Paste this code as high in theof the page as possible: Additionally, paste this code immediately after the openingtag:

Photocopier Terminology.What does it all mean?

Photocopier Terminology. What does it all mean?

Photocopier Terminology. What does it all mean?

An insight into what the abbreviations mean and their functions.


Copies per minute / pages per minute (usually based on a A4 page) This is  the copier/printer speed. Some colour machines may also have a different colour speed to the mono copy speed.

ADF – Automatic Document Feeder

An automatic document feeder (ADF) allows you to copy multi-page documents without having to raise and lower the cover for every sheet you copy. Instead a  stack of originals can be placed into the document feeder and, by pressing the start button, the ADF automatically feeds each page through.

Dual Scan Document Feeder

Similar to the automatic document feeder (ADF) but it can also scan both sides of the document in one pass.

RADF – Reverse Automatic Document Feeder

A reverse document feeder (RADF) is used for double-sided or duplex copying. Pages are turned over inside the document feeder to scan the other side. Also known as Recirculating Automatic Document Feeder. Also ARDF – Automatic Reverse Document Feeder. The holding capacity varies depending on model/manufacturer but are normally between 50-275 pages.

LCF – Large Capacity Feeder

An extra large paper cassette that is usually connected to the side the photocopier and holds a massive amount of paper for long uninterrupted print jobs. The Kyocera LCF holds 3000 sheets of A4 paper.

Platen Glass

If the original is liable to jamming in the document feeder due to poor condition , stapling, over/undersized or a book/bound original, then  the platen glass should be used. In this case the original is placed upon the glass for  copying.

Duplex Copying – Double-Sided

Duplex, or double-sided enables printing on both sides of every sheet. The benefits include saving paper, lowering cost, reduced filing and postage costs and also the time involved if you were to produce double-sided copies manually.

ADU – Automatic Duplexing Unit

The ADU’s function is to turn the paper over for  printing to be completed on both sides of the paper. Many modern machines have a ADU already fitted or it can be an optional accessory for smaller more basic machines.

Sorter / Finisher

The digital copiers and printers by Kyocera and Fuji Xerox can sort copied sets electronically without the use of sorter bins. Instead of separate bins, the copies are placed in a single tray at a right angle or offset from each other, allowing you to easily identify where one set ends and another begins. Bin-free sorting also allows you to make unlimited sets at one time (subject to the stackable capability of the internal/external exit/catcher tray) rather than only as many sets as you have sorter bins.

You may also require a finisher if you need your office copier to copy many sets of multi-page documents. Most finishers have  an  automatic stapler, which can save you an immense amount of time. More advanced versions also include three-hole punches, saddle stitch binding, Tri-folding, and more. Finishers are also optional on many machines, and vary in price according to functions.

Sorter is the older term used for the older analogue copiers where the option was solely for sorting or grouping documents by collation (also referred to as a collator).

Finisher Stapling

There are many options available today such as top left, centre edge, saddle-stitch / fold Booklet Folding.  Edge stapling often has binding options for use of 1 or 2 staples.

Sort / Group – the difference

Sorting – Where a stack of originals is placed on the document feeder the resulting copies of each original are stacked together as per number of copies selected.

Grouping – The resulting copies are stacked together in the order of the originals. Number of copies requested results in number of copied stacks.

Offset Sorting

As with the traditional method (where copies are fed into sorter bins) the copies are now offset into a single tray for easy retrieval, either sorted individually or in groups.

Exit Tray

This is the tray at the exit end of a photocopier that collects the printed pages.

Scan Once Print Many

The original is scanned into memory and then reproduced from memory rather than constantly being scanned for each copy of the same document (as with older analogue machines). Where there are multiple originals the whole stack is scanned consecutively in one go (requires a document feeder to do this and is also dependant on the memory of the machine ) and printing starts even before scanning has finished.

Warm up time

This is the time from when you switch the machine on and for the fuser unit to have warmed up sufficiently to enable copying to commence. It can also refer to the time taken from a low power state or ‘energy saving mode’ which will be a shorter period of time.

Image editing

Digital copiers have the ability to allow the user to edit  your documents while duplication is in progress. This can also include automatic page numbering or annotation, adding watermarks such as “confidential” or “copy”, or adding date stamps. They can rotate scanned images to match the orientation of the available paper supply, saving on wasted time and also paper from unanticipated errors. They can also combine images in creative ways, such as copying a two-sided original onto one page for easier filing, or reducing and combining originals to put 2, 4, or 8 pages onto one page.

Positive/Negative (Reverse Print)

This feature reverses the black and white areas on an original, i.e. white text on black background to black text on white background. This can be useful for faxing brochures where the original has lighter text on a darker coloured background- Caution this may use an excessive amount of toner!

Margin Shift

This function moves the image on a copy to the right or left to create a margin suitable for hole-punching and binding.

Dual Page Copy

This reproduces individual copies of two pages placed side by side on the glass platen, such as the pages of a book.

Stack-less duplexing

Digital copiers can support stack-less duplexing by storing each side of the original page in memory, then printing both sides of the copy. This means the number of two-sided copies you make is no longer limited by the capacity of a duplex tray. You will get your duplexed copies much faster, too.

Saddle stitch

A finisher option designed to automatically fold and insert staples into the spine (saddle) of a copied document for booklet creation.

Scan to email

This allows a scan of a document to be emailed directly from the photocopier to a destination email address.

Scan to file

This feature creates an electronic file from a hardcopy original and sends to the desktop or a dedicated server folder for retrieval from the desktop.


Multifunctional Device / Printer. A device that can handle the work of multiple office devices such as Scanner, Photocopier, Printer and Fax Machine.


As MFD / MFP normally a multifunction device capable of scanning, printing, copying and faxing

Super G3

A Fax protocol also known as V34. Initiated in the mid 1990’s to reduce the fax transmission time.


Total cost of ownership.


Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol – Standards of protocol used for communication in networking. eg – IP address, VOIP – Voice Over IP.

Tiff (or tif)

Tagged Image File Format – A high quality lossless image file format for storing images, including photographs and line art. Unlike jpeg the lossless properties of tif files means they have been saved without degradation but of course have a larger file size.


Also jpeg, Joint Photographic Experts Group – Lossless image file whose quality is dependant on how high the adjustable setting is fixed upon saving from original, and how many times saved thereafter. Used mainly for photo types for use on the web where smaller file sizes and quick download speeds are important.


A standard for acquiring images from image scanners and is typically used as an interface between image processing software and a scanner or digital camera.


Universal Serial Bus – The predecessor to the current USB2.0 with less speed at 100MB/second. A serial interface designed to allow peripherals to be connected using a standardised interface socket.


The successive development of USB developed in 2001 with a specification of a higher data transfer rate – up to 480 Mbit/s.


Local Area Network. A computer network covering a small geographical area such as an office building.


Wide Area Network – A Computer network covering a large geographical area such as offices located in different towns. The global internet is a WAN.

Automatic Reduction/Enlargement

Most digital copiers  offer an automatic sizing function on their machines. This enables the copier to read the dimensions of your original document and also adjust itself using pre-set reduction/enlargement settings, even if your copying paper is a different size than your original.

Energy Save & Automatic shut-off

Almost all copiers now have an automatic shut-off option — it saves energy and decreases wear on a copier by turning the machine off if it has not been used for a set period of time. Energy Save is another term for this which refers to its application either automatically or manually via a dedicated button on the control panel. All Energy Star qualified machines should have this feature.

Copy volume / Print Volume

Copy and print volume usually refers to an approximate monthly amount of copies. Used by the manufacturer to convey a machine’s sturdiness  and by the end user as a current or expected amount.

Paper supply

Each paper tray, cassette, pedestal, or paper feed unit is a separate paper source. The number of cassette’s are  important if you want to be able to copy onto different paper such as A4, letterheads, A3, coloured paper or transparencies and also for reduction and enlargement purposes, without reloading the machine. Paper sources typically hold a minimum of 250 sheets, and the largest-capacity units can hold up to 3,000 sheets.

Most office copiers have a minimum of one fixed-size and a an adjustable By-Pass/Multi-Purpose tray.

Bypass Tray/Multi-Purpose Tray

A bypass/Multi-purpose  tray allows the user to feed paper directly into the copier without using one of the built-in paper cassettes. Bypass trays are usually only needed when using non-standard paper such as heavy gsm, glossy, transparencies and labels. The paper path is more of a straight path with the fusing section which helps prevent curling and jamming that may otherwise occur with a standard paper tray. On the entry level machines use of this tray for say A3 paper can save  you money as you will not need to purchase extra cassettes.

Coated Paper

In most cases glossy or photo paper, coated paper reacts slightly differently when toner is applied which can give a crisper image and a more professional look. The weight is also generally thicker.


A general reference to items  such as toner and drum units (where applicable). refers to the various types of printing “ink” or developer powder that photocopiers apply to the paper when printing.


Dots per inch – a reference to scan and print resolution. A higher DPI scan results in a better quality and more finely detailed copy of the original. This will also increase the size of the file.

Fax Board

A fax board is a necessary option  to enable a digital photocopier to also perform as a fully functioning fax machine.


Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black – These are the 3 primary toner colours, + Black, used in the  print process that a photocopier/printer  uses to create colours.


The process of transmitting data to the printer. More RAM memory and a dedicated Printer Controller or Fiery will handle larger file sizes and also transmit data at a faster spooling rate.


A paper feeding photocopier desk or cabinet with extra paper cassettes. An ordinary cabinet is for raising a copier to operational height and is generally used for storage of paper and toner cartridges.


Printer Command Language, a Page description language  developed by HP as a printer protocol and has become a industry standard.


Portable Document Format. A file format created by Adobe Systems, opened with Adobe Reader, created with Adobe Acrobat and ‘printed’ with Adobe Distiller. PDF documents also have selectable text.

Postscript – Page Description Language

PostScript is a programming language optimised for printing graphics and text. Introduced by Adobe in 1985, it was originated to provide a convenient language in which to describe images in a device independent manner. A worldwide printing and imaging standard.


Software that once installed allows one or multiple computer applications to interact with a hardware device such as a printer.  The computer driver is the ‘middleman’ between the operating system and component or device.

Photocopier – How it Works, Description and History

A photocopier (or copier) is a machine that makes paper copies of documents and also other images. Most current photocopiers use a technology called xerography, a dry process using heat. (Copiers can also use other output technologies such as ink jet, but xerography is standard for office copying.)

How a photocopier makes a copy (using xerography)

  • Charging: The surface of a drum is electrostatically charged by either a high voltage wire (corona) or charge roller. The drum also has a coating of a photo-conductive material. A photoconductor is a semiconductor that becomes conductive when exposed to light.
  • Exposure: A bright lamp illuminates the original document, and the white areas of the original document reflect the light onto the surface of the  drum. The areas of the drum that are exposed to light (those areas that correspond to white areas of the original document) become conductive and therefore discharge to ground. The area of the drum not exposed to light remain negatively charged. The result is a latent electrical image on the surface of the drum. (In digital machines, the original document is scanned and a laser is employed to discharge the drum)
  • Developing: The toner is positively charged. Toner is applied to the drum to develop the image, it is attracted and sticks to the areas that are negatively charged. Just as paper sticks to a toy balloon with a static charge.
  • Transfer: The  toner image on the surface of the drum is then transferred onto a piece of paper with a higher negative charge than the drum.
  • Fusing: The toner is melted and then bonded to the paper by heat and also pressure rollers.
  • Cleaning: The drum is wiped clean with a rubber blade and also completely discharged by light. Waste toner is then  stored in a Waste Toner Container/Bottle and is disposed of when full.

Photocopier Terminology. What does it all mean? 

Coastal Business Equipment – we can save you the earth.
Call us on 1300 271 223 should you require any further information Photocopier Terminology.
Copier broken again?
Photocopier Terminology. What does it all mean?