A soft copy is any information or data in the computer memory that has not been printed out.

To put it another way, a soft copy is information that is saved as a file on a computer and can only be read on the computer.

It is an output copy of a document stored in memory and can be seen on a screen.

Among the better-known examples of soft copy are pdf files, document files and presentation files.

A hard copy, on the other hand, is any information or output that is printed on paper, cardboard or any suitable medium.

It is the physical printout of the information a person can hold.

Hard copies include a CV and Job advertisement.

Difference between Soft-copy and Hard-copy

1.  A soft copy is a memory-based output that can be viewed on a screen or other medium, whereas a hard copy is a printed output.

2. Soft copy is an editable form of output whereas hard copy is a non-editable form of output.

To edit hard copy, one has to convert it to soft copy using a scanner.

To put it another way, a soft copy can be easily modified, whereas a hard copy cannot. 

3. A hard copy is tangible because it can be easily touched, whereas a soft copy is intangible as it can only be viewed on a computer screen.

4. While a soft copy is a digital or virtual version of a document, a hard copy is a physical version of a document.

5. Soft copies can be transmitted electronically due to their digital nature.

That is, soft copies can be shared using email, WhatsApp and other electronic mediums.

On the other hand, a hard copy can be physically transmitted by mail or directly from one person to another.

6. A soft copy requires electronic media for displaying information whereas a hard copy does not require electronic media for the display of information.

Rather, it can be viewed physically without any electronic device.

7. A hard copy is permanent because it stores information in the form of images, text, and other physical objects.

A soft copy, on the other hand, is only temporary because it contains information stored on a computer that can be lost if the computer crashes.

8. Unlike a hard copy, which consumed physical space, a soft copy consumed computer storage.

9. Hard copies are generated using ink and paper, whereas soft copies are edited and generated using the software.

10. While soft copies are typically used to store personal information, hard copies are typically used to store official documents

11. Soft copies are portable because they can be stored on USB drives, which are usually small devices that can be put in the pocket 

Hard copies, on the other hand, are not quite portable because it is not easy to transport large quantities of hefty prints.

12. Hard copy can be converted to soft copy using a scanner, whereas soft copy can be converted to hard copy using a printer.

13. Hard copies are prone to wear and tear, whereas soft copies are not.

14. A hard copy has some weight because it can be bulky at times, whereas a soft copy does not weigh because it is stored in computer storage.

15. To reproduce a hard copy, one has to use a photocopy machine.

This is in contrast to soft copy, which can be quickly reproduced using certain software or shared through social media platforms.

Tabular Comparisons of Soft copy and Hard copy

Features Soft copyHardcopy
Reproduced throughCopying and pasting Photocopy machine
Type of outputMemory based outputPrinted output
Transmitted through Social mediaMail box
Required electronic media to displayYesNo
Vulnerable to wear and tearNoYes
StorageIt is stored in computer system It is stored in shelves
PortabilityQuite portableLess portable
WeightLightHeavy especially if many
Constraints Faced limitation due to computer storage spaceFaced limitation due to physical space

Hard copy output devices vs soft copy output devices

At its basic level, a hard copy output device is any device that produces a hard copy while a soft copy output device is any device that produces a soft copy.

More specifically, a hard copy output device is an output device that produces a physical copy of the information displayed on the computer screen.

Hard copy devices produce output on paper or other permanent media that could be read by humans.

Among the most popular output devices are printers, plotters and computer-output microfilm(COM).

Printers, plotters, and computer-output microfilm (COM) are among the most popular hard copy output devices.

Soft copy output devices include monitors, audio response units and multimedia projectors that display a digital version of the information.

They are devices that display output digitally. 

That is, they produce output that is not printed on paper but can be viewed on the computer screen.

Soft copy output devices allow a user to view/hear information/sound that can be modified or corrected as per the user's needs.

Ok,  that will be all for now. Want to know more about computer science? I recommend that you read the following posts:


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