Difference Between Hard Copy and Soft Copy

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

The difference Between Hard Copy and Soft Copy is that a hard copy can be touched with bare hands whereas soft copies are not available to be touched. Hard copies and soft copies are used to collect and exchange data. These are in the form of digital documents. The output information is saved in these.

Here, we will first briefly explore a complete list explaining the difference between hard copy and soft copy, and then we will see the soft copy and hard copy. We have elaborated on the differences in various parameters such as nature, information storage, etc.

Difference Between Hard Copy and Soft Copy

Hard copies or permanent copies differ from soft copies in various ways. There exist various differences in their data storing capabilities, cost, size, weight, etc which can be seen in the table provided below:

Key Differences Between Hard Copy and Soft Copy

Hard Copy Soft Copy
They are physically available and can be touched by hands Not physically available and can not be touched with hands.
They are transferred physically. They are transferred digitally.
They require printing costs. Does not require any printing cost.
They can be converted into soft copies by scanning devices. They can be converted into hard copies by printing devices.
Known as permanent copies. Known as temporary copies.
Any correction on the information saved in hard copy is not feasible. Corrections can be done easily.
Carries a physical weight. Occupies a digital space known as memory.

What is a Hard Copy?

A hard copy is a digital document. It is used to print the output. The hard copy is known as the permanent copy. They can be physically touched after printing. They are known as physical copies.

Difference between Hard Copy and Soft Copy PDF

These can be anything such as a photograph, printed cards, etc which we see or use in our daily lives. Hard copies are shared via a physical mode of transfer and can not be shared online.

Examples of Hard Copy

computer printouts, printed documents, continuous printed tapes, newspapers, books, teleprinter pages, notebooks, radio photo prints, etc.

What is a Soft Copy?

A soft copy is also a digital document. It is used to save information inside a computer or drive. Soft copies are used to save the output in memory storage devices, hard discs, USB drives, etc. Soft copies are known as temporary information-saving devices. They can be shared via email, messaging applications, etc.

Examples of Soft Copies

PDF files, Word documents, XLS files, Presentation files, Scanned copies, etc.

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