Difference Wiki

Photocopy vs. Xerox: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 18, 2024
Photocopy is a generic term for a duplicate made using a photocopier, while Xerox, originally a brand name, is often used synonymously for photocopying.

Key Differences

"Photocopy" is the process of making a paper copy of a document or image using a photocopier, a widely used term in various contexts. "Xerox," initially a brand name of a company that manufactures photocopiers, has become synonymous with photocopying, especially in some regions, although it is a specific brand.
When someone makes a photocopy, they are using a machine to create a duplicate of a document or image. The term "Xerox" is often used interchangeably with photocopy, especially in North America, due to the brand's early dominance in the photocopy market.
Photocopying is a general term and can be performed on machines made by various manufacturers. In contrast, Xerox refers specifically to photocopies made using Xerox brand machines, although it is often colloquially used to describe any photocopying action, regardless of the machine brand.
The verb "to photocopy" is universally understood to mean making a duplicate of a document. "To Xerox," while commonly understood in many places, is technically a brand-specific term that has become generalized in everyday language.
Both terms, photocopy and Xerox, have become part of common language, but "photocopy" remains the more universally applicable term, while "Xerox" as a verb or noun can sometimes be more regionally specific and tied to the brand's presence and history in the market.

Comparison Chart


The process of making a duplicate copy using a copier.
Often used synonymously for photocopying, originally a brand.

Brand Association

Generic term, no brand association.
Associated with the Xerox Corporation.


Universal in context.
Can be regionally more popular, especially in North America.

Context in Language

Used as a verb and noun.
Used as a verb and noun, but originally a proper noun.


Refers to the action irrespective of the machine brand.
Implies the use of Xerox brand machines, though generalized.

Photocopy and Xerox Definitions


The act or result of duplicating information on paper.
Can you photocopy this article for me?


To copy a document using a Xerox brand machine or any photocopier.
I'll Xerox the contract for our records.


A duplicate copy made from an original document.
She handed out photocopies of the agenda.


A term often used synonymously with photocopying, regardless of brand.
Can you Xerox this document for me?


A process of reproducing text or images.
He went to photocopy his ID card.


Copying documents, commonly referred to by the brand name.
Please Xerox 50 copies of this booklet.


Creating a paper copy using a photocopier.
Please photocopy each of these pages.


The act of making duplicate copies on paper, typically associated with a specific brand.
She Xeroxed the flyer for distribution.


To make a paper copy of a document using a copying machine.
I need to photocopy these reports for the meeting.


A colloquial term for photocopying, derived from the Xerox brand.
He's in the office Xeroxing his report.


To make a photographic reproduction of (printed or graphic material), especially by xerography.


A photocopy.
Hand me that xerox, would you?


A photographic or xerographic reproduction.


A photocopier.
The xerox broke down yesterday.


A copy made using a photocopier.


To make a paper copy or copies by means of a photocopier.
I xeroxed the report for all the people at the meeting.


To make a copy using a photocopier.


A copy made by the xerox process


A photographic copy of written or printed or graphic work


Duplicator that copies graphic matter by the action of light on an electrically charged photoconductive insulating surface in which the latent image is developed with a resinous powder


Reproduce by xerography


Reproduce by xerography


Are Xerox copies legally valid?

Yes, Xerox copies are often accepted as valid, depending on context.

Is photocopying only black and white?

Photocopies can be both black and white or color.

Can any document be photocopied?

Most documents can be, barring legal restrictions like currency.

Does Xerox only refer to copies made by Xerox machines?

Technically, yes, but it’s often used generically for any photocopying.

How long does photocopying take?

It's usually a quick process, depending on the number of copies.

Can I Xerox a book?

For personal use, usually yes, but not for distribution or sale.

Is photocopying expensive?

The cost varies but is generally affordable for small quantities.

Is photocopy quality as good as the original?

It can be close, but usually not identical to the original.

Can I Xerox a photograph?

Yes, but the quality may not match a photographic print.

Can I photocopy in color?

Yes, if the photocopier has color capabilities.

Are Xerox copies admissible in court?

Often they are, but original documents are preferred.

Is Xeroxing environmentally friendly?

It can have environmental impacts; eco-friendly practices are advised.

Can photocopies be recycled?

Yes, most photocopy paper can be recycled.

Do Xerox machines use ink or toner?

Xerox machines typically use toner.

How does a photocopier work?

It uses light, a lens, and toner to replicate images on paper.

Is Xerox a global brand?

Yes, Xerox is recognized worldwide.

Do photocopies degrade over time?

They can, especially if exposed to light and heat.

Can I Xerox onto different paper sizes?

Yes, most Xerox machines accommodate multiple paper sizes.

Are there alternatives to photocopying?

Digital scanning and printing are common alternatives.

Is it safe to Xerox sensitive documents?

Generally, yes, but ensure you use a secure and trustworthy service.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons