The photocopier machine, often referred to by the brand name “Xerox,” is a standard piece of office equipment in today’s workplace. Knowing the uses and procedures of this machine is essential and will benefit the entire office.


The first copier machine was patented in 1938 by Chester Carlson; however; it did not become a feasible piece of office equipment until 1959, when it was marketed by the Xerox Co. Although this version was able to output only seven copies per minute, it was still preferable to other slower duplicating methods. A photocopier is now considered to be one of the primary pieces of office equipment and is used often in day-to-day operations in businesses, churches and schools.


After ensuring that the photocopier is powered up, place the paper to be copied on the glass plate, face down; you will normally have to open the lid to locate the glass plate. Line up the paper with the rulerlike guides to ensure that the entire page will be copied. You must close the lid to the copier to ensure correct copying; leaving the door open creates an uneven coloration of the paper and often creates dark spots along the edges of the paper.

For a single copy, simply press the “copy” button; for several copies select the quantity to be copied and then press “copy.” Copies are normally dispensed below the machine in a side tray.

For quick copies of multiple pages, load the papers into the document feeder. The photocopier will automatically feed each paper inside the machine and copy each document, replacing the original documents up above where they were loaded. Using the document feeder negates having to open the photocopier and place the document on the glass plate.


Most photocopy machines can take letter (8 1/2 by 11 inches) or legal (8 1/2 by 14 inches) sized paper. Depending on the machine, there may be two paper trays with both paper sizes available for use at any time; other machines have a single tray, where a different sized paper can be loaded.

Most photocopier machines also have the capability of adjusting the size of the object to be copied. Using the “enlargement” or “reduction” setting, adjust the proportions of the object to your desired size. You may need to reposition the object on the copier in order to see the entire image when copied.


Modern photocopiers have more than just copying abilities. Now termed multifunction devices, many copiers can scan, print, sort, staple, print in color, and send or receive faxes.

Many photocopiers also have a security device option, which prevents unauthorized users and allows for tracking the use of machine by office department. This feature is normally used in larger companies, where tracking printing costs is important.

Office Etiquette

There are several important things to keep in mind when using the office photocopier: 1. If you need to make several copies, check to see whether any co-workers may be waiting to make only one copy. 2. After making multiple copies of the same document, return the copy count to one, in order to conserve paper. 3. Reload paper and let the appropriate person know when the paper supply is running low. 4. Never leave the photocopier in an inoperable state without letting others know.