A scanner is an optical device that captures images, objects, and documents into a digital format. The image is read as thousands of individual dots, or pixels. It can convert a picture into digital bits of information which are then reassembled by the computer with the help of scanning software. The file of the image can then be enlarged or reduced, stored in a database, or transferred into a word processing or spreadsheet program.


Types of Scanner

Scanners create a digital reproduction of an image or document and come in a variety of shapes and sizes designed to perform different types of tasks. There are three types of office scanners usually seen in the
market and the functions they serve are as follows:


The flatbed scanner consists of its own base with a flat piece of glass and cover just as is found on most copiers. The scanning component of flatbeds runs over the length of the image in order to gather data. Flatbeds are useful when a user needs to scan more than single page documents.

Pages from a book, for example, can easily be scanned without having to copy each page individually first.

Scanning objects is also done by flatbeds. By placing a white sheet of paper over a bouquet of flowers a scanner can reproduce what appears to be a stock photo onscreen.

Flatbed shave large footprint and hence take up a lot of desk thus if space is a concern one may go for an alternative.

Sheet Fed

Sheetfed scanners are only used if one wants to scan for anything other than sheets of paper. The scanning component of a sheetfed is stationary while the document being scanned passes over it’s’eyes’similar to a fax machine. It is so thin just a couple of inches deep, such that it can easily fit
between keyboards and monitor.

Sheetfeds usually work best in conjunction with an automatic document feeder for large projects. Pictures and other documents which are smaller than a full page can also be scanned using a sheetfed scanner. They have been known to bend pictures and reproduce less than quality images.


There is a need for accurate reproduce of very small images. For such application the resolution required is very sharp and slide types of scanner create a totally different scanner market. Slides are usually inserted into a tray, much like a CD tray on ones computer, and scanned internally. Most slide scanners can only scan slides, though some newer models can also handle negative strips.

Scanner Uses

A scanner can do far more than simply scan a photograph, and many of its uses could go a long way to helping a small business. Below are indicated some of the applications for the scanner in a business environment.


Graphic images are an important part of many businesses specially in marketing and sales functions. Scanners, like digital cameras, enable users to convert photographs, slides, and three-dimensional objects into files that can be pasted into a brochure, inserted into a presentation or posted on the Internet. Using accompanying software, these images can be edited, cropped, or manipulated to fit space and size requirements.


Scanners automatically convert the data into digital files using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software; this would save time and money which one would pay to someone to manually enter the reams of data into the computer. In conjunction with the software, a scanner reads each page and transfers the text to any number of programs.


One observes that there are numerous papers filed in three-ring binders or different kinds of manual filing in the offices for records. The process of the manual paper flow can be avoided by using scanners of Digital type. Such scanners can help to create electronic filing cabinets for everything from invoices to expense reports. Forms can be reproduced online, and searchable databases can provide relevant information in seconds.

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