Difference between hard copy and soft copy

Main difference

                               A hard copy is a digital document file, printed on paper and an electronic copy is an electronic document that is not printed on paper but is present in digital form such as USB drives and computers etc. hard copy and soft copy

Hard copy vs. hard copy hard copy and soft copy

hard copy and soft copy
hard copy and soft copy

                                                   Since we live in the information age, data is fundamental to us. Data is mainly shared around the world through different transmission methods. Both hard copies and hard copies are used around the world to distribute information globally. But the main difference lies in their method of sharing information. A hard copy is a physical entity that can be touched since it is made of paper, while an electronic copy is untouchable and a virtual copy of the information, stored in the memory of an electronic device. hard copy and soft copy

A hard copy is time consuming as it is a mailing material, while an electronic copy allows information to be exchanged anywhere in the world quickly with the click of a button. An electronic copy precedes an electronic copy; for example, you write some data on a computer screen that is an electronic copy. Then you print it all out and then you get a tangible form of electronic paper copy, which is a hard copy. A hard copy is available to read anytime, anywhere; whereas an electronic copy always requires an electronic medium to display information. It can be any type of electronic medium, such as personal computers, cloud drives, adobe reader, etc. Making alterations in a printed copy is difficult,

An electronic copy can be shared over the global web with the help of the Internet in a matter of seconds, but a hard copy can take from a few hours to a few days or months to transfer through the postal service. A hard copy requires a scanner or printer to print information, while a hard copy depends on the use of computers. A page of a handwritten document is a hard copy and a document written electronically on a computer screen is an electronic copy.

Comparative chart

Hard copy Electronic copy
A hard copy is a physical copy of the information printed on paper. An electronic copy is not physically present.
It is mainly used for official information. It is used mainly for private purposes.
Making a hard copy is very expensive. An electronic copy is cheap to make.
To form
Printed on paper. Written and stored on a computer’s hard drive (memory).
Invertible in an electronic copy. Convertible to hard copy.
Transmission method
Postal mail, hand in hand. Electronic, digital, internet.
It can be read with the naked eye, without the need for any device. An electronic device such as a computer, software on a cell phone, a stable Internet connection, etc.
Difficult to store. Easy to store
It has a lot of weight. It has no weight.

What is a hard copy?

hard copy and soft copy
hard copy and soft copy

                                          The term hard copy implies an informative written document that has a physical medium. Requires paper and ink to write information records. It is an ancient method of preserving information in physical form. This method of transmitting information does not require an Internet connection or software to read it. Printed copies are also very expensive to make and difficult to modify. Such copies are in high demand in the field of business, education, and even in property contracts because such copies bear official stamps, attestations, and signatures, making them highly credible. These copies also require a lot of space to carry. A hard copy can be converted into an electronic copy by using a scanner. As it is heavy and physically present on paper.


Official documents such as job advertisements, official letters with stamps, accredited titles, property documents, business contracts, paperbacks of books, magazines, etc.

What is an soft copy?

                                                 An soft copy is a non-printed but printable copy of data (information) that is written into a computer’s word processing program and can only be accessed on computer software. It is not physically present, but stored in a computer memory or a USB stick. Such a copy can be transferred as a digital file from one personal computer to another via the Internet, a data cable, a USB drive, or a floppy disk or CD. This copy does not require a large physical storage area to store and is quite inexpensive to produce.

Examples Pdf files, doc files, xlx files, presentation files, Word documents on a computer, scanned copy of the hard copy, etc.

Key differences

  1. Printed copies depend on paper and ink and printed copies depend on computers.
  2. Printed copies take up a lot of space and are not easy to transport, while printed copies do not take up real space.
  3. Hard copies are physical paper copies and digital copies are digitally written electronic copies.
  4. Hard copies are time consuming to travel to different locations, while hard copies are easily shipped anywhere without taking any more time.
  5. A hard copy is convertible to electronic copy form through a scanner, but an electronic copy is printed on paper with a printer.
  6. Printed copies are expensive to make and printed copies are the least expensive.
  7. A hard copy cannot be modified, while an electronic copy can be modified or manipulated quite easily on a computer screen.
  8. A hard copy cannot be kept for long and often suffers from wear and tear, while a hard copy can be kept for a long time.
  9. A hard copy cannot be easily copied and an electronic copy can be easily copied in a few seconds.
  10. A print copy has weight while a print copy has no weight.


                           There is no similarity between them apart from being transmitters of information (data). Although they are convertible to each other, they still have their own unique value and features. A hard copy is an old way of transmitting information, while an electronic copy is a new way. In the age of the 21 st century, however, an electronic copy is more frequent. But hard copies have their own importance when it comes to written information.

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