Not all machines serve the same purpose, but sometimes there is crossover in their functionalities. Don’t let this confuse you, however. Here’s what you need to know in order to distinguish between the following devices:


This device enables you to create copies of a document or flyer. This machine traditionally comes in handy when you have a physical copy of the text or image, such as from a book or magazine, as opposed to a digital copy of the text or image, such as from an online database article.

The majority of copiers operate with laser-based mechanisms and ink. Large standing photocopiers often also include added functions. These add-on functions could be several trays for various paper sizes and post-copy options such as for stapling, binding, and three-hole punching the page.


This device enables you to create a physical, paper copy of a digital document, image, or other text page. Depending on the type of printer, you could connect to the printer via a USB cord or through a wireless connection. 

Note that if you are deciding between printing and photocopying, in most cases, print quality will be superior. But, keep in mind that printing is often more expensive. Your decision to photocopy or print will likely depend on the purpose that the new page will serve.

Multi-Function Printers (MFPs)

A device in which the primary function is to print documents from their digital form into a physical copy, but that also contains an array of other functions is often referred to as a multi-function printer (MFPs). Such devices might include additional options for scanning, copying, or faxing, in addition to their primary function of printing.

Multi-Function Devices (MFDs)

As you may guess, multi-function devices can accomplish many functions. These functions could include any combination of printing, copying, scanning, and faxing. Keep in mind that some MFDs complete one task at a time, rather than running multiple operations simultaneously.

You may be wondering how are MFDs different from MFPs? While the two types of devices both include a single device with multiple functions, MFDs are typically much larger than MFPs. MFDs specialize as an all-in-one solution and take up a good amount of space to accomplish this diversity of tasks. Whereas the MFPs accomplish a variety of functions, but specialize in printing and are built as more compact devices.

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