A soft copy is a digital version of a document, image, or other data. It can be displayed and read on a computer, tablet, or mobile device screen. Soft copies can be opened and edited by software programs.
Soft copies are often compared to hard copies that are printed on paper. Unlike a hard copy, which is permanent, a soft copy is digital and can be edited at any time. It can also be deleted by accident, which makes having a safe backup (as well as a printed hard copy) a good idea in many cases.
Soft copies of a document can be easily transmitted by email, over a network or the Internet, or on removable media like flash drives and external hard drives. Many businesses transmit a soft copy of a document to employees and other organizations whenever possible, saving both the time and expense of printing enough copies for everyone and sending them by mail or courier. There are some instances where a hard copy is required, particularly with legal and tax documents, but many people find it far more convenient to use a soft copy of a document whenever possible.