Difference Between Hard Copy and Electronic 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 like on USB drives and computers etc.

Hard copy vs hard copy

Since we live in the information age, data is essential for us. The data is mainly shared around the world through different transmission methods. Both hard and hard copies are used throughout 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 information, stored in the memory of an electronic device.

A hard copy is time consuming as it is a material that needs to be mailed, 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; while an electronic copy always requires an electronic medium to display information. It can be any type of electronic medium, such as personal computers, cloud disks, adobe reader, etc. Making alterations to a hard copy is difficult,

An electronic copy can be shared across the world wide web with the help of the Internet in a matter of seconds, but a hard copy can take anywhere 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 relies on the use of computers. One page of a handwritten document is a hard copy, and a document written electronically on a computer screen is an electronic copy.

Comparison chart

Hard copy electronic copy
A hard copy is a physical copy of the information. An electronic copy is not physically present.
It is mainly used for official information. It is mainly used 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).
Inconvertible into an electronic copy. Convertible to hard copy.
transmission method
Postal mail, hand to 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?

The term hard copy implies an informative written document that has a physical support. 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. Hard copies are also very expensive to make and difficult to modify. Such copies are in great demand in the field of business, education, and even property contracts because such copies bear official seals, attestations, and signatures, making them highly credible. These copies also require a lot of space to carry around. A hard copy can be converted to an electronic copy by using a scanner. Since it is heavy and physically present on paper,


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

What is an electronic copy?

An electronic copy is a non-printable but printable copy of data (information) that is written in a computer’s word processing program and can only be accessed in computer software. It is not physically present, but stored on a computer memory stick or 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 it and is quite cheap to produce.


pdf files, doc files, xlx files, presentation files, word documents on a computer, scan of hard copy, etc.

Key differences

  1. Hard copies depend on paper and ink and hard copies depend on computers.
  2. Hard copies take up a lot of space and are not easy to carry, while hard copies do not take up real space.
  3. Hard copies are physical paper copies and digital copies are electronic copies written digitally.
  4. Hard copies take a lot of time to travel to different places, while hard copies are easily shipped anywhere without taking more time.
  5. A hard copy is convertible into an electronic copy through a scanner, but an electronic copy is printed on paper with a printer.
  6. Hard copies are expensive to make and hard copies are the least expensive.
  7. A hard copy cannot be changed, while an electronic copy can be changed or manipulated quite easily on a computer screen.
  8. A hard copy cannot be kept for a long time and is often subject to 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 hard copy has weight while a hard copy has no weight.

Final Thought

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 value and unique features. A hard copy is an old way of transmitting information, while an electronic copy is a new way. In the age of the 21st century , however, an electronic copy is more p

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