are needed in this condition.
- In schools, they are needed in order to give a report or any subject notes.
- Also, for taxes or legal filing that needs a hard copy, a hard copy is more useful.
- Furthermore, a hard copy is needed when there is required proof of purchase, receipts, or completed service.
Difference between a hard copy and a soft copy?
A hard copy is any information that is a printed version of a digital document, like textbook, printed document, or tax form. A soft copy is a digital form of any document that is not printed on paper. The main difference between hard copies and soft copies is their method of sharing information. A hard copy can be touched as it is made on paper, whereas a soft copy cannot be touched as it is stored on the storage media, such as USB drives, hard disk, etc.
A soft copy can be shared in a very few of time only with the click of a button in the world, whereas a hard copy takes much time to share as it is a material that requires to be delivered with the help of a mail post service. A soft copy precedes a soft copy; e.g., a soft copy is that when you type some data on the computer screen. Then, you print all written data on the paper that is called a hard copy. You always need an electronic medium to read a soft copy, but a hard copy is different; you can read it any time anywhere without the need to access any electronic medium. An electronic medium can be any type of, such as cloud drives, adobe reader, personal computer, and more.
Additionally, you will be unable to edit information on the hard copy, whereas soft copy allows you to modify any type of wording with the help of computer programs. Soft copies do not need a scanner or printer, whereas hard copies need a printer or scanner to print information.
Some key points of difference between a hard copy and a soft copy are given in the below comparison chart:
|HARD COPY||SOFT COPY|
|A hard copy is a physical document file.||A Soft copy is a file that is a virtual copy of the document.|
|The hard copy is a physical copy, which is mainly used for official information.||It is a non-printed document file, which is mainly used for private objectives.|
|The cost of a hard copy to make is expensive and treated as a permanent copy.||The cost of a soft copy to make is cheap and treated as a temporary copy.|
|It is typed and stored on the computer, and it needs an electronic medium. Electronic medium or interface can be cloud drives, adobe reader, personal computer, etc.||It is typed and stored on the computer, and it needs an electronic medium. Electronic medium or interface can be cloud drives, adobe reader, personal computer, etc.|
|A hard copy cannot be converted into a soft copy; also, it is not much easy to carry as like soft copy.||A soft copy can be converted into a hard copy; while comparing with the hard copy, it can be carried easily.|
|The methods of transmission for hard copy are hand to hand and mail post service. Also, it occupies physical space.||The methods of transmission for soft copy are internet, digital, or electronic. And, it is stored on the storage medium (memory); hence, it does not occupy physical space.|
|As compared to soft copy, hard copies are relatively hard to store as well as expensive to generate.||As compared to hard copies, soft copies are easy to store as well as not expensive to generate.|
|Hard copies contain much weight as they are printed on paper.||Soft copies have no weight as they are stored on the memories.|
|Hard copies are completely safe from cyber-attack.||The chance of cyber-attack is much high with soft copies.|
|The books, notes, newspapers, official letters, magazines are all examples of hard copies.||The pdf files, e-books, scanned copy, presentation files, word documents are all examples of soft copy.|