Uses of Photocopy Machines

Your office copier has many uses.
Your office copier has many uses. (Image: Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images)

A photocopier is a basic office tool. It has the utilitarian application of making copies efficiently. While a photocopier adds to office efficiency, it also has other uses. Apply a little ingenuity and creativity, and you can expand your usage of the photocopier from the simple purpose of making copies. You will find benefits that are financial, humorous and artistic.

Saving Money

The most basic use of a photocopier is to duplicate finished documents. This can save you money. Making a single printout on your computer printer, then making copies on a photocopier, can save you the cost of the more expensive inkjet ink or laser printer toner. It can be much less expensive to make multiple copies of a document on a photocopier rather than on a printer.

Laying Out Documents

In the age of desktop publishing, laying out a page by cutting and pasting paper documents may seem obsolete. If for some reason you don't have access to desktop publishing software, laying out a document by hand may be your only option. For example, if you are laying out a newsletter, you first print out the individual newsletter articles with the text in single narrow columns. You will cut the articles out, then lay them out by hand on a sheet of paper, using tape or some other adhesive to hold them in place. You do this for each page. After including the newsletter header and any images and supplemental text, you photocopy the whole page, creating your master copy from which you can make further copies.

Copying Important Documents

A well-known use of a photocopier is to make copies of important documents. Often an office worker makes copies of documents to mail or distribute. Or, the copy is just put on file while the original remains with its owner. There are certain security issues involved with making duplicates of important documents. If you are making a copy in a workplace where security and confidentiality are important, make sure you are only copying documents that you are authorized to copy.

Special Effects

Interesting optical effects are possible on a photocopier. Many copiers give the option to zoom in or out and reverse black and white. Make one copy after another, zooming in again and again. You will soon arrive at a very low-fidelity close-up of an image or text that may have become unidentifiable. If you reverse black and white for each copy as you progressively zoom in, you will have a series of progressively sized images of alternating black and white values. Cut out the text or image in each, and then superimpose them on a single piece of paper, starting with the largest at the bottom, and adding the next smaller on top. Photocopy the completed composition, and you will have created an interesting optical effect.

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