In this digital age, information can be presented as either a soft copy or a hard copy. Hard copies are tangible physical documents while soft copies are intangible documents. Information presented as a soft copy is usually stored on computer storage devices and can be viewed from digital device screens. Hard copy information is presented on different types of papers or other physical media that are tangible.
The difference between soft and hard copy is how and the mode information is presented to the user. Hard copy information is presented on physical media that are tangible while soft media are not tangible.
Soft copy information
Soft is also known as an electronic copy. In this information age, we need to reduce paper usage which preserves our environment. We achieve this by retaining our documents, images, and other digital material in soft copy or in virtual form. Soft copies are virtual digital materials that are accessed using digital devices.
Soft copy has reduced the use of paper to have a paperless environment. Imagine all the photos that you have on your phone if you had to print them. They would require a big album but by having them in soft they only take up space on the storage media.
Hard copy material
Hard copy is information that is printed on tangible material like paper. Soft copy from computers is converted to hardcopy by printing using different types of printing technologies. A hard copy is not only limited to being on paper but can be on any other physical material such as walls, wood, on items like when branding, among many other materials.
Hard copies are old ways of presenting information and still, some users preferred them to soft copies. Reading the information on paper doesn’t affect the user’s eyes compared to reading from a digital device that has artificial lighting.
Difference between soft copy and hard copy documents.
|SOFT COPY||HARD COPY|
|Soft copies exist on the storage media such as hard disk or cloud storage among others.||Information is stored and presented on paper or other physical material.|
|It is treated as a temporary file since a user can decide to delete it at any time.||It is treated as a permanent record of a document.|
|To read the record in soft you need a computing device such as a computer, smartphone, etc||To read the information you only need access to the material information is printed such as a book.|
|Soft copy occupies a small space on a storage device which is virtual space.||Depending on where the material is printed it takes up a big space in the physical world. A book or printout needs a physical space like a shelf or cabinets to store it.|
|It is easy to carry since you need to move it on the disk. It can also be accessed anywhere if stored on the cloud storage.||You need to have the printout physically to be able to move it. It cannot be accessed from anywhere but only where it is physically stored.|
|It is simple to share. It can be shared through email, social media platforms, or other digital communication channels. In soft you share and be left with your copy.||Sharing of hard copy means either making another copy of the material or giving out the one you have. When you share a hard copy you are not left with a copy unless you have more than one.|
|It is simple to replicate and get multiple copies at no extra cost.||Replication is not simple and it is expensive since you need to use more paper.|
|They are virtual intangible information. They are weightless.||They are physical tangible information. They have the weight of the paper printed on them.|
|To convert to hard copy you need a printer to generate printout.||To convert to soft copy you use a document scanner. You can also take a picture of the document to make it a digital image.|
|Soft copies can last for a long time until the user decides to delete them. They don’t have tears and wear.||Hard copies are prone to tear and wear. They can last for a long period depending on how they are stored and taken care of.|
|It is simple to edit and make changes to the file.||Editing hard copies is hard. It will need to be reprinted again.|
|Examples of soft copies, word documents, images, youtube videos, website content, etc||Examples of hard copies, books, printouts, newspapers, wall drawings, physical items branding, etc.|