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Multifunctional Photocopiers (MFPs)

Photocopiers Buyers' Guide

Yet another advantage of the digital photocopier is that you can often buy one configuration today and upgrade it for an additional fee later. In the optimal case, this is simply a matter of unlocking software already installed in the machine. In other cases, hardware modifications may be required. Here are some features of multifunctional photocopiers to be aware of.

Printing

By adding a networking card and printer functionality to a digital photocopier, you can use your copier as a laser printer. Combine this with the finishing functionality we spoke of earlier, and you can produce multiple copies of two-sided, stapled reports directly from your computer. Costs per page can then drop to as little as 1/5 of that of a laser printer.

Have a word with your IT department or get your reseller to bring the model to your office. This will allow you to ensure that networking protocols are compatible on both sides before you make a purchase.

Faxing

Fax capabilities allows you to send and receive faxes via your copier. The automatic document feeder will allow you to send faxes with multiple pages. The network interface will even let you send that directly from your computer.

Image editing

Multifunctional photocopiers can enhance your documents with background images, date stamps, and page numbering. You can print your documents with a background watermark that reads "confidential," for example. The better digital copiers will even rotate such scanned images in accordance with the orientation of the paper that is being used.

Additional functionality may include the ability to copy several pages onto one single photocopied page in mini "vignette" format.

Stackless Duplexing

As the capability and the sophistication of copiers increases, you will find models that can store each side of a double sided page in memory and then print out both sides of the copy without requiring that the page be circulated incessantly in the machine. If the copier has enough memory to handle large documents, this automates yet another office chore.

Automatic Sizing

Multifunction photocopiers can also think for themselves. If you choose one with an automatic sizing function, the photocopier can identify the dimensions of your original document and then use preset reduction or enlargement settings to correctly fit the image to new size paper.

Automatic shut-off

Digital photocopiers also think of the environment. When not being used for a period of time they will typically shut themselves off to save electricity as well as wear and tear.

Security

Many models of MFP allow you to specify that users must enter a code before making copies. This has two immediate advantages. The first is to make sure only legitimate users can make copies. The second is to be able to break down usage by different departments. This can also work the other way round: when the photocopier receives faxes or network documents, it can then hold them until the authorized viewer comes to the machine and enters the correct code.

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