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Flatbed Scanner or Overhead Scanner
A flatbed scanner, with its big glass platen, is ideal for scanning pictures and other fragile originals, books, and three-dimensional objects. (In this context, we want to refer to the process of converting three-dimensional things into two-dimensional photographs when we say "scanning objects. 3D scanners, which convert physical items into digital files that can be viewed on a computer or printed using a 3D printer, are an altogether new animal.
Overhead scanners, which resemble an antique overhead projector with an illuminated scanning head that stares down on a flat surface, are useful for scanning books, magazines, and other materials with a thickness more than a sheet of paper or a driver's license. These devices function similarly to cameras, capturing photos of objects and sending them to the appropriate application, such as one that performs optical character recognition (OCR; translating viewed images into editable text) or one that straightens the curve of a book's spine.
Original materials that are easily damaged, such as photographs and postage stamps, can be fed through a sheet feeder. If you only need to scan originals of this type occasionally, you could probably get by with a sheetfed scanner that has a plastic carrier. It's important to remember, though, that even brand-new, unscratched plastic carriers might cause a slight degradation in scan quality. When possible, it's ideal to have a direct connection to the glass.
Flatbed picture scanners in particular have a long shelf life before being replaced. If you see a "oldie but goodie," in our list of the Best Scanners, it just means that no similarly priced device that we've tested has yet exceeded it.
Check the scanner's page capacity, whether it's a flatbed or automatic feed model. Automatic feed scanners may hold as many as 100 pages at once, allowing you to scan big or multiple documents without stopping to manually feed paper into the machine.
The number of pages or photos a scanner can scan per minute should be listed on its online store description or on its box in a physical store. Your ability to digitize images and documents at this speed can be estimated.
Color vs B&W
A black-and-white scanner is sufficient for home or office use if you mostly scan text documents and rarely need to see graphs. However, a color scanner is superior for capturing a true-to-life facsimile if you need to scan photographs or documents with charts and tables.
Duplex scanning is scanning both sides of a paper. A duplexing scanner, automatic document feeder (ADF), or scanner with a manual-duplex option in the driver is what you need if you anticipate scanning a lot of papers printed on both sides.
The fastest and most efficient duplexing scanners include two scan elements, allowing them to scan both sides of a sheet simultaneously. In comparison to a standard ADF in a scanner, this design will save time, but it will likely come at a higher price. Regular duplexing ADFs only scan one side, then automatically flip the paper over before scanning the back.
On the other hand, if your scanner's driver allows manual duplexing, you'll be able to scan one side of a stack and then be prompted to flip and re-feed the stack so that both sides can be scanned. If you don't scan two-sided papers regularly or if money is short, the most cost-effective option is to manually duplex in the driver.
Scanning is usually a simple process that doesn't require a particularly high resolution if you have one available. In most cases, a scan with a resolution of only 200 pixels per inch (ppi) will enough, even for important documents like tax returns. In most cases, a resolution of 300 pixels per inch (ppi) is all that's needed while scanning, and it's unusual to come across a scanner with a resolution of 600 ppi or less these days. The resolution of 600ppi is sufficient for most photo uses, unless you need to enlarge a specific area of the photo or print the photo larger than the original.
It's important to have a greater resolution for certain types of originals, though. A scanner that claims an optical resolution of at least 4,800ppi is necessary for scanning 35mm slides or negatives, or something small and finely detailed like a postage stamp.
After that, there's the problem of how big of a scan you can actually take. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it's easy to forget to select a scanner that can accommodate the size of the originals you need to scan. If you occasionally need to scan legal-size papers, for instance, but your flatbed's platen is only letter size, you'll have a problem. If your flatbed scanner has an automatic document feeder (ADF), chances are it can scan legal-size papers. Bigger flatbed scanners are also available, albeit they'll need more room on your work surface.
You can easily carry some scanners in a backpack or laptop messenger bag. The Brother DS-720D is ideal for people who are always on the go because it just measures 11.5 inches in length, weighs less than 1 pound, and doesn't need to be plugged into a wall outlet. Smaller items can be scanned with scanners that have a scanning depth of 3.5 inches.
By using optical character recognition (OCR), software may convert images to searchable digital text that can be stored and retrieved with a keyword search. Avoiding the time-consuming task of updating an image library's file names each by hand is greatly facilitated by this method.
What is the best way to scan documents?
That is document dependent. A flatbed scanner is adequate if you only need to scan a few of pages. Scanners with a loading tray and an automatic page feeder are ideal for speedily digitizing text that is printed on oversized paper or has more than five pages. If you need to quickly digitize a lot of paper, investing in a scanner that can read both sides of a page in a single pass is a good idea.
Why should I scan my documents?
You can never be too safe or secure, which is why modern and old workplaces both benefit from redundancy. You may avoid making any mistakes in your books by keeping digital copies of all of your financial documents, from invoices and receipts to client contracts. It is simple to create a searchable database out of digitized documents, allowing for rapid retrieval of past monthly sales reports, client details, or contracts, for example. Additionally, digital copies cannot be carelessly destroyed by shredding or recycling.
What should I look for when buying a document scanner?
Depending on your intended use, you should prioritize different features when shopping for a document scanner. Photos require the greatest resolution (6400 DPI) and a scanner that can handle a wide range of picture sizes. Moderate document scanning tasks call for an identification and organization-capable scanner. Office scanning requires features like an automatic feeder, versatility in media types scanned, and lightning-fast scan speeds. The most efficient scanners can scan hundreds of pages per minute, but they also cost more.
How do I choose a scanner?
Determine your scanning requirements and available funds before making a decision on a document scanner. Most of the advanced features found in the priciest scanners probably won't be of any use to you. Look for functions that will facilitate your intended use of the scanner.
Keep in mind that the software your document scanner is designed to work with makes a huge difference. The time spent on administrative tasks related to scanning can be minimized by using cloud storage that offers automatic picture enhancement and file organizing. If scanning is crucial to your work, however, you should invest in a fast and accurate solution, since there is nothing more frustrating than having to wait for many scans just to receive blurry, unreadable files.