Whether you’re on a first-time hunt or you are looking to upgrade your existing equipment, copy machine features are a major consideration. Here are 11 of the top features every organization needs to consider if they are in the market for a copy machine.
Auto duplexing is the industry term for the ability to print on both sides of the paper all in one project. If the printer doesn’t print on both sides in one project it means the person has to copy the front page and print on one side. Then they need to reload the paper so they can copy and print to the second side.
It’s time consuming and often frustrating because many people load the paper incorrectly leading to the front and back of the project being printed on top of each other on the same side of the paper.
Auto duplexing cuts back on time as well as wasted paper and ink from mistakes by utilizing the auto duplexing feature. Make it the default setting and more people in the office will take advantage of this feature, saving the company just a little bit more time and money.
Secure Print Release
In an office setting, many people may send documents to the multifunction printer from their office desktop or remote office. Then, they’ll head to the office copy room to pick up their printed item. Secure print release is an important feature that allows the employee to send the print project from their computer to the printer, but with the confidence that the printer won’t print it until the employee releases the print in-person, at the copier.
Without secure print release, it’s common to see missing documents because people accidentally pick up other people’s prints when they pick up their own. Or the employee may need to print something with sensitive information on it that the entire office doesn’t need to see.
For example, a manager printing a performance review doesn’t need an audience for their document other than the intended employee. Another example, a sales representative may need to print a contact list with their prospect’s personal information. Sales reps need to be able to honestly confirm that all potential and existing customers have the benefit of privacy.
Secure print release is an important feature that allows the employee to send the print project from their computer to the printer, but with the confidence that the printer won’t print it until the employee releases the print in-person, at the copier.
The option to secure print release means the person can swipe their badge, enter their code, scan a QR code, or offer some other form of authentication that will release their printing project. Once released, the project prints while they are physically in the copy room to pick up their project. It’s a great copy machine feature that builds good security habits for every office.
Scan to Email & Scan to the File
Scan to email is one of those copy machine features that quickly becomes invaluable to every office. Not every print job needs to be printed immediately or held for print (secure print release). Instead, many projects are already printed and need to be scanned into a digital format. In this case, it’s crucial that the multifunction printer has the option to scan to email or a file.
By scanning to email, the person can scan their document and it will automatically be sent to them as an email attachment. From there the employee may forward the email or save the document to their preferred location.
If scan to file is selected, the person has the option to save the scanned document to a company server folder for easy remote access or so that multiple people have access.
Both, scan to email and to a file can save time. The old method is to remember to bring a memory drive to plug into the printer. While this is still valuable, it’s not realistic as the only option because it then requires the person to return to their computer to save or email the file. With this feature, staff save time because they can scan and save or email in one step.
Optical Character Recognition
Multifunction printers and copy machines now have the ability to recognize printed characters and convert them into digital text. It’s a new-ish feature on the market and is called optical character recognition.
With this capability, any scanned document becomes a searchable, editable file. This is especially useful when employees may need the ability to search or edit an image document with text, such as a pdf.
This feature saves an immense amount of time as the person can simply scan a document rather than engage in a back-and-forth email exchange to get the non-PDF file, if one exists. It also saves a bit of money for smaller businesses that may not have Adobe Pro - the software a company needs to buy in order to edit PDFs.
Collate & Staple
The tasks of collate and staple are tasks often left to an office secretary or intern, but it’s not a valuable use of their time. Your copy machine can do this as part of the print project, saving valuable time and money.
Collate is the option to organize a multi-page project so that every page is in order - rather than printing all the first pages, followed by the second pages, and so on. Instead, the copier will print pages one through four, for example, followed by the next set of pages one through four.
And stapling, of course, means the copy machine can finish the project by stapling pages one through four together, making each packet a completed project that is handout or mail ready when it completes. With these basic copy machine features, there is no need to waste intern and other staff time on menial tasks.
Print from Mobile
Mobile devices are not only allowed in the workplace these days, they are often a critical part of how an employee gets through their day productively. Many people will check email during lunch and breaks, send documents while traveling, or use a mobile device in place of a computer while attending conferences or using cafes to briefly connect with work tasks and people while on the road.
The necessity of mobile devices mean people also have the need to print to the office copy machine while they are conducting off-site business. For example, they may need to make sure their co-workers have a document. Or they may want to be efficient and print from their mobile device while on the road so that the project is waiting for them when they arrive on-site.
Being able to print from mobile is a modern time saver that companies just can’t ignore - especially if they have people who work both on and off-site throughout the day. Although, let’s face it - there are those who may work on-site and still choose to print from mobile while on their way from the breakroom to the copy machine, then to their desk as a way to save just a few more minutes. Why wouldn’t a company want to facilitate that kind of efficiency?
Finishing the Document
Earlier we mentioned the collating and stapling features. They both fall under the category of finishing features with which many copy machines come equipped. Additional finishing options can be valuable, depending on the need of the company or team.
- For example, letting the copy machine punch holes in the document so it can be immediately added to a binder saves valuable time.
- Folding a document so it will easily fit in a presentation folder, for example, can also be useful.
- Cutting and trimming a document to fit a custom paper size can be useful - and can save on money on the needless purchase of more reams of various paper sizes.
- Lamination is another huge time saver - even if someone prints and laminates a few projects a year, when the copy machine can laminate, it saves time, and eliminates the waste of a poor lamination project completed by hand.
- Lastly, being able to finish a booklet with spiral or other bindings is invaluable and puts that final finishing touch on any professional document.
Finishing copy machine features are something smaller organizations may put off, but if it saves only a few hours or yearly work by hand - it’s worth it to include this feature in your copy machine package.
A newer and often underutilized feature is selective reproduction. This means the user has the ability to select portions of the document to print. While it may not seem useful immediately, this feature is invaluable for those interested in maintaining a secure office.
The selection feature allows the user to remove all sensitive information, for example, electing to print or share only the most relevant pieces of the document.
This is also a great feature when the user wants to print a form with names and dates removed, allowing people to fill in the document in writing. This can be a huge time saver when the last form is filled out but the office manager needs more forms with the editable space blank. Rather than recreating the entire document, they can simply print the content selectively.
Copy Part of the Page
Similar to the selective reproduction feature, this allows users to copy part of the page without printing. That means they may only need to copy the specs of an item listed on the page, for example, without copying the entire page that also may include a note from a manager or sales rep.
The ability to sort documents is one of the most common and often forgotten features of a quality copy machine. When a user places a book or presentation, or any project with multiple pages on the copy machine, the project should copy and print the pages in the order they are placed.
However, when one is in a hurry and realizes some of the pages are out of order, it can be stressful and time consuming to have to go through the entire document trying to make sure all the pages are in order.
This happens more often than one may think. Everyone has dropped a project at one time or another, only to pick up the document out of order. Or we may receive a document out of order without realizing the provider didn’t prepare the pages properly.
It saves time and stress when the office equipment can sort the document for you. Any good copy machine will have the ability to check the page numbers and print the document in order, even if you place it in the machine out of order.
Changing the Size of Documents
There are several reasons someone may need to change the size of a document, but these are two common reasons.
- Someone wants to scale down a document to fit a smaller size, such as condensing a legal size document into a standard 8.5x11 inch page. This is most common when people don’t want to invest in legal paper or don’t want to take the time to switch to legal paper and back again.
- Someone wants to scale a document up. For example, when a document or image is too small to see properly, especially if someone has vision impairment, they may want to scale something up to 8.5x11 inch or larger legal paper.
Either way, this copy machine feature will surprise you when it is suddenly needed and becomes a value add that you’re glad you made sure you included in your feature package.
Not often listed as individual features, the ability for a copy machine to download and utilize apps can revolutionize your team’s ability to customize the functions and features of the copier, transforming it into a workhorse.
Some copy machines come with the built-in ability to beef up security, for example, with the addition of an app. One can also improve cloud functions giving teams the ability to share documents more securely. Or, users may want to work with Airtable, Basecamp, Click-up, Dropbox, Evernote, and other third party platforms with the ability to connect via copy machine apps.
The best part is, you only download what you need, making this custom experience something that saves hard drive space while giving users the ability to work according to their productivity standards and customs. It’s hard to top that kind of peak performance enhancement.
Although multifunction printers already offer quite a bit with copying, scanning, printing, and faxing - the ability to utilize copy machine features to make your teams and office as efficient and productive as possible while saving time and money is a no-brainer.
We’ve summarized our favorite top eleven copy machine features, but feel free to reach out to the professionals at All Copy Products when you’re ready to find out more. Our people can connect you with the best possible copy machine for your specific needs with just a phone call. Get in touch now.