Copy Machine for Beginners: How To Use a Photocopier

Copy Machine Step-by-Step Guide: How to Use a Photocopier

You see this robust copy machine in a corner inside your office. Then you think that it should be easy to use. After all, copy machines require basic knowledge on devices, right? But as you go near you are faced with a lot of buttons. You don't even know if it's turned on. Consequently, you just think you press Copy and that should do it. To your surprise, nothing happens. We are not here to judge. It is estimated that 5 out of 10 people in an office setting has never used a photocopy machine before. In fact, many employees think that this piece of impressive technology is complicated. As a result, you will come across a colleague cluelessly stuck in front of a copy machine from time to time. We will list a couple of basic and advanced features that you can use with your copier. Also, we will discuss a couple of do's and don'ts. We believe that operating a photocopy machine doesn't have to be overwhelming. Let's take a look into some steps that you can follow.

Basic Use of a Copy Machine

  • Turn your copier on. First, you have to make sure that the photocopying machine is turned on. We know how that sounds. However, sometimes we forget. It's a good thing to always remind yourself of the simplest of things. Moving forward, you have to know if the machine is plugged in. Check the nearby outlet. Make sure that your copier's cord is plugged in. Next, you have to know where the power button is. Most copiers have it on top but some models have it on the side.
    • TIP: If by any chance that the machine is still not responding after making sure of the abovementioned things, perhaps it is in Sleep Mode. In this case, you can just press the Copy button to see if it wakes up. Some models need a little bit of warm-up time, too.
  • Check for paper. You have to make sure that the copier has paper in it. Your paper tray is located at the bottom in most models. Make sure you are familiar in identifying this one. If there is enough paper, you are good to go. If there is none, you have to fill it in with the correct paper size enough for your printing.
  • Put the document on the copier. Lift the feeder. Before putting your document on the glass surface, always make sure that the surface is clean. Check for any dirt, marks, or other items on the surface and on the edges. Next, put your document facing down. Check and read the guides on proper positioning of your document.
    • TIP: Gently close the lid. 

      Be careful not to break the glass by smashing it close.
  • Review your settings. Make sure you have the correct number of copiers, the color preference, and paper size. Different trays have different paper size. To note, the A4 size 8.5 inches is the most preferred one. In case you need to print envelopes or any pieces of papers with varied paper sizes then you have to readjust on the settings menu button. Advanced photocopiers have individual trays known as bypass trays located on the sides of the copier. The by-pass paper tray has unique features, which you can learn more about on the user’s manual.
  • Start copying. Finally, after those easy-to-follow steps you can start copying. Press the Copy button and wait for your documents to be printed. In some models, the copy button is labeled as Start. If you are copying more than one page, place your stack of pages in the Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) on top of the machine (usually top of the page, turned up and facing left). Finally, make sure you stand by to catch any errors.
  • Wrapping up. Get your copies and check for any errors. Don't forget to remove the original from the glass surface. Finally, always leave the copy machine exactly as you found it. You have to make sure the next person will not have any problems using it.

More Guidelines on Copy Machine Use

  1. Make sure that the copy machine is placed in a well-ventilated space in your office. Avoid any exposure to dust.
  2. Always read the manual before using the copier.
  3. Do not move the device as much as possible.
  4. Make sure to contact a qualified technician in case the copier breaks down.
  5. Clean the glass surface with a clean piece of clothing. If your glass is dirty, it will show in your copies.
  6. Don't mess up with the settings button. This will result to others having a hard time using the machine.

Do's and Don'ts


  • Always use the correct paper. A copy machine needs to be fed with the correct size and thickness of paper. Otherwise, it will jam. Not all copiers can handle thicker paper. Always read the copier's specifications to make sure.
  • Always use a surge protector. You should use a surge protector for your copier. The most common way boards in a copier machine get damaged is through a voltage surge. Having one surge protector per copier increases your level of protection against voltage surges.
  • Always clean the glass. As explained above, dirt and marks will always show on your copiers unless the surface is cleaned often.


  • Don't place your copier in a tight space. Well, copy machines can heat up. They need to be in a ventilated area. Otherwise the air that leaves the equipment will be same warm air that gets inside. As a result, the device will be warmer until it overheats. What happens next? Your copy machine breaks down.
  • Don't place the copier outside. This one relates to the previous item on the list. Don't do this.
  • Don't copy thick objects. Copy machines are designed to copy flat objects. If your human curiosity compels you to place your head on the glass surface, please think again. Sometimes it's funny but your copy machine is not laughing.
  • Don't do anything else that the copier is not designed to do. Does it print on metal? How about wood? No, it does not.

Copy Machine Basic Features

  • ENLARGEMENTS. You can review the display panel and look for the setting to enlarge your copy. This is usually done by percentage or from a paper size setting. For example, you want to enlarge your copy from paper to tabloid size.
  • SCANNING. Many copiers have an ADF above the glass. This lets users copy or scan many pages at once at high speed.
  • DUPLEXING. This feature allows pages to be printed on both sides of a page. This is particularly useful for high volume reports so the pages can be cut in half.
  • COLLATING. This feature allows you to make copies of multiple pages then sort them automatically.
  • FAXING. Copy machines, especially the multifunction ones, have this feature so that your staff doesn't have to go to multiple devices for different tasks. Faxing usually requires a phone line, fax hardware and software to send and receive faxes.
  • BINDING. This includes stapling, hole punching, and folding. Most of these tasks can be achieved with copier add-ons. This is particularly useful in producing booklets. You can staple either in the corner of a document or on one side. Moreover, you can perform a 2-hole or 3-hole punch. Also you can fold along one side for a booklet or do the tri-fold for a brochure.

More Advanced Features

  • Copy part of a page. Many will be surprised that a copier can do this. This feature lets you select certain areas of a page that you want photocopied. The copy machine will scan the page and then allow you to determine which area you want.
  • Save to PDF or MS Word File. Most of the newer models have this impressive feature. You can scan your documents and then convert or save them as a PDF file. Moreover, you can scan the document and let the copier read all the text characters. Afterwards you can save it as a Microsoft Word file.
  • Send to email/network folder. You can email your scanned documents directly to as many recipients as you want. Moreover, you can save the scanned documents directly into a directory or network folder for easy access.
  • Document protection. New models have embedded security features to protect confidential and sensitive documents.
  • Mobile and Cloud Printing/Scanning. This means that you can print and scan from virtually any device, wherever you are. Mobile printing is supported by both Android and iOS. Manufacturers have applications that support this feature. Installing and using them is a piece of cake.
  • Remote monitoring. A copier that is network capable can allow service technicians to upgrade software, perform diagnostics and remote monitor the overall health of your device. Also, this feature can alert technicians when a service maintenance call is needed.

Sign a lease with Flat Rate Copiers now.

At Flat Rate Copiers, we will be your partner from copier installation to repair and maintenance. Your lease with us means we will walk you through the ins and outs of using your copy machine. Give us a call now at 877-781-5112.